Before his second term victory at the November 11, 2023 governorship election, Uzodimma had campaigned on the promise of a charter of equity that would cede power to Imo East in 2027.
He repeated the declaration a few days after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced him as the winner of the November 11 election in the state, assuring that he would hand over the governorship position to people of Owerri zone in 2027.
His reason, he insisted, is inline with the Imo charter of equity which provides for rotation of the governorship position among the three senatorial districts of Imo East, West and North. Among other things he said it would address the issues of political rancour, and bitterness and bring about stability in the political atmosphere of the state.
Since 1999, the Orlu zone has held power for 20 years and by 2027 it will be 24 years. Governors Achike Udenwa and Rochas Okorocha and incumbent Uzodimma are from Orlu zone (Imo West). The only time power was elsewhere was during Ikedi Ohakim’s four-year tenure. Ohakim is from Imo North.
In the Second Republic and botched Third Republic, Chief Sam Mbakwe (Imo North) was governor of old Imo State; and Chief Evans Enwerem (Imo East) governed for 20 months between 1991 and 1992.
Since Uzodimma’s declaration a cold war of sorts has been brewing in the state.
Apart from the cold war, intra-party wrangling in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has ensued among some potential governorship aspirants and their supporters.
Contacted for comments, some leading political parties said they would react at the end of the legal battle for the November 11, 2023 poll.
Some of them said their governorship candidates have gone to court to challenge the outcome of the last governorship election and that it would be out of place to start talking of the 2027 governorship election when the 2023 poll was yet to be concluded.
“We are already heading to court. Let us finish the one we have at hand after that we can talk of the next election. At that time, we will know if one person can decide for the entire Imo people the zone that is to produce the next governor of the state. That is if he survives the court battle,” one of them said.
I don’t trust the declaration —Nwadike
The 2011 presidential candidate of the People’s Mandate Party, PMP, Batos Nwadike, said: “I don’t trust the declaration because there is no domestic equity in the Orlu zone. Isu nation is yet to test power.”
Uzodimma should focus on governance now — Udeze
To Kenneth Udeze of the Action Alliance, AA: “Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Freedom of expression is guaranteed under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. I rather advise that the governor focus on his second term by providing the dividends of democracy to the citizens of Imo State and non- indigenes alike who reside within the spheres of Imo State particularly as it relates to protection of lives and properties.
“Campaign is over and this is the time for governance. Most statements made by politicians during the process of electioneering are neither here nor there when they eventually get into position of authority. I prefer him mending fences with those he may have fallen out with in the course of quest for power and restoring the needed peace in the system. Only God Almighty determines who becomes the next Governor of Imo
State and not the governor.
“The best approach to his intention or expression should have been that he will support the governorship candidate of an Owerri extraction under his Party, APC. He cannot shut the door against any other party from choosing any candidate which it thinks has electoral value and can win election for the party. He can easily make such a statement in a one party state. He has often seen his emergence as divine as according to him, power comes from God. So if power comes from God as we all know.. the next governor of Imo State cannot come from Hope but God almighty.
“We pray that he succeeds in his second term to the extent of providing an enabling environment and the necessary infrastructures for the common good of all. To begin now to talk about handing over to any zone, for me, remains a distraction. He should consolidate on what his government thinks it’s doing to bring about development in the state and leave who becomes or which zone produces the next governor of the state to God Almighty.”
His charter of equity deceitful — ADC
In his view, the National Vice Chairman, South-East of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Chilos Godsent, said: “The ADC has severally overheard Senator Hope Uzodimma promising to Support the Owerri zone’s bid for the Imo State governorship position in 2027. The ADC, having studied Senator Uzodimma, knows him as a person that does not keep to his promise.
Moreso, Senator Uzodimma does not have the capacity to win election in Imo State in a free, fair and transparent election, talkless of determining who will succeed him. Consequent upon the above, ADC is calling the people of Imo State to actively organize themselves in order to liberate Imo State from the satanic clutches of APC in 2027.
We are also optimistic that the ADC will produce the next Governor of Imo State in 2027 as we have commenced the reorganization party in Imo State in a bid to reposition it to take the lead in 2027 in the state.
“The ADC Position on the Purported document called Imo State Charter of Equity is that the document is fraudulent and with the intent to deceive the people of Owerri Zone in 2027.”
As it is, those to watch out forin the next political dispensation include Okorocha, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Ohakim, who did four years in office and former governor, Emeka Ihedioha, who did not stay up to a year in office before he was sacked from office by the Supreme Court to pave the way for Uzodimma’s emergence and declared Hope Uzodimma winner of the 2019 governorship election.
Among those considered to nursing governorship ambition Jerry Chukwueke; a member representing South East on the North East Development Commission, NEDC, and a former Imo state commissioner for Information,Theodore Ekechi; APC 2023 Imo East senatorial candidate, Prince Alex Mbata; and former Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Jude Ejiogu.