– As PDP shops for new guber candidate
By Chibueze Emenike, Owerri and Robert Osakpolor, Abuja
The plan by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha to draft the Mbaise Nation into his political ambition has hit the rocks as the apex socio-cultural group in Mbaise, Ezuruezu Mbaise, on Friday, during the 2018 Mbaise Day Celebration, vehemently opposed and unanimously defeated the motion for his adoption as the preferred candidate of Mbaise for the 2019 Imo governorship election.
Crisis erupted when some ostensibly rented political loyalists of Chief Ihedioha invaded the Ezuruezu Mbaise Hall and tried to harangue the audience into adopting their principal. Their motion was roundly rejected, even as reputable opinion leaders warned desperate politicians to desist from plotting to hijack a non-partisan platform like Ezuruezu, which should be a free space for cordial brotherly interaction on behalf of the progress of the entire Mbaise Nation.
It had earlier been speculated that the whole essence of this year’s Mbaise Day would be to endorse Chief Ihedioha’s serial governorship ambition.
A source within the leadership of Ezuruezu who spoke to us on condition of anonymity fumed that it would be unreasonable of the Mbaise Nation to make one mistake twice.
“In the past, this same idea was sold to our people, that this particular candidate was adopted by Nde Mbaise. Nobody queried anyone. We all swallowed it hook, line and sinker. But now our people have become more discerning. They now ask some vital questions.
“Our people now want to know why Ihedioha should be adopted even when some other illustrious sons of Mbaise are also candidates in the same election. Does it mean Ihedioha is more Mbaise than the rest of them? In what areas can we say he is more qualified than the others. If anything, he is the least qualified. Why would someone who openly told us that when he was Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives he collected N4 billion just to construct the roundabout at Ahiara Junction come back to us for endorsement? What we have realized is that our people have not occupied the place of pride we deserve in the scheme of things in Imo State because we have almost always allowed a few kingpins to lord their parochial interests over us and present same as our collective aspirations. We must put a stop to that,” the source vowed.
Meanwhile some Imo PDP stalwarts have initiated moves to replace Chief Emeka Ihedioha as governorship candidate of the party. A close source to the PDP Presidential Campaign Council on Wednesday in Abuja revealed that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the party’s presidential standard bearer, has been approached by a group of renowned PDP stakeholders from Imo State with a request to drop Ihedioha. The source further disclosed that the delegation from Imo which was made up of opinion leaders, statesmen, politicians and technocrats met with the former vice president over what they termed “the unelectability” of Chief Ihedioha.
“They were very clear and explicit in their request. They first assured the Turakin (Atiku Abubakar) that they would deliver him in Imo State but pleaded that the Turakin should graciously accept and support whoever they would nominate to be delivered as governor. They bitterly complained that most of the LGA Chairmen of the Party are now openly working against the party because they are not satisfied with the choice of Ihedioha as their governorship candidate.”
It has however remained unclear who the PDP might choose to adopt in Imo State but strong indications exist to support the thinking that they will settle for a candidate without any blemishes, and who also will fulfill the yearning of the people for a youthful technocrat.