As the country eagerly awaits the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the April 11 Governorship election in Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, to disclose his position on the election results as he promised, confusion has befallen the party in the state.
Since after the party’s defeat in the governorship and State House of Assembly elections, the lines of the leadership of the party have been crossing and clashing, with some of them speaking from both sides of their mouths and contradicting themselves.
This scenario which has already been adjudged evidence of confusion in the Imo PDP camp, has seen the party’s leaders openly expressing anger and frustration, leaving observers wondering when they will settle down and address their situation more reasonably and responsibly.
Penultimate week, Ihedioha was scooped by Nigerian Horn to have lost his calm and cool and throwing decency and respect to the winds, descended heavily on party leaders that converged at his residence to take stock of the party’s outing at the April 11 elections. Present at the meeting included Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Barr. Nnamdi Anyaehie, Rt. Hon. Chuma Nnaji, Chief Tony Chukwu, some of the victorious National Assembly candidates and some other party henchmen.
At the meeting Ihedioha, in response to Chief Iwuanyanwu’s excuses about how the opponent party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and their governorship candidate, Owelle Rochas Okorocha violently intimidated and manipulated the elections to their advantage, had hotly queried what they, the leaders of the party, were doing when the opponents were violently intimidating them and manipulating the elections.
It may be recalled that at polling unit, ward and local government levels in the state, nearly all Imo PDP leaders, excluding Ihedioha, lost the elections to the APC candidates. Consequently, in addition to APC winning the gubernatorial election, they also won 21 seats at the State House of Assembly, leaving only 6 for PDP.
The confusion that the outcome of the elections created among the PDP leaders got worse recently with the resumption of Ihedioha at his post as Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives. Since his return to Abuja, the Imo PDP is in a sort of disarray with none of the leaders seen to be able to appear freely in public and speak about the party.
Last week, Chief Iwuanyanwu, while briefing newsmen on issues pertaining to the elections, suddenly digressed and started singing a new song in which he was advising Gov. Okorocha to ensure he runs an inclusive government in the state. The octogenarian also appealed for peace from Imo people, asking them to accept the outcome of the elections as the will of God. This surprised some of the journalists because earlier in the briefing, the elder statesman had insinuated that the APC should not rejoice yet because the election was not over yet.
That stance made some observers to conclude that the Imo PDP is not likely to challenge the results of the elections at the Election Petition Tribunal as was being speculated, following the statement by Ihedioha that he was “studying the results of the election.”
But the worsening confusion is not unexpected for a party that is losing its third gubernatorial election at a stretch in the state. That has been rub in painfully also with the party’s loss of the presidency at the centre in Aso Rock, Abuja. Losing both the presidential and the governorship is definitely a big blow to the party which had remained very flamboyant until recently.
The leaders seem to still suffer the daze which hit them at the elections. This is particularly with their struggle with explaining the various incidences of alleged betrayals by some of the party leaders before and during the elections. The leaders are, as a result, still careful and cautious in their outings and utterances.
This now implies that such party overhead expenditure as State Secretariat rents, workers salaries, logistic requirements which the party had been affording with the support of party chieftains are no longer guaranteed now that party leaders have dispersed in a way.
There are still massive decamping of important groups from the PDP to the APC in the state. One of such was declared by the PDP in Isiala Mbano last week. With the dumping of the party by one of its best leaders, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume to join the APC, it appears the entire Okigwe PDP may sooner than later decamp to join him in the APC.
Nigerian Horn discovered that not less than 22 of the PDP aspirants have followed Araraume to the APC. Also, in virtually all the wards the members of PDP are defecting in their numbers to the APC. This has been explained as having to do with preparations for the expected Local Government (LG) election that may come up soon. APC is getting set to sweep all the 27 LGAs in the state in the LG election.
Indeed, as it is at the moment, there does not seem to be an identifiable leader of the PDP in Imo State. Chief Ikedi Ohakim, ex-governor and former aspirant in the December 8, 2014 PDP governorship primary election has been making some effort in the recent times to play the leader of the party, but his effort is yet to pay off as he has not secured the trust and confidence of the remaining die-hard PDP faithful.
The hope of the party to pull the carpet off the feet of Gov. Okorocha through the bloc vote for PDP at Oru East LGA where Senator Hope Uzodinma holds forte was dashed to pieces and APC won there with a wide margin. Up till date many PDP people still suspect the maverick politician of compromising and selling out to APC during the election, with many suggesting it was for the game played by “Orlu-for-Orlu” group.
However, as the waiting continues for Ihedioha to speak out and for Imo PDP leaders to come to terms with the reality of their defeat in the elections, close ranks, regroup and determine their next line of action, just as the national body of the party is doing now in Abuja, Nigerian Horn cannot lose focus on how the Imo PDP leaders will sort themselves out of the complex confusion that they are presently stewing in.