Amby Uneze writes that a group of respected senior citizens from Imo State have put their weight behind a rotational arrangement starting from the 2019 governorship contest that offers equal opportunity to candidates from the three senatorial zones, beginning from Owerri. But it does not look like aspirants from Orlu and Okigwe are about to bury their ambition
The Imo State Advisory Council of Elders is only one indivisible body with no parallel organization. It is a body of elder statesmen representing the three senatorial zones of the state-Okigwe, Orlu and Owerri.
The organization is so unique that all the zonal umbrellas such as the Orlu Council of Elders, Okigwe Council of Elders and Owerri Council of Elders decided to converge for the good of Imo State. The elders, who are no longer active in politics, but are highly respected and revered due to their antecedents and excellent service to their fatherland, as well, as having contributed immensely to the overall unity and development of the state decided to carve a new beginning for political development of the state, starting from 2019, by inaugurating the Imo Charter of Equity.
The conveners of Imo State Advisory Council of Elders include Professor Francis Dike (SAN) representing Orlu Council of Elders (for Orlu Zone), Engr. Charles Ugwu (former Minister of Industries) representing Okigwe Council of Elders (for Okigwe zone) and Air Commodore Luke Ochulor (rtd) – first Military Administrator/Governor of Delta state, representing Owerri Council of Elders (for Owerri zone).
This august body, after due consultation and brain storming has adopted the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as its governorship candidate for March 9 governorship election in Imo State.
This adoption was in fulfillment of an item on the Imo Charter of Equity which the Elders felt was overdue and should henceforth take off from Owerri zone, where Chief Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, incidentally comes from.
The Council enjoined all Imo citizens to vote Ihedioha as the next governor because it found the manifesto of the party more appropriate to recover and rebuild the economy of the state.
However, the elders did not say if they were able to dissuade the likes of former Imo governor, Ikedi Ohakim of Accord Party, Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, who are strong contenders in the governorship race to abandon their aspiration to govern the state. There is also Hon. Tony Nwulu of the United Peoples Party and Mr. Uche Nwosu, the son in-law of Governor Rochas Okorocha. The Imo Charter of Equity stands a chance of heralding a new dawn of understanding and peaceful coexistence in the state only if these gentlemen are ready to walk away from the prized crown.
A four-page communique signed by leaders of the council as well as its key conveners revealed that having consulted, interviewed and evaluated candidates from different political parties and their respective manifestoes, the council resolved to adopt Ihedioha.
According to elders, the manifesto presented by the candidate of the PDP, Emeka Ihedioha in the opinion of the council, best satisfies the aspirations of Imo State. Therefore, we endorse and adopt him as the candidate of choice for Imo state.
The council called on the people of Imo state to vote for Ihedioha of the PDP on Saturday, March 9, 2019, while urging them to protect the integrity of the electoral process against miscreants.
The communiqué however, appealed to the various security agencies, particularly, Army, Police and DSS to allow the citizens choose their governor instead of aiding and abetting some leaders to manipulate the system and thwart the wishes of the people.
The elders had observed that the absence of peace, stability, development and good governance in the state created political rascality and irresponsible government, lack of respect for the rule of law and the traditional institution; deterioration of good morals and educational attainment, which the state was not known for.
“By reason of the foregoing; criminality has become prevalent and basic infrastructure and healthcare are near primitive standards. Cognizant of the benefits of good governance, justice, equity and good conscience, the Council is of the strong opinion that the issue of rotation of elective political offices (particularly the office of the Governor of Imo state) must be strictly adhered to; commencing now with Owerri zone being giving the opportunity to produce the governor of the state come March 9, 2019.”
Those who jointly signed the communique for Owerri zone were; Dr. Okechukwu Aguwa, Chief I. D. Nwoga, Maj. General C. R. U. Ihekire (rtd), Chief Dr. J. C. Odunna, Col. Lambert Ihenacho (rtd), Chief Analyn Nwaneri, Sir Ambrose Ejiogu and Sir Levi Oguike.
For Okigwe zone, those who signed were Chief Tony Emeruem, Prof. Obioma Iheduru, Barr. M. I. Ogwuegbu, Chief Ebere Udeagu, and Rt. Hon. M. I. Duru.
Those who represented Orlu zone included Chief Chris Ejike Uche, Chief S. Durukwaku, Martin Ejiogu, Rt. Hon. Chuma Nnaji, Anthony Alinor, Ogbuagu Kenn Obieke, Dr. Douglas Acholonu, and Engr. Chime Nzeribe.