I have heard many people frequently say that former Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State lost the 2011 Imo Gubernatorial Election to Owelle Rochas Okorocha because of the ex-governor’s ‘mouth’. Others say it was people from Owerri Senatorial Zone of the state caused it by voting against Ohakim.
However, I have always found it difficult to accept the above postulations.
In some of my earlier write-ups, I have extensively written my views on what were the real factors that worked against Chief Ohakim during the election 2011 governorship election in Imo State. One of the factors I have always said was the kind of political opponents and opposition that existed when Ohakim was a governor. This I always call ‘The Ararume Factor’.
Having lost the 2007 Imo Governorship contest, the two-time Senator for Okigwe Senatorial Zone of the state Senator Ifeanyi Ararume wanted to be a governor by all means. Therefore he did everything humanly possible to remove his brother Ohakim from office and probably take-over as governor. This he started immediately Ohakim was sworn in 2007. When this could not succeed, the senator felt that the only option left was to tarnish the image of Ohakim and his government so as to outwit the ex-governor during the 2011 governorship election. Incidentally, Chief Achike Udenwa also fell out with Ohakim and joined Ararume in what people today call ‘an unholy alliance’ to pull Ohakim down.
It is a fact that Chief Udenwa had a formidable propaganda machinery when he ruled as a governor in Imo state from 1999 to 2007. He also has ardent followers and loyalists led by the likes of Dr. Alex Obi who were more experienced in governance and politics. Subsequently, Udenwa joined Senator Ararume and unleashed an avalanche of adverse propaganda against Ohakim and his then government. It was this group that was at the vanguard of the propaganda on Ohakim and the Catholic priest saga which later snowballed into what might be described as religious crusade against the former governor. Consequently, this group succeeded in frustrating Ohakim and got some people entreated into working against the Mbano-Born Ex-Governor during the 2011 Governorship election in Imo State.
On the other hand, the major contenders in the 2011 governorship election were Ohakim (PDP) from Okigwe Senatorial Zone, Ararume (ACN) from Okigwe Senatorial Zone, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba from Okigwe Senatorial Zone and Okorocha (APGA) from Orlu Senatorial Zone. There was no strong contender from Owerri Zone. Therefore, the game was chiefly between Okigwe and Orlu. At the end of the day, Okorocha had 336,856 votes, Ohakim 290,496 votes and Ararume 107,068.