From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
There is going to be an epic battle on May 7, 2022 as the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Imo State holds its senatorial primary elections across the three senatorial zones of Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe to elect the senatorial flag bearers for the 2023 polls.
The senatorial primaries are expected to be fiercely contested by the political gladiators who are all well known household names in the politics of the three zones and in the state in general.
Owerri Zone(Imo East)
In Owerri zone, the battle is expected to be between Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi and Uche Onyeaguocha, who had also represented the Owerri federal constituency between 2003 and 2007 and the erstwhile Secretary to the Imo State government under the seven months tenure of Emeka Ihedioha. Another contender for the sole ticket is Mr. Basil Maduka from Ezinihitte Mbaise and the president of the Virgin group.
Sen Onyewuchi had replaced the current National Secretary of the PDP in 2019, Senator Samuel Anyanwu after being in the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2019.
Sources close to the Imo State PDP said the entrance of Onyeaguocha into the Owerri senatorial contest has raised the stakes unlike in the 2019 primaries where the incumbent had it easier with the then incumbent, Samuel Anyanwu opting to contest the gubernatorial primary rather than seek re-election into the Senate.
One of the sources who prefers anonymity said, “ in 2019 Senatorial primary, Sen Onyewuchi had it a little easier because Samuel Anyanwu( Samdaddy) had instead of seeking a re- election had rather gone for the governorship primaries and lost and Sen Onyewuchi had won the primaries without much ado. But this coming senatorial primary will be a fierce battle between Onyewuchi and Onyeaguocha who is a populist. They are going to battle for the votes of the delegates and it is going to be tight.
“Again, don’t forget Basil Maduka from Ezinhitte Mbaise who is also in the race for the sole ticket and he has the resources to fund his ambition. I know that whoever picks the ticket is going to win the senatorial seat of Owerri zone in 2023 because this zone is the PDP base.”
Orlu zone (Imo West)
The contest is going to be a three horse race between Jerry Alagbaoso, Dr ThankGod Ezeani and of course, Jones Onyerieri. The political gladiators are well know in the zone and have equally represented their various federal constituencies.
Alagbaoso is currently serving his third term as the House member representing the Orlu/ Oru East /Orsu Federal constituency in the House of Representatives.
Similarly, Jones Onyeriri had served for two terms as the member representing Nkwerre/ Njaba/ Isu/ Nwangele federal constituency in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly between 2011 and 2019. In fact, he had lost the senatorial election to the incumbent, Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo State under controversial circumstances.”
Another political gladiator in the race for the senatorial ticket is Dr. ThankGod Ezeani. He had earlier represented the Ideato North / South Federal constituency in the Green Chambers between 2007 and 2003. Ezeani, an industrialist has what it takes to do the battle. Just like in the Owerri zone, the Orlu zone senatorial primary is going to be a tough contest as only the fittest stands the chance of getting the ticket.
Okigwe zone (Imo North)
The Okigwe zone is another kettle of fish as it appears to be a contest between Chief Emmanuel Okewulonu and Ifeanyi Ararume Jr, the first son of Senator Ifeanyi Ararume.
Chief Okewulonu had lost the Okigwe senatorial bye- election to the APC candidate, Frank Ibezim which was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2020 to replace Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu who had died in December of 2019.
However, many have viewed the Okigwe senatorial primary election really not between Okewuluonu with the junior Ararume but actually with the Senior Ararume, a two term Senator of the zone between 1999 and 2007, who is considered as the political octopus in Okigwe and the state at large .
Although Senator Ararume who was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the 2019 governorship polls has pitched his political tent with the ruling APC, his son recently joined the major opposition PDP.
It was learnt that Ararume regardless of his current political affiliation will ensure that his son who was a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry under the government of Rochas Okorocha succeeds in his political adventure.