The Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha received a massive endorsement in his bid to become the next Imo Governor come 2015 on the 25th of October, 2014 in the most unlikely places. Hon Ihedioha was wrapping up his statewide local government consultation tour with the last three local governments of Isiala Mbano, Ideato North and Oru East local government areas. But the Isiala Mbano case was definitely going to be a carnival of sort considering the man to be received and the strategic position of Isiala Mbano in the Imo State Politics. As expected, the significance of the Isiala Mbano visit was going to be illustrative of the real message of zoning and how the citizens of the area feel about it.
Despite the antics of those who wanted to scuttle the event, the event went ahead with a resounding success. Many have tried to play down the success of the Isiala Mbano visit without taking into account the realities on ground. Isiala Mbano LGA is the local government where two major contenders of the 2015 Imo PDP guber primaries come from. It is not far-fetched that the sentiment of the people would be divided across the two major contenders from the area. But in the midst of that sentiment a voice sprang up from within isiala Mbano and Okigwe zone. It is the voice of the progressives. The voice of truth, justice, equity and fairness. It is the voices of those who decided to be quoted for posterity, that in times like this when men who were beneficiaries of the good will of other zones, decided to rock the boat that once kept them, that it should be recorded that voices from Okigwe zone made it clear that truly it is the turn of Owerri zone to produce the next Imo Governor come 2015. Justice, equity and fairness justifies the agitation of the people of Owerri Zone at this time.
May it be known to all and sundry that in 2007 no reasonable man from Okigwe zone or Isiala Mbano would wish away the agitation of the people of Okigwe zone in fovour of someone from a different Zone. That message crystallized and enjoyed the affirmation of the other two zones of Imo State. In 2011, the Zoning debate still favoured Okigwe Zone and no one from the Zone betrayed that fact. But today it has become necessary that Isiala Mbano people rise up and be counted in the Imo political equation. The message was therefore clear. That we shall not allow sentiments becloud our reasoning, nor would we allow the interest of few individuals sway us from standing for that which we know is the truth. The endorsement of people of Isiala Mbano to the governorship aspiration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha is laudable and weighs greatly on the debate as to who should be the next Imo governor.
The Saturday 25th October, 2014 visit of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha sent shock waves in the camp of his contenders. They felt it would amount to a defeat if their own citizens endorsed Hon. Ihedioha’s candidature at their expense. Therefore plans were made to scuttle the visit. However the personality charm of the chief host, Mr Chinedu Chukwuonye and the dexterity of the team Ihedioha campaign In Isiala Mbano, coordinated by Professor Obioma Iheduru made the event a success.
Unlike other visits, the Deputy Speaker paid three courtesy visits to three prominent leaders in Isiala Mbano. The three leaders represented each of the three clans making Isiala Mbano, to wit: Osuh, Ugiri and Mbama. The significance was to give their affirmation that Isiala Mbano are saying it is the turn of Owerri zone to produce the next governor of Imo State, and Hon Ihedioha is their choice. The massive turn out of men, women, youths etc was a clear statement that the people of Isiala Mbano have rejected the call to take up arms against Owerri zone on the issue of zoning.
But most importantly was the love, support and admiration the Deputy Speaker enjoyed in Isiala Mbano. The excitement was so much that the Deputy speaker who had another tour to attend in Ideato North LGA, never felt in a hurry to leave Isiala Mbano.
At the campaign ground, the speech of the Campaign Director General, Barrister Chris Okewulonu summed up what was the message of the people of Okigwe zone. Himself being from Okigwe zone and Obowo LGA precisely spoke in open words that the people of the Zone would not fall to the antics of selfish persons, whose desire is to cajole the people of the Zone. He reiterated the fact that other zones rallied round Okigwe zone when the zoning issue favoured them. He reminded the people of Isiala Mbano how ego and personality clash by the same two major contenders from the area, caused Isiala Mbano and Okigwe Zone to lose the Imo Douglas House in 2011. In his speech, the chief host Chinedu Chukwunonye told the waiting gathering that he would never lie to his people. He stated that Hon Emeka Ihedioha has been tested and certified as trusted. He said Hon Ihedioha keeps his words always. He therefore urged his people to rally their support towards him to make his bid for Imo guber a success. The head of Ndi-Nze, the traditional kingmakers also blessed Hon. Ihedioha and wished him success at the polls.
In his speech at the occasion, the Deputy Speaker went down memory lane, narrating how he consistently supported the cause of Okigwe zone to be governor in 2007. He also narrated how he supported the Ohakim administration while in government and during the 2011 failed second term bid. He therefore urged the people of Isiala Mbano to reciprocate the gesture of the people of Owerri zone by voting for him. Despite the attempts made to affect the momentum of the visit, the people of Isiala Mbano responded well to the message of Deputy Speaker.
No matter the way one looks at it, the message from Isiala Mbano is clear, that there are people of goodwill from the area who believe for the equity and fairness we all advocate, favours Owerri zone to produce the next Governor. And for the merit Imo deserves, Isiala Mbano people made it clear that no other person outside Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha is better prepared and competent to restore the rot in the Imo Government House come 2015. To God be the glory.
By: Kissinger Ikeokwu, Esq
Ikeokwu writes from Isiala Mbano, Imo State
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