Making Another Bid for the Prize

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Ifeanyi Araraume

Udora Orizu writes in spite of his temporary setback in politics in the past few years, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the Imo State All Progressive Grand Alliance governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, remains the main issue in the state’s politics

It was designed to be a mere visit to his home state capital, Owerri — after the governorship primary election to thank his party’s leaders and supporters for finding him worthy — as the Imo State governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). But on their own, the huge supporters of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the Imo State APGA Governorship candidate and the party’s members had another plan for him.

Araraume left Abuja on Friday morning, October 19, via Air Peace for Owerri town. Ordinary, it would have taken him 30 minutes from the Sam Mbakwue International Airport to his Guest House, along Douglas Road, Owerri. But that was not to be; as thousands of his joyous supporters and party’s members, were at hand to receive him at the airport. Drumming, singing, and stamping their feet, as they danced . They forced Araraume to ride with them from the airport to the APGA state secretariat, Owerri. And a journey of less than 30 minutes took Araraume four hours, 45minutes.

Apart from thousands of supporters, who came to the airport to welcome him to Owerri, he was at every junction blocked by his followers — with loud greeting. In some instances, it took the intervention of the armed security men attached to him, to free him from the warmed hands of his supporters by appealing to them. The ecstasy of welcoming Araraume to Owerri town got to its peak, when he received thundering ovation from another huge crowd at the state party’s secretariat.

Apparently overwhelmed by the show of endorsement by his people, Araraume addressed party’s members at the secretariat, promising not to disappoint them. He said APGA will take over the Imo State Government House on May 29, 2019

“I want to use this wonderful opportunity to recognize and thank our State Chairman Ezeobi, all the members of the State Working Committee, the 27 LGA Chairmen, Zonal, youth and women leaders and members of APGA, more especially all the delegates, statutory and ad-hoc for their support. Let me assure you all that APGA will, by the grace of God, take over the Imo State Government House on May 29, 2019’’, Araraume stated to the thundering ovation of the party supporters.

He also acknowledged all those who aspired in different positions: the House of Assembly, House of Representatives, Senate and governorship, those who emerged the candidate of the party across board and the National chairman of the party, Ozonkpu Dr Victor Ike Oye, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State and the entire National Working Committee’s members for the role they played for his emergency as candidate.

He added, ‘’I want to thank all for the role they played. At a point it looks like APGA will not have a candidate due to external influence. But we thank God for today. I assure you that APGA will produce members of the State Assembly, National Assembly and governor of Imo State come 2019.

‘’APGA will remain and lead not just Imo, Anambra but entire South East states. Our women and youths be ready, APGA will rule this state. For those who have misruled the state, God has put confusion in their camp. Everybody will play positive role to make sure that Imo is developed. We are going to work together.

‘’All of us, we are going to join hands to make such that this party and state is developed and be greater. APGA has shown example of development in Nigeria. The lead others follow. In Imo we have a total collapse of the system. No hospital, no road, no electricity, no water. By May 29, 2019, there will be change of government in Imo State. APC will be voted out and APGA will take over in Owerri.’’

The two-time senator and businessman said those who emerged in APGA are the best, saluting APGA candidates and aspirants for their sacrifice, and called for synergy in order to win the 2019 general election for the party.

From the state party secretariat, Araraume moved to his campaign Secretariat, to the waiting hands of his huge supporters. While also addressing the party members and admirers, he expressed optimism that the party will win the 2019 Imo governorship election, the State and National Assembly for the party.

Speaking earlier, the state Chairman of APGA, Peter Ezeobi, expressed pleasure that despite all that happened before, during and after the party’s primaries, it had been able unite and remain a stronger party ahead of the general elections.

Ezeobi charged Araraume not to relent in carrying his fellow contestants and the party along, ahead of the big fight to reclaim Imo State, promising that the party would do its best to continue to lead his campaign and that of others to emerge victorious during the 2019 elections.

He urged all members of the party, particularly aggrieved members, to show faith in the party by supporting the decision of the party to use Senator Ararume as its governorship candidate.

Next day, Saturday, October 20, Araraume had a peace and reconciliation interaction with the party’s aspirants and candidates at all level. He was happy that the candidates and the aspirants had agreed to work together for the interest of the party and the huge expectation of Imo people, who are yearning for change in government in Imo State come May 29.

He promised to ensure that aspirants’ campaign running costs are not in wasted. He later set up a committee to look into the expenses of those who failed to get the party’s ticket, promising to make them smile again, so as to forget the incident of the past — as part of their sacrifices to ensure Imo is recovered and rebuild for the good of all.

Araraume also assured that every one of them will be carried along in the scheme of things, as APGA is fully prepared and determined to form the government in Imo next year. He promised to hold similar meeting with the gubernatorial aspirants of the party in the next few days.

The Federal Commissioner, National Communication Commission (NCC), also used the opportunity to reiterate that nobody amongst Imo State gubernatorial candidate has the cognate experience in leadership, governance, administration, business and family more than him, stating that he is more qualified and equipped to govern Imo better.

Talking about how prepared the party is, the governorship hopeful described APGA as a mass movement that would usher in a new government in 2019, pledging to accommodate every aspirant under the party, saying he would run an all-inclusive administration if he wins the governorship poll next year.

He equally commended the national leadership of the party, for upholding the outcome of the governorship primaries in the state.

He said: “With the mandate given to me, the party is not going to rest until we accomplish the task of occupying the Douglas House. The party will not rest until we clinch the 27 seats in the Imo State House of Assembly. APGA will not rest from now until we ensure the victory of all our National Assembly candidates in the three senatorial districts and the 10 Federal constituencies in the state.

“Whether you contested for House of Assembly, National Assembly or governorship position, I assure you that you must be involved in this government we’re going to form. I want to assure you that every effort anyone of you made or will make on the way to our victory in 2019 will never be in vain.

‘’While we recognise the fact that it is only one person that will be governor at one point in time, there are people who will be deputy governor, commissioners, heads of boards and various parastatals and agencies. It will no longer be business of one man or one-man government in Imo State after 2019.”