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In a well-worded and thought-provoking article by my friend Kennedy Eweama on the above subject matter published in most of the highly reverred local tabloids, the author made a beautiful case for zoning the Governorship of Imo State to Owerri zone.

In a well-worded and thought-provoking article by my friend Kennedy Eweama on the above subject matter published in most of the highly reverred local tabloids, the author made a beautiful case for zoning the Governorship of Imo State to Owerri zone.


He also rightly pointed out the qualities of the right candidate for the position which Owerri zone should consider and these included, “a tested, trusted and capable candidate across party line, who must have credibility, wide contacts, humility and administrative sagacity” and went on to propose Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha for the position. This is where I precisely disagree with him. No doubt, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Omenka ahuru na anya, fought a gallant battle to dislodge the incumbent governor and we must praise him for that effort.
However, I strongly believe that there are many Owerri zone citizens who contested the last Governorship election as aspirants under the PDP in 2015 who fit into the qualities Mr. Eweama outlined better than Hon. Emeka Ihedioha.
I recall that the likes of Barrister Ken Njemanze (SAN), Prof. Jude Njoku, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), etc, contested that election with Hon. Ihedioha in 2015. In all honesty, these people are certainly better qualified than Hon. Ihedioha judging by the criteria outlined by Mr. Eweama.
I have always argued and believed that Imo State in this emerging global order need technocrats and professionals who are better managers of men and resources. The likes of Anambra, Enugu, Lagos and lately Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, States respectively are fast developing due to the caliber of governors they have. Imo can do better.
Having said that, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha got the PDP ticket not because he was more qualified judging with Mr. Eweama's criteria but because he had greater access to public funds with which he “bought” the ticket. As Deputy Speaker, he also had wider contacts and enjoyed huge paraphernalia of office. But all these are now gone as he is now an ordinary citizen.
In terms of administrative experience, he can only boast of being a three-time member of the House of Representatives and nothing more. Put differently, he is not comparable to the likes of Barr. Ken Njemanze, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Imo State. Even more impressive are the likes of Prof. Jude Njoku a former Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, former Hon. Commissioner for Lands, Survey & Urban Planning, former Commissioner for Education, Imo State, and an awardee of best Vice-Chancellor in Nigeria in 2004.
These are tried, tested and highly experienced personalities and technocrats who have held executive positions and have high degrees of integrity, credibility and acceptability. Apart from the above, I believe what Imo PDP needs at this point in time is sympathy. They need a candidate Imo people will vouch for and are ready to swim and sink with.
One of the major reasons PDP lost the Governorship election of 2015 in Imo State is that Hon. Emeka Ihedioha was very unpopular not only among his party members but across the state. Many saw him as arrogant, brash, vicious and self-conceited. That impression still persists.
Also the “Mbaise factor” played a major role in his down fall. Not sounding prejudicial, there was and is still a very strong anti-Mbaise sentiment across the state. Many Imolites detest having an Mbaise person as Governor of Imo State because Mbaise people are generally perceived as selfish, self-centred, clannish and unreliable. This perception has not changed and will persist for a long time to come. I believe and I equally share the opinion of Mr. Eweama that Owerri zone deserves the Governorship position in 2019 but I feel, it will be foolhardy, unreasonable and most unthinkable for PDP, to give the governorship ticket to Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in 2019 after he lost in 2015. If Ihedioha with his exulted position as Deputy Speaker, his wide-ranging and high-level contacts, his intimidating paraphernalia of office and wide access to public funds could not win the Governorship of Imo State in 2015, how possible is it for him to win it now that he is an ordinary citizen.
Methinks the people of Owerri zone and indeed Imo State should look in a different direction this time around, away from the likes of Hon. Ihedioha. They should look in the direction of new breed, less controversial candidates who have integrity, are highly credible and experienced in the act of governance and administration, and above all, are also highly acceptable and popular among the generality of Imo people. If PDP must win governorship election and bring about good governance and prosperity to Imo State come 2019, they must do the right thing that is, organize a free, fair and transparent primary elections for all the aspirants.

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