Posted by Charles Kumolu | 3 March 2019 | 2,098 times
No matter how it’s viewed next week’s governorship election in Imo State promises to be a fierce battle.
Unlike conventional wars governed by rules, there are no laws to be observed. All the political players are going for broke without recourse to reason.
Whether there would be victims or not, is a rhetorical question because only a few will count their blessings after the contest. Whatever happens in Imo could either pass as an endorsement of the culture of imposition or red card for impunity.
Much as the situation is worrisome for Imolites, it largely presents an opportunity to redefine politics in the state.
The atmosphere is charged already with the state governor, Rochas Okorocha, his son-in-law and governorship candidate of Action Alliance, AA, Uche Nwosu, governorship candidate of All Progressive Congress,APC, Sen Hope Uzodinma, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, flagbearer, Chief Emeka Ihedioha; Chief Ikedi Ohakim of Accord Party and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, candidate, Ifeanyi Ararume set for the mother of all contests.
Given that Okorocha’s insistence on having Nwosu as his successor contributed to making Imo a flashpoint, it is right to assume that the exercise may literally be between his son-in-law and Uzodinma.
But that is not the case as the candidacy of Ihedioha, Ohakim and Ararume has also raised the stakes in Imo.
Like the other two candidates, Ihedioha and Ararume are in the war from a position strength, while Ohakim does not seem to be a factor in the race.
To finish strong, Saturday Vanguard learned that the candidates have embarked on last-minute maneuverings to woo stakeholders.
Some moves were found to be surreptitious, increasing fears that the poll could lead to an implosion in the state.
For instance, sources told Saturday Vanguard that one of the candidates, whose ambition is opposed by the national leadership of the APC, gathered Independent Electoral National Commission, INEC, officials in Owerri, where he made juicy offers to them.
Specifically, he was said to have promised each of the officials N1million, plots of land anywhere of their choice.
Explaining these to Saturday Vanguard, the source said: “The candidate whose ambition is causing trouble in the state, invited INEC officials to Brook Hotels last Tuesday in the evening and made several promises to them. He said that if they delivered, each of them will get N1 million and plots of land.
“The young man, who boasted that he is already the Governor-elect, asked them to get the numbers of collation officers across the state and get back to him on Friday evening.”
Worried about this, the source called on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Prof Francis Ezeonu to ensure that his men do not compromise the electoral process.
“The REC should call his officials to order because anyone who works against the people may not live to enjoy the money collected from any candidate,” he threatened.
The rivalry that characterised Uzodimma’s relationship with state governor’s camp would definitely play out in larger scales on Saturday.
It may even be worsened given fears that the governor could use security agencies to influence how people would vote.
The anxiety stemmed from claims that Okorocha used the police to intimidate INEC officials during last Saturday’s senatorial polls. INEC had promised to look into the various petitions against the governor but there is apprehension.
There are fears that the incident which saw the governor’s supporters allegedly forcing the Returning Officer in Imo State, Prof Ibeabuchi Innocent to announce Okorocha as the winner of Imo West senatorial poll, may also play out next week.
Should this happen, there could be a general revolt given that majority in the state is believed to be united against impunity.
•Excerpted from The Vanguard report
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