With about barely five months to the presentation of its standard bearer in the 2019 gubernatorial election, and going by the timetable released by the electoral umpire in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Imo State Chapter has seen or rather heard about the unofficial ( as the Imo PDP Secretary, Sir Ray Emeana saw it) expression of intention to run on the ticket of Imo PDP in the election by not less than five prominent aspirants in the party. They include Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Chief Jerry Chukweke, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, Prof. Jude Njoku, Dr. Sam Amadi, Hon. Tony Nwulu and some other cork and shoot aspirants that are neither here nor there.
Already due politicking has commenced for these ambitious aspirants. Underground consultations are robustly playing out while media cold war is raging, especially on social media where Ihedioha, Ohakim and Anyanwu have shown varying degrees of presence. The activities of these leaders of Imo PDP in their respective capacities have been regarded by the Imo PDP secretary, Sir Ray Emeana, as normal but unofficial as the party is putting finishing touches to its preparations for various elections that will be conducted to produce candidates for the governor and House of Assembly offices. He intimated this writer that the party is yet to focus on aspiration of its interested members in various offices. However, he assured that in no distant time the party at the national level will release the timetable and directives for the commencement of the process for electing the person to fly the party’s flag in the 2019 election.
However, there is no gainsaying that the aspirants have already assumed combat positions in their respective political trenches and have started releasing politically improvised small arms and bombs against their most scary rivals in the race for Imo PDP ticket. It is obvious that the once very good friends, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha and Senator Samuel Anyanwu have since turned into best fiends. The later had suddenly made a dangerous detour from seeking re-election into the senate to declaring interest in the governorship ticket that everybody seem to have seen Ihedioha as likely going to run unopposed. Pundits are of the view that by the utterances and skirmishes of Anyanwu, the senator is on a vengeance mission against Ihedioha. From what we gleaned from the media, Anyanwu is unhappy against Ihedioha for undisclosed, reasons best known to him. A particular pundit at a point recently urged Senator Anyanwu to consider paying a courtesy visit to Imo State Ministry of Happiness and Purpose Fulfillment to probably get his lost joy and happiness restored by Mrs. Ogechi Ololo (Nee Okorocha).
Now among the aforementioned Imo PDP politicians that have declared to run for the office of the governor, pundits have been able to apply the unorthodox criteria for determining contenders and pretenders. Ideally, a contender under this circumstance is a politician that has publicly declared his intention to run for the guber and has been visibly seen walking his talk by way of advancing the course of his declared ambition and aspiration. On the other hand, a pretender is a politician who is like an ill-fated newspaper or magazine that ends in Vol. 1 No. 1. As stated earlier, he is a mere cork and shoot aspirants that repeatedly keep declaring to run for governor among a few friends that sit over a drink at a local bar. He never really makes any good of his much mouthed burning and probably searing ambition. Ironically, it is the pretender that subtly orders his friends to begin to hail him as “Your Excellency” or “His Excellency”. Shakespeare will describe that as the giant robe on a dwarfish thief! The hailing of the usually careless pretender ends once the pretender exhausts his inconsequential personality and purse. That is not the same for true contenders. The true contender soon after his public declaration of interest to run begins all sorts of grassroots underground and clandestine coercion and persuasion. He puts his money where he wants his voice to be heard. He usually engages all classes of members of the society in meaningful and responsible sell of his ideas, ideology and manifesto while seizing any such opportunity to showcase and market his product and brand.
Based on the foregoing signposting of the nature of pretenders and contenders, it would not be too arrogant and insensitive to state of pundits to argue as they are doing that so far only Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha that is committed and consistent in exhibiting the nature and attributes of a true contender. He has been observed to be very meaningfully cross-fertilizing ideas that may be relevant to the overall good of Imo people. He never went on sabbatical. In fact, he holds the record among his contemporaries in politics of the most consistent and committed member of the PDP for remaining unshakably PDP since the embryonic stages of the party in 1995 till date. All other aspirants have been here and there rolling like a rolling stone and gathering no moss. Those are the pretenders. But Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha it has been PDP today, PDP tomorrow and PDP forever. That is one character that has endeared him to many sincere observers that see him as Mr. Integrity.
While the PDP ate dust in opposition between 2007 till date, only Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha remained resilient facing the odds, fanning the ember of progress with steady financial and moral support, motivation and inspiration. In that tortuous, emasculating interlude of over ten years, Ihedioha has ebulliently stood the PDP ground against the inept and incompetent leadership of Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his ruling APGA and later APC since 2011. There is no bad policy that the Okorocha administration has attempted to force down the throat of Imo masses that did not receive condemnation by Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. Only recently, for instance, the Imo State House of Assembly lawmakers objected and ultimately threw away the much awaited local government autonomy Bill, thereby rejecting the signing of the Bill which a number of states have since endorsed. Expectedly, Ihedioha promptly condemned the act describing it as anti-Imo people. That is vintage Ihedioha for you!
Comparatively, along this criterion of consistency and contribution to the sustenance and thriving of Imo PDP at all times, all other aspirants have no serious bearing in Imo PDP. They have severally proved to be one leg in and one leg out of PDP. Chief Ohakim, for instance, does not have same history as Rt. Hon. Ihedioha. Rather, he has been a party taster of a sort. He became a governor in 2007 not as a PDP member but as a PPA member. It steadily argued that had PDP put their house in order, Ohakim could not have become governor. That is now part of his story, At a stage shortly after the defeat of the PDP to fifth columnists and traitors in Imo PDP, Ohakim surprisingly announced his embarkation on a sudden “sabbatical”, while Ihedioha painstakingly held the forth. Only a couple of months ago did Ohakim return from his “sabbatical”, aiming to occupy the biggest space in Imo PDP he abandoned at the heat of pains of defeat. To that extent, pundits also regard Chief Ikedi Ohakim as a pretender and not a real contender for the ticket of Imo PDP for 2019.
At about less than two weeks before the 2015 general elections Chief Jerry Chukwueke jumped out of the PDP ship and stowed away with the deceptive ship of the APC. During a visit by the then presidential candidate and who later became President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Okorocha introduced Chukwueke to Buhari as “Master Election Rigger”. On his tow for reminders were the Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe, Chief Felix Idiga (JAFAC), Mr. Nnamdi Obiaraeri and a number of other PDP saboteurs and turncoats. Chief Chukwueke has remained ensconced in obscurity since 2015 till a couple of weeks ago when some Imo-based newspapers intimated that he wants to declare to contest the ticket of Imo PDP to run for governor in 2019. Since that hoax, however, nothing has been heard about Chukwueke and his questionable guber ambition and aspiration. That qualifies him to be a pretender.
The duo of Senator Samuel Anyanwu and youthful Hon. Tony Nwulu are rated as pretenders because they are legislative neophytes as far as the representation at the National Assembly is concerned. Ihedioha served at the National Assembly first as a Special Assistant to senate presidents from 1992 till 1999 before he became Special Assistant to the then vice president Atiku Abubakar from 1999 till 2003 when he vied for the Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Federal Consistency where he served for a meritorious record twelve years from 2003 till 2015. Nwulu is just an upstart while in many respects; Anyanwu too is a still a learner when compared with Ihedioha. That makes the duo of Anyanwu and Nwulu pretenders as far as the resource pundits interviewed for this essay are concerned.
In one or two sentences, let me state that both Prof. Jude Njoku and Dr. Sam Amadi are erudite scholars of repute. But they are too academic inclined and too politically detached to be able to fly the big flag of the PDP in 2019. They may be good at university senate or faculty but certainly they are misfits in the political battle that the 2019 election will be. They may be good in the boardroom politics of national corporation but that is a far lower politics than the brawl with Governor Rochas Okorocha that 2019 with witness. That may account for why despite the vamvum intimation of their will to run, they have remained at the so so consultation stage. As such both Prof. Njoku and Dr. Amadi are pretenders in the permutations of concerned pundits.
It may not be possible to exhaust the comparative analysis of all pretenders and the only contender on the turf for now. This is because more pretenders may join the pack as time passes. Many of whom are paid Judases sent by the colonization-minded emir in Douglas House to betray Imo PDP again and deny them their deserved victory as was the case in 2015. But a couple of weeks ago Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha boldly stated that affliction shall never arise a second time because the Egyptians Imo PDP saw in 2015, they will never see in 2019. So, I will coda it at this juncture until when other pretenders emerge or until the need arises again to make a follow up to this essay. For now, while Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha remains the only true contender for Imo PDP ticket to run for governor in 2019 all others are pretenders. Noto me talk am o, na pundits! Thank you for reading.