The abrupt disqualification of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senatorial Candidate for Imo West, Jones Onyerieri, by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has remained a shocking development to his supporters and other members of the party.
It was reported that ThankGod Ezeani, who also contested in the primary polls of the party, challenged the exercise that produced Jones as the rightful candidate, therefore, praying the Apex Court to declare him the winner.
However, many internal forces unleashed onslaughts against the disqualified flagbearer of the party in the primaries that were held at the Aladinma Shopping Mall on May 26, 2022.
As we all know, the 2023 presidential election and National Assembly shall simultaneously hold across the States in the country. Parties are now jostling, projecting their candidates for the seats.
The 12 Local Government Areas in the Imo West Senatorial district are Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta, Oru West, Nkwerre, Isu, Nwangele, Njaba, Ideato South and Ideato North; with three (3) Federal constituencies therein.
As the die is cast, the political climate has begun to change gradually. The PDP, APC, LP, APGA and others are getting set for the race. Regrettably, Jones was sacked by the Apex Court. His unsuspected removal had been attributed to various internal issues. He should take it in good faith. All things being equal, it is still going to be an interesting game.
Senator Osita Izunaso is the APC candidate for the seat. He had been a member of the National Assembly for eight years in the recent past (House of Representatives 2003 – 2007) and Senate (2007 – 2011). He was also the National Organising Secretary of the APC. He is a strong politician and rooted in the system. He has chances of emerging victorious, having known the terrain.
Patrick Azumah is the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Senatorial candidate for Imo West district in the forthcoming election. He is a businessman and a new breed in politics. He is a first-timer in politics; while his platform, APGA, appears not to have strong supporters in the area. He is a greenhorn in the system.
Jones Onyerieri (now sacked), was the flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He was a former House of Representatives member that represented the Nwangele/Nkwere/Isu/Njaba Federal Constituency. He lost his first attempt to go to the Senate in 2019 to Rochas Okorocha.
The race among the contestants may not be easy as the people’s votes would determine who wins at the end of the exercise. Although, the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, who hails from Oru East Local Government Area – the same Council Area and Senatorial district as the APC candidate; Sen. Osita Izunaso – would fight with his last blood to ensure he delivers the ruling party (APC), of which he is its leader in the Southeast.
Also, the likes of Ugonna Ozurigbo, a member representing Isu, Nwangele, Nkwerre and Njaba Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, who was a strong leader in the ruling APC but now with the PDP, is another force in Orlu zone. A loyalist to former Governor Rochas Okorocha can be said to have stolen the hearts of his people because of his qualitative representation that favours his constituents.
It is not likely to be easy in the Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta and Oru West LGs. Kingsley Uju, who is also currently representing the above-mentioned Federal Constituency in the Lower Chambers of the National Assembly, would like to use his men to fight in the race. He is contesting for the second term.
Let us not forget that there are APC heavyweights, the likes of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) Boss, Charles Orie; the Honourable Minister for Education (State), Rt. Hon. Goodluck Opiah; APC House of Reps Candidate, Eugene Dibiagwu; and other notable APC strongholds in the area would never want their party to fail in the oil-producing Areas.
On the other hand, the ruling APC would get sympathy votes, considering the landmark achievements of Governor Hope Uzodimma since his emergence at the helm of affairs as the number one citizen of the State.
Imo workers, commercial drivers, youths, market women, special citizens (disabled persons) and other groups have resolved to drum up their support for him, which is a plus to the ruling party, APC, in Imo and Southeast in general.
In all, people of the State are expected to come out on election day to cast their votes for the Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives candidates. It is now clear that the race would be between the ruling APC, APGA and Labour Party (LP) in the forthcoming election.
The Imo West Senatorial district is currently being represented by former Governor Rochas Okorocha in the National Assembly. Owelle, who is the Senate Committee Chairman on Religion and Culture, had remained silent since his outing as a Federal lawmaker.
The Orlu zone, therefore, needs a refreshing representation in the upper legislative Chamber of the National Assembly (Senate). People of Imo West are hoping to get Sen Okorocha’s successor that would make the voice of Orlu zone be heard again.
Sampson Uhuegbu sent in this piece from Owerri