By Amby Uneze in Owerri
All efforts by the Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha to make his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state seem to have failed, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published a list yesterday that bears the name Hope Uzodinma as the governorship candidate of the APC in the 2019 election.
INEC Information Officer in Imo state, Emmanuela Ben-Opara confirmed this information to THISDAY on phone at 8:30 PM yesterday, stating that “the name of the APC governorship candidate in Imo state, Hope Uzodimma has been published. I don’t know what you mean by reinstated, what I can tell you now is that the name of APC governorship candidate for Imo state, Hope Uzodimma has been published.”
Other names published by INEC are those of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic party, Emeka Ihedioha; Okey Eze of the Social Democratic Party; Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance; Ibe Kenechukwu, Accord Party; Linus Okorie, Young Progressives Party; Ike . C. Ibe, Independent Democrats; Tony Nwulu, United Progressives Party; Ngozi Oleh, All Grassroots Alliance; Ukaegbu Joesph Ikechukwu, Labour Party; and Ejike Chukwu, African Democratic Party.
Also on the list, are the names of five female governorship candidates: Mrs. Joy Emeziam (GPN), Ijeoma Onwubuariri (NDLP), Mercy Adaku Ibeh (DP), Onyeka Immaculata Umunakwe (AAP) and Mrs. Nkemjika Ahumonye Ihemadu of the National Conscience Party.
Thus, INEC has confirmed Hope Uzodinma as the APC governorship candidate for the 2019 polls, as earlier stated by the National Working Committee of the party.
The Uzodimma group also dismissed claims of an ex-parte order given on November 7, 2018 by Justice M.T. Salihu of the Federal High Court sitting in Owerri that restrained both the electoral body and the Party from publishing the name of any candidate until the hearing of substantive matter on November 12, 2018.
The Director of Media and Special Duties of the Campaign Organisation, Declan Emelumba, dismissed the claim by the Governor Okorocha’s group that they stopped the publication of his name by INEC through a court order as misleading because they never really had any court order, explaining that the federal high court in Owerri yesterday declined to grant the order they sought.
According to him, “there’s no court order. The court declined the order. Besides, Uzodimma is the APC candidate for Imo state as acknowledged by INEC. So, anybody telling you any other thing is not telling the truth.”
It would be recalled that the ruling party in the state had been embroiled in crisis since early this year, which led to its polarisation into two contending factions.
The party also has two parallel state executives down to the wards: the governor Rochas Okorocha-led faction and the coalition Alliance who are vehemently opposed to his third term bid by proxy through his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu who he had vowed must succeed him in 2019 as the next Governor of the state.