Nigeria: APC: Okorocha, Udenwa battle for supremacy in Imo
To all discernible politically observers of the politics of the Eastern Heartland of Imo State, the race for the Douglas House, Owerri (i.e. Government House), in 2015, is not only getting thicker by the day but also getting messier given the covert and overt intrigues, alignments and re-alignments playing out.
The intensive and extensive lobbying of those believed to have firmly entrenched themselves in the murky waters of the politics of the state has of recent acquired stronger subterranean dimensions with the unexpected emergence of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state. To be sure, the surprise appearance of the APC, the presence of Governor Rochas Okorocha and his legion of political disciplines as well the membership of a former governor of the state -Chief Achike Udenwa and his die-hard loyalists in the party are causing sleepless night for the rival PDP that is desperately moving mou tains to regain power in the state.
Udenwa who rode to power in 1999 using his “1998 Redemption campaign team” under the platform of the PDP, was until his controversial exit from the party, at the twilight days of the ex-Ikedi Ohakim administration, a formidable force to be reckoned with in the party. He left the party following persistent intra-party squabbles, alleged humiliation and injustice that almost demystified him as a heavyweight
and pitched tent with the now defunct ACN that merged with the CPC and ANPP to form the new APC.
Thus, immersed and engrossed in its singular mission to resuscitate its collapsed empire and to present a common front that would effectively challenge Okorocha in 2015, the remnants of the PDP big wigs in the state are said to have commenced aggressive lobbying and reconciliation of all her former aggrieved members that had jettisoned the party, for the opposition. Leading the pack of the team on the sacred reconciliation mission is Chief Innocent Diala Nwoga- the Premier Chairman of the party and Secretary for Establishment in the defunct interim National Government (ING) of Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Nwoga, who hails from Umuokirika, in the Ahiazu Mbaise council area is credited to have single-handedly delivered Chief Achike Undenwa in 1999, having personally prevailed on Chief Humphrey Anumudu from Obazu Mbieri, Mbaitoli LGA who won the primary to relinquish the ticket in favour of Udenwa, based on the now discredited “Imo Charter of Equity” which rotated the governorship seat, among the three zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe. It was gathered that the desperation to get Udenwa back to the PDP recently gained greater impetus, following a cold war said to be raging between the former governor and the incumbent in the state (Owelle Rochas Okorocha) over who really controls the APC in the state.
Indeed, the suspicion of a hidden mutual district between the duo came to the fore on Thursday, 15th august, 2013, a day before the ACN flag was formally lowered at the party’s Secretariat Onitsha Road, Owerri, and that of APC hoisted.
A Radio and Television announcement by the former state Chairman of
the ACN, Chief Charles Ubah, sensitising the public and inviting
guests for the ceremony scheduled to be performed by Udenwa was roundly countered by Okorocha’s loyalists who insisted that the former governor lacked the power and authority to perform the ceremony and insisted that their Principal (Okorocha) as the leader of the party was the only competent authority to do so.
Although Udenwa eventually had his way, Okorocha, who by then was on an economic foreign trip to United States of America (USA) was said to have directed his foot soldiers to shun the event which they complied with to the letter.
Therefore, capitalizing on the fierce leadership tussle between Okorocha and his predecessor (Udenwa), the Nwoga led lobbying team, taking steps to paper the cracked walls in the PDP visited Udenwa at his country home Amaifeke, Orlu.
At the earth-shaking meeting said to have been held behind closed doors, it was authoritatively learnt the team passionately pleaded with the Charted Accountant turned politician to come back to PDP where he originally belonged and contributed immensely to institutionalized in the state.
They equally assured the former Financial Controller of the Monier Construction Company (MCC) (Udenwa) that his leadership seat in the party had remained unoccupied since his departure. A chieftain of the party who anonymously confirmed the Amanifeke visit to the Daily Independent added that shortly after the 2011 election that sent the PDP packing from Government House, the party’s Exco also stealthily approached the former governor with the same mission but which he tactfully rebuffed.
Udenwa, also a former Minister of Commerce of Industry was reported to have told his visitors that he deserted the PDP after due consultation with his teeming supporters and that he would only stage a corne pack in the same manner that he left the party. For his perceived stubbornness to budge, the Nwoga team and some Abuja based politicians from the state were said to have alerted the Presidency which informed the latter to make the same move on the Former Governor who pleaded to be given time to sleep over the overture.
Furthermore, it was gathered that the great search for Udenwa back to PDP attained fresh crescendo after the controversial inconclusive Oguta Local Government Re-run election where he was believed to have played a crucial role to fetch power for the APGA candidate Dr. Walter Uzonwanne to the chagrin of the ODP – a feat which he had earlier performed in 2011 in favour of Owelle Rochas Okorocha of then All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
During the Nwoga led delegation visit, Udenwa was said to have remained reticent on some sensitive questions posed to him by his visitors but only insisted that he is currently of the APC.
He had chronicled reasons why he left the party with his intimidating number of supporters, lamenting that the Ex-Governor Ikedi Ohakim who he single handedly installed amidst stiff oppositions only paid him back with barrages of wanton humiliations, insults, intolerable a frivolous allegations.
This, he lamented was gloried by the same PDP chieftains who for selfish reasons refused to call him to order. Udenwa reportedly informed them that since politics is not static, nobody should be surprised to see those prodding him now to rejoin the PDP even joining him in APC or seeing him back to PDP or to any other party.
Investigations by the Daily Independent reveal that the rank and file of the PDP are hell bent on wooing the former governor back to the party, believing that he and Okorocha are strange bedfellows and two parallel lines that can neither work together nor co-exist. Again, the presidency is said to be strongly committed to the “Udenwa must return project” and had directed the Imo State chapter of the party to accomplish the project at all costs.
Still ahead of the 2015 elections, after the PDP delegation had stormed the former governor’s ancestral home with requests for him to desert the APC for the PDP, leaders of the Imo East (Owerri Zone) acting under the aegis of “Owerri Zone Political Leaders Forum” (OZOPOLF) also visited the Former Governor and appealed to him for support in respect of the 2015 Governorship election. Although governor Okorocha is yet to unfold his ambition for 2015, it has become obvious that his supporters, mainly those of Owerri zonal extraction, are falling on his knees for possible anointment as his successor.
The zone which feels grossly marginalized in the power sharing formular is relentlessly extending its olive branch to both Orlu and Okigwe for it to have a slot at the Douglas House in the next 2 years. With the concluded controversial “Imo Political Summit” organised by the PDP which trumpeted the re-enactment of the dislodged Imo Charter of Equity for the governorship seat among the three zones of the state, the question on the lips of the people is “who rules Imo in 2015?” It all depends for now on how the governor goes about selling the APC to the people of the state. Observers however are of the view that he can ill-afford to have more enemies at this critical time.
Via Daily Independent