IMO 2019: The Hopefuls – Part 1

By Tony Izuogu
The race for IMO governorship in the coming elections has long started, no doubt. At least 30  aspirants across various political parties are expected to participate at various levels.
However, only a handful are to be taken seriously. One can close one’s eyes and list out those that will enter and remain in the race from the beginning till the end.
It is not out-of-place to at this time do assessment of the chances of the major participating parties in the coming elections.
EMEKA IHEDIOHA
Anybody who knows Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha would know that at this time he has finished his plans for 2019 elections; he is an incurable  foresighted planner and a ruthless executor. He means business and he doesn’t double-speak, for the most part. When he tells you he will do something, he actually intends to carry out his words. Anyone who has faith that Ihedioha will make a better governor than Rochas has reasons to think so.
Ihedioha’s biggest challenges are two. First is that his governorship project lacks state-wide coverage at the level of citizens support. Whereas he has political friends all over the state, the ordinary citizens are not passionate about him, apart from places like Mbaise.
This situation is largely because sufficient marketing and connecting has not been done by the operators of his project. And he tends to rely more on the political elite of areas instead of direct touch with the people. He has recently started working on this problem, but it remains to be seen how effective his efforts are.
The second challenge Ihedioha has is the PDP crisis. Yes the court case has ended yet there remains pockets of disagreements and disenchantment bedeviling the party on which his project is based. If these issues are not addressed, it will deal blows to his ambition.
IKEDI OHAKIM
The former IMO governor is a success story in terms of improved public perception. Only few men have been able to completely reverse effects of falsehoods and negative propaganda in record time. Today the name Ohakim elicits much better appeal and affection than was the case in recent past.
He commands a lot of acceptance in IMO. It didn’t just happen. Seeing the unfair notoriety attached to his name following his departure from IMO Government House, he set out to re-educate the public. His Bring Back Ikedi Ohakim (BBIO) media project destroyed all the media falsehood and propaganda against him.
Secondly, the monumental failures of Rochas did to a great extent vindicate Ohakim. Beyond sentiments, IMO citizens and people have seen that Ohakim was by far a better governor than his successor Rochas Okorocha in very many respects.
The problem with his renewed governorship bid is party platform. He has relied on the PDP, and with other powerful players present, it has not been easy to secure the level of support required to successfully reclaim the seat. His biggest obstacle is the governorship ambition of Emeka Ihedioha. As at today, Ihedioha has more control of party structure than Ohakim, hence any primary today would favour Ihedioha more than Ohakim.
In view of this truth, the ardent supporters of Ohakim have continued to pressure him to go for another platform. He has as yet refused to do so.
IFEANYI ARARAUME
He has remained a perennial factor in IMO politics for as long as one can remember. And he has remained dogged in his pursuit of his singular ambition.
Araraume’s failings stem from the fact that he is not trusted by the power brokers and he is not liked by the citizens. He knows how to overcome obstacles and cling the party ticket, but he doesnt seem to know how to get his party men to trust him with the ticket.
He is seen by ordinary people as a tough brute. Also the attachment to his person of yet unsubstantiated occult inclinations continues to make people dread and detest him.
All these are the reasons he continues to lose out in both party elections and in main elections.
ROCHAS FAMILY
The incumbent governor Rochas is dead serious about planting a stooge by 2019 from his (political) family. If you allow Rochas he will just appoint his son-in-law Uche Nwosu to replace him. It is all about continuing the (destructive) control of IMO for the foreseeable future.
They are working on this project and anyone who believes it’s not feasible lacks knowledge of the tendencies and capabilities of Rochas.
He knows there is profound hatred of anything or anyone associated with and to him, but he doesn’t bother himself with the emotions of the citizens.
That said, Araraume and a lot of APC party men are ready to curtail Rochas’ insulting and inordinate ambition.

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