We are still three years away from the next governorship (s)election in Imo State but a right royal rumble is already underway for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination.
In one corner is Senator Hope Uzodinma of Imo West, who a certain Godwin Ebubeagu Ekenulo accused early this year of infecting his wife with the HIV virus that led to her death in December last year. The controversial senator is also alleged to have been an advance fee fraud (aka 419 – named after the relevant section in the Nigerian criminal code) kingpin before he got involved in politricks.
Uzodinma, according to a PDP source, is planning to have Ifeanyi Ararume Jr as his running mate. Ararume Jr is currently Commissioner for Commerce, Tourism and Industry in the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Ararume Senior was the PDP senator for Imo North from 1999 to 2007. He allegedly received a bribe from then president Olusegun Obasanjo’s to support the latter’s third term bid, but reneged on the agreement. As a result, Obasanjo frustrated his ambitions to become Imo State governor in 2007 and he was expelled from the PDP, despite winning the governorship ticket. Since then, Ararume Senior has moved to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), back to the PDP and then to the APC.
Ararume Senior is currently planning his return to the PDP to become their governorship candidate because Governor Okorocha has cornered the APC nomination for his son-in-law and Chief of Staff Uche Nwosu. It would be interesting to see if Ararume Jr would accept to be Uzodinma’s running mate, which would put him on a collision course with his father.
Another front in the battle for the PDP nomination is led by the defeated PDP candidate in last year’s (s)election, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Emeka Ihedioha. Ihedioha has not stopped campaigning for the top job in the state since the Supreme Court ruled against his (s)election petition.
For Imo State people, suffering from five years of Okorocha misrule, 2019 doesn’t represent an end to their woes, considering the greedy charlatans lining up.