BY: Sam Onwuemeodo
This is my second outing for the year. The New Year. The Year, 2022. Happy New year.
Senator lfeanyi Araraume was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Chairman, Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC.
The appointment later became a story. An ugly story. The story of tortoise and the wife, Alii . Folklore. Akuko ufe . But, that’s not the end of life.
Imo people , in particular, were excited and happy over the appointment. And you could easily fathom why.
Aside Araraume being their son, in whom they are well pleased, the appointment was seen as an Elephant meat. Big elephant. Anu enyi. Take , l take. The thing would still remain, to a very large extent.
His inauguration was fixed. On the eve of the inauguration, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG) , Mr. Boss Mustapha, announced that the exercise would not hold again . No reason was given.
There was high feeling of indignation on the side of all men and women of good spirit. Moreover, on the part of lmo people. lmo people, with the spirit of progress. With the spirit of charity and conviviality.
At the end of the day, Araraume was dropped and replaced with Mrs. Magret Chuba Okadigbo, from Anambra State. No problem. No skin pain.
What really went wrong? What happened? What was amiss? That’s the questions. And I tell you this.
I have been privileged to have followed Araraume’s Politics closely , since 1998. Perhaps, he does not know.
He is a rare breed politician. He has his style. Calm. Dogged. Unassuming. Modest. Articulate. Focused. Determined.
Yet, he has his own faults. And that’s between him and his GOD. We all have our faults. Our shortcomings. Our stupidity. Our foolishness. And so on.
For those who have not forgotten. Araraume was the Pioneer State Chairman of the All Peoples Party, APP, in lmo.
That was the most formidable party in Imo in 1998, following the calibre of people in the party . Chief Mike lheanatu was the Secretary.
In the party, was Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Arthur Nzeribe, Evan Enwerem, Sam Mbakwe, Ezekiel lzuogu, etal .
Araraume was chosen to chair the party at that stage. Infact, who was who, in Imo Politics, could be found in APP.
The party was launched on November 12, 1998 , at Dan Anyiam Stadium.
Sam Mbakwe, in his written address at the event, read by the daughter, Patience Mbakwe, said, “I am a Co-founder of the APP. Infact, I and Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu joined the APP the same day at NICON Noga , Abuja”.
Mbakwe further said, “With eminent Imo personalities like Chief Engr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chief Arthur Francis Nzeribe and Chief Evan Enwerem around, APP is the party to beat . I am satisfied with the way the party is being run. They have extolled the performance of the State Chairman of the party, Chief Ifeanyi Araraume and his Executives”.
Mbakwe was not physically present at the event . The daughter read the address, he personally signed.
And Mbakwe wrote, “I am very sorry I am unable to attend this historic occasion. I am far away in Germany, where I have gone in search of good health”.
But what happened, that this great party , APP, with a very bright future , fizzled out so soon , in Imo? Hear me.
Few days to the party’s Primary, some of its key leaders, for one reason or the other, conspired against Araraume.
Nzeribe wrote , accusing Araraume and his EXCO, of certain sharp practices. But the real reason behind the whole plot , was Araraume’s closeness to Enwerem.
The trouble intensified. Araraume and Enwerem left the APP to PDP, into the waiting and friendly hands of Senator Emeka Echeruo and Chief Innocent D Nwoga.
The duo , ( Araraume and Enwerem), were handed over the Senatorial tickets of the PDP, for Okigwe and Owerri Zones , respectively. And they won.
That marked the genesis of the problem of APP in lmo . And it never survived it , till date.
That was how PDP overtook APP in lmo . I am telling a story and at the same time , giving the information that, some people are pregnant with grace. lt does not matter what they go through in life. But don’t be part of what they go through, in your own compound and simple interest.
Araraume survived the Politics of APP and was a two-term Senator for Okigwe zone , on the ticket of the PDP. Araraume and his God.
In 2007, he decided to run for the governorship of the State, on the ticket of PDP.
In the Primary, the governor then , Chief Achike Udenwa didn’t want him. He wanted Engr. Charles Ugwu. The Party Chairman then, Chief M.O. Nlemigbo didn’t want him. He had wanted Chief Tony Ezenna. Also called “ORANGE DRUG”.
At the end, Araraume won the Primary, not minding those against him and those who were for him . He was set to win the election proper . But the incumbent governor at that time, a PDP man, Udenwa, decided to back Chief Ikedi Ohakim of PPA, who won the election, in the final analysis. Araraume remained aglow .
Then 2011. And if not Rochas Okorocha, whose election was somewhat , a mass movement, under the canopy of APGA, Araraume would have won that election on the platform of ACN. He also remained visible. Apparent.
To make the long story short, in 2019, he ran for the governorship of the state on the ticket of APGA. And came third in that election. He also won Six House of Assembly Seats. The highest, after PDP and AA.
We are talking about 1998 to 2022. He has remained on the front seat of Imo Politics. And not losing weight. Not losing followers. lt’s not easy at all. To say the least.
Then, this appointment by President Buhari, as the Chairman of the NNPC Board, which had been jettisoned.
And the story, which has not been refuted is that, the agents of the State Government wrote a lot of petitions against the man , to stop him.
lt is very difficult to believe that , the state government or its agents, could do such great disservice to lmo people .
But , if the story is true, the government or its agents didn’t stop Araraume, but Imo people. It is hard to say what Araraume needs again in life now, which he does not have. Or, which he has not gotten.
The NNPC position would have been of immense benefits to Imo people.
God loves Araraume. He has only been a victim of human Conspiracies. Yet, that he has remained a big issue in Imo Politics since 1998 , till date, is a feat. A no mean feat. A rare feat.
And from all indications, God hasn’t finished with him.
And for the State Government, it is not a good development that it is always associated with every negative story or development in the State.
It is not good at all. Every bad or ugly or negative story about the state, is associated or linked to the State Government. Haba! Why?. Before Araraume, there was also the case of Barr. Nwosu.
Mbakwe was an NPP governor. He never stopped federal appointments for the NPN Chieftains in the State.
Even when the NPN leader in the State, Prof. Rowland Anyanwu’s younger brother, Dr. Jonathan Anyanwu, was appointed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for the 1983 gubernatorial election in the State, Mbakwe didn’t kick against that, because he knew, he had the support of Imo people. And he won his re-election.
Evan Enwerem or Achike Udenwa, none fought against federal appointments given to Imo people, not minding the factions or the political divides they had belonged .
Udenwa was a PDP governor. Some Imo indigenes in the same party , who were against him, got federal appointments. He never used his position as PDP governor, to stop any of them.
Ohakim, Rochas Okorocha, none stopped any federal appointment given to an Imo son or daughter.
Imo people have been playing Politics. But the situation now is more of a war situation, than politics. Not Politics again .
Governor Uzodinma should change these itching narratives. They are not in his favour.
So, Araraume should remain thankful to God. He has remained one of the exceptionally blessed Imo Politicians. He has done very well in every aspect of life .
Those who stopped his appointment as Chairman of NNPC Board , might have their reason(s). Perhaps, to protect their own political interest.
But whatever one loves so much, may be lost in the long run. Even, in the short run.
Yet, we Shall Continue to Clap for JESUS.