IHEDIOHA: A CHEER FOR IMO PEOPLE

By Orji John

when INEC eventually announced PDP’s guber candidate Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha as the winner of the Imo state governorship elections with a total of 273, 404 votes to defeat 69 other candidates including his closest rival chief Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance who polled 190, 36 votes, the streets of Imo cities and villages erupted into wide jubilation On March 9th over what some political analysts have come to view as the liberation from the tyranny of family dictatorship that was evolving under the Okorocha reign . It is indeed an irony of history that he same Rochas who had enjoyed such privilege eight years ago when he came to power through a popular revolt in 2011 against the regime of Ikedi Ohakim was now the subject of public odium and resentment .Then a coalition of progressive forces championed by the All Progressive Grand (APGA) had coalesced into a movement with chief Rochas Okorocha as the governorship candidate. Ohakim was accused of of several misdemeanor

including utter disrespect for the Catholic Church in a state that catholic adherents constitute 60%-70% of the population. The forces had succeeded in sweeping Ohakim and his PDP away from the Government House Owerri. Prior to that revolt ,the wily Chief Rochas Okorocha through his “Rochas foundation” had successfully sold an image of himself as a philanthropist and kind hearted gentleman who will return the state back to the realm of good governance and civil humane values. The Rochas administration which started off on a very high pedestal increasingly witnessed degradation untill most Imo citizens came to see him as a burden that was better over thrown. In fact the Rochas administration will for long be remembered for the odium and shame he brought to the people over the various controversial public policies he sought to enthrone in the state. The height of this odium still remains the attempt to perpetrate a family dynasty through the enthronement of his son in-law Chief Uche Nwosu as his successor while he seats pretty well in the revered hallowed red chamber in Abuja as a senator of the federal republic. Such an unusual ambition was quite strange and repugnant to the people in a state that is the epicenter anti- thesis

it generated was deep and far reaching, leading to the emergence of several contestants for the office of the governor.

However, the most prepared as well as the most experienced still remained Rochas chief adversary in the 2015 guber election ,the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha.In the said election INEC had announced the then incumbent governor Rochas okorocha as the winner of that election leaving Hon Emeka Ihedioha to cry fowl over allegations of massive rigging . The matter was eventually decided at the election Petition Tribunal with the incumbent governor still carrying the day. It is to the credit of Ihedioha however that he contested the 2019 elections with a much more disciplined and well organized state chapter of PDP which he worked hard to re-organize. Such discipline and re- organization was to play a major role in mobilizing the Imo citizenry into resisting the kind of oligarchic

rule that chief Rochas wanted to enthrone. It might just as well be said that the entire Imo citizenry deserve accolades for coming out en mass to support the overthrow of such dynastic rule.

In all, it could be said that Ihedioha’s long and successful sojourn in the federal service, his brilliance in politics and hard work had imbued him with the necessary leadership qualities that enabled him to lead an opposition party that was out of power both at the state and federal level into victory.

He had earlier cut out his career in politics as the chief press secretary to the deputy senate president in 1992. When democracy was about being restored in 1999, he played a major rule in the formation of PDP through being a leading member of the PDM of which Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was the arrow head.

It was his activism in the PDM that enabled him to assist his friend Mr. Donald Duke to emerge as the civilian governor of Cross River state in 1999.

He emerged as the personal assistant to Sen. Lyel Imoke in 1999, when the latter was appointed as the chairman of the Technical committee on NEPA. It was from there that he went on to become the Special Adviser on media to Dr. Chuba Okadigbo when he was elected the senate president. When Sen. Okadigbo lost his position, the then vice president Atiku Abubakar snatched him up as his personal assistant. It was from this position that he contested the Federal House of Representatives PDP primaries in 2003 defeating the then speaker of Imo State of Assembly to emerge victorious in the primaries and then went on to win the general election to represent Aboh/ Ahiazu Mbaise/ Ngor okpuala Federal constituency. He was made the chairman House Committee on Marine Transport amongst several other positions he held in the House. In 2007, he recontested the office and still won, emerging as one of the principal officers of the House when he was made the Chief whip. In 2011, he contested again and won, emerging as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

From the forgoing, there is no doubt that Hon Ihedioha is imbued with the experience and capability that will enable him change the narrative of governance in Imo State.

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