2 November 2018
Imo State governor Rochas Okorocha, who completes his second term in office next year, had grand plans to be succeeded by his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu. But it appears those plans have been derailed by some players in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Nwosu appears to have failed in securing the APC ticket for the governorship, with the party hierarchy seeming to have backed Senator Hope Uzodinma. Despite many attempts at shuttle diplomacy with Okorocha trying to get President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and several veiled threats by the governor to quit the party, claiming that the APC was about to lose 5m votes if they didn’t back his son-in-law.
Okorocha’s attempts to bring Buhari on his side failed because, according to a source close to one of the players, a relatively unknown politician from Imo State has been influencing the president’s thinking. Emeka Nwajiuba, a former lawmaker who represented Ehime Mbano, Ihitte-Uboma and Obowo Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, was previously with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before quitting for the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) – Buhari’s party before it merged with other parties to become the APC in 2014.
Nwajiuba earned Buhari’s trust from their CPC days and they became very close. The president appointed him Chairman of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) in April last year. When Nwajiuba wanted to run for Imo governor, Buhari advised him to abandon that messy struggle and focus on returning to the House of Representatives, promising Nwajiuba that he will do everything possible to ensure the ex-lawmaker ends up as Speaker.
Okorocha, according to a source, “removed Nwajiuba’s name” alongside four other candidates for federal legislative office and replaced them with his loyalists, including the governor’s wife. The party hierarchy, with Adams Oshiomhole running things aggressively, has restored Nwajiuba and others on the nominee list, with only Okorocha surviving on the list as senatorial candidate for Orlu. Okorocha appears to have accepted defeat and is said to be plotting for his wife to be Secretary to the State Government (SSG) under an Uche Nwosu administration.
But that prospect appears very unlikely now because Okorocha has failed to convince Buhari to back the Okorocha “familiocracy” agenda for Imo. The source said this was thanks to Nwajiuba “always going to see Buhari after any meeting with Buhari”. Nwajiuba warned Buhari about associating with Okorocha because he is toxic, telling the president that “this man will finish you”.
The APC will submit their list of candidates for governor for the 2019 (s)election today. There are rumours that Uche Nwosu’s name may appear in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) list.