During the crisis that almost consumed PDP as a party, Ihedioha remained firm, stable and steadfast in providing leadership to the party in the state.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, was, in the early hours of Tuesday, October 2, 2018, announced the winner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primary in Imo State. He polled 1,723 votes to clinch the keenly-contested ticket. His closest rival, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, got 1,282 to trail far behind. With the victory, Ihedioha would fly the party’s flag in the 2019 governorship election. The triumph has once more confirmed Ihedioha’s far-reaching and incontrovertible burgeoning acceptance among the party faithful.
His victory has been greeted with unprecedented pomp and ceremony across the state. Apart from the members of his party, other Imolites from all walks of life have in no small way been celebrating the emergence of Ihedioha as PDP governorship candidate. In public places in the state such as relaxation centres, vehicle parks, churches and even schools, Ihedioha’s emergence has remained a topical issue as people discuss it with great approval and anticipation. In the past few days, drinks of various brands have been changing hands, especially in drinking joints, to further underpin the celebration.
The reasons for this jubilation and euphoria are obvious. Imo has been under siege in the past seven and half years that Governor Rochas Okorocha of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been in control. Impunity, abuse of rule of law, misrule, financial impropriety, nepotism, high-handedness and obstinacy have been the order instead of the exception in the state. Mediocrity has been enthroned in the state, while infrastructural development has been debased. Many roads in Imo have turned to death traps. The few ones attended to collapse within a few months because of the deliberately poor and inferior manner they are constructed so as to use them as conduit pipes for embezzlement of public fund.
Besides, social services such as the education and health sectors have remained evidently impotent, given low level of government presence, resulting from lack of critical attention. In spite of the fact that education is the main industry of Imo, the standard of education has maintained a free fall under Okorocha’s government. These realities have intrinsically and frenetically sullied the socio-economic and infrastructural development of the state and thus pushed a once viable and vibrant Imo into a recluse state that now trails far behind all the states in the South-East region and other parts of the country in all sectors of development.
This apprehension has left Imo people in dire need and intensive search for a tested, competent, visionary, focused and results-oriented leader that would clean Okorocha’s mess and in so doing placing Imo on a crucial trajectory of veritable development. The elation expressed by Imolites following Ihedioha’s dawn as PDP standard-bearer in Imo State is instructive of the people’s perception of him as the right leader the state urgently desires at this moment that Imo is visibly at a cross-roads, to lead them out of Pharaoh’s land to Israel.
The above perceived view is not only well- founded, it is justifiable, understandable and fact-based. The motives that informed the perception are seemingly evident and verifiable. As a responsible parliamentarian, who had a 12-year stint in the House of Representatives, rising speedily and in meritorious fashion to the positions of Chief Whip and Deputy Speaker, respectively; Ihedioha provided effective legislative governance. He made efficient use of the positions to attract several development projects to the South-East and South-South regions, particularly Imo. The electricity and road projects credited to him are wide-ranging and verifiable. Some of the road projects include but are not limited to Owerri-Eleyele-Port Harcourt; Okpala-Igurita; Owerri-Aba; 63-kilometre Mbaise Ring Road and several others.
He moved in to ensuring the scaling down of the rising level of youth unemployment in the state by flooding Imo while serving as Deputy Speaker with various dimensions of empowerment programmes, which were targeted at vulnerable groups such as women, youths and the physically-challenged. His empowerment programmes provided thousands of unemployed graduates the skill, equipment and finance to start up businesses. As Deputy Speaker, chairman, House Legislative Agenda, chairman, Committee of the Whole House, and chairman, Constitution review committee, he worked in harmony with Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to restructure, reinvigorate and reinforce the House for enhanced legislative performance desirable to stimulate national development.
A loyal and reliable partyman, Ihedioha remains one of the few and rare politicians who have been able to shun political prostitution. He has remained in PDP since he joined the party at inception in 1998. He has for many years been providing effective leadership for Imo PDP, inspiring and supporting younger politicians to achieve their political tendencies.
During the crisis that almost consumed PDP as a party, Ihedioha remained firm, stable and steadfast in providing leadership, character and sustenance to the party in the state. This was at a time when other leaders in the state, such as Senators Samuel Anyanwu and Hope Uzodinma, who were expected to support him to save the party at state and national levels, were hobnobbing with Ali Modu Sheriff and his ilk, allegedly used by the ruling APC to destroy PDP. It alleged that this came after Anyanwu’s surreptitious role in the dubious loss of the PDP governorship election in the state in 2015.
This contradicts radically with the lead, remarkable and verifiable role played by Ihedioha towards the actualisation of Anyanwu’s senatorial ambition in 2015. It is, therefore, a huge mischief for Chidi Madumere to have twisted and distorted facts so brazenly in a failed attempt to use Ihedioha to launder Anyanwu’s image in an article published in the October 5, 2018, edition of Daily Sun, under the headline “In Imo PDP, the past is the present”
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Ihedioha typically remains the pearl of Imo and Imolites are unmistakable about it and are prepared to express at any given time such as the 2019 governorship election.
Dr. Uganwa, a university lecturer, writes from Owerri