The battle for the All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination for the governorship of Imo State in 2019 has already started.
In one corner is the former senator for Imo North Ifeanyi Ararume, and in the other corner is Uche Nwosu, the Chief of Staff of Governor Rochas Okorocha and also the governor’s son-in-law, who comedian Uche Ogbuagu accused of practicing “familiocracy”.
Nwosu is Okorocha’s “boy”, who used to live in the governor’s house from back in the day, way before he became governor and they were both allegedly involved in a myriad of fraudulent businesses.
Ararume belonged to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 1999 and 2007, but fell out with then President Olusegun Obasanjo after allegedly taking a bribe to vote in favour of a third term for Obasanjo and then voting against. Obasanjo was said to have sworn to ensure Ararume never became the governor of Imo State.
The senator was expelled from the party after winning the nomination for the governorship in 2007, clearing the path for Ikedi Ohakim to become governor. Ararume joined the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and then the APC and still retained his governorship ambitions.
He is now plotting to run again in 2019 and Okorocha is planning to neutralise him to pave the way for Nwosu. Okorocha nominated Ararume’s son Ifeanyi Junior as a commissioner two months ago, but Ararume senior told the governor to get lost and junior refused the offer.
The PDP nomination contest is likely to pit former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha, who lost in the last (s)election against Okorocha, against Senator Samuel “Sam Daddy” Anyanwu of Imo East. Anywanwu’s “godfather” Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu is urging him to run.