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The early months of 2020 saw Imo State being thrown into the political limelight numerous times because of the numerous scandals, political squabbles and the prevalent shift in leadership in a state known for its notorious Governors and political realignments.
As we gradually roll into this new year, the story of politics in Imo State cannot be told without noticing some names that maintained regular mention in several sectors, especially in this political field.
Governor Hope Uzodinma
Events of 2020 will remain a watershed in the politics of the state as it witnessed two persons govern the state within a year. One of those who cannot be forgotten is Senator Hope Uzodinma – the politician who gained fame based on his popular stint with the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Before now, Uzodinma had made efforts to win the votes of the masses to merit an elective position. Fate however played a fast one on him when he emerged a two time senator that represented Orlu Zone. He went on to throw off other contenders to emerge the APC Governorship candidate in the 2019 General election.
After the contest, INEC’s result collations put him in fourth position which he kept contesting at the different court levels. On the 14th of January, 2020, the Supreme Court of Nigeria declared him winner to end the tussle. Since that eventful judgment, Uzodinma has remained at the centre point of matters concerning the state which includes his battle with ghost workers, his inability to pay pensioners and civil servants and his vendetta against his predecessors – Senator Rochas Okorocha and Chief Emeka Ihedioha.
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume
One other politician who made waves is Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. The maverick politician attracted attention as he saw the opening created by the death of Senator Ben Uwajumogu to come into relevance again. Araraume had left APC to run for the Governorship seat of APGA. After the elections, he went to court but had to return to APC to run for the Okigwe Zone bye-election when the Supreme Court ended the squabbles.
On his return, Araraume became the candidate to beat for the APC ticket of Okigwe Zone. Despite odds posed by the other contenders, the Isiebu-born politician was made the candidate via the court but was again stopped by the Appeal Court. He is still on with the hot battle which makes his name an issue in Imo Politics.
Honourable Emeka Nwajiuba
After struggling to be the Representative member for Okigwe South Fed Constituency in 2019, 2020 further brought out Honourable Emeka Nwajiuba, a federal minister in the politics of the state. Apart from his showings in the Presidential Task committee on Covid-19 battle, he was also a major force in events in Imo Politics with regard to the Okigwe Zone bye-election.
In the battle for who picks the ticket, it was not hidden that the Nwajiuba factor was prominent as it was reported that he has been the backbone of one those in the front race for the ticket, Frank Ibezim. Ibezim is Nwajiuba’s associate. It is also a known fact that Uzodinma and Nwajiuba have formed a sturdy alliance against other forces in the battle for the soul of APC.
Even as the COVID-19 and EndSARS brouhaha dominated events in 2020, Chiji Collins, the removed speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly is another character of the year that cannot be overlooked. He would have been a cat with nine lives until his colleagues had enough of him and got him impeached in a surprise, unprecedented turn of events.
Chiji had been in the news for wrong reasons during his headship of the house. Complaints trailed his tenure which made him attract mention in all sectors of the media until he crashed.
While discussing the Okigwe Zone bye-election, a name like Frank Ibezim will come up because the battle to fill the vacuum created by Uwajumogu is completely overwhelming and is threatening to tear the Imo State APC apart.
Ibezim emerged from nowhere to be the favourite of the state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma and Nwajiuba. After getting the ticket, a court stopped him for not being screened for the primaries. He also suffered more harm when another court said he wasn’t qualified based on credentials to run for the position.
Former governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha, now a senator is a known face when it comes to controversies and news headlines in Imo State since he held sway eight years ago.
As a senator of Orlu Zone, Okorocha hasn’t failed to comment or speak on issues affecting the state especially as there is no love lost between him and his successors. In his bid to regain control of APC structure, Okorocha has not allowed his political structure to die as many are still showing support to him despite the fact that the party has been divided into the Uzodinma-loyalists and those who are still under his control.
Chief Charles Ugwu
Coming from the opposition is Chief Charles Ugwu, the new chairman of Imo PDP. Ugwu had been a factor in 2007 when he was the PDP governorship candidate. Twelve years later, Ugwu has bounced back as the number one party man in PDP.
Among the list of those to be counted as one of those who shaped Imo politics is Frank Ugboma , member representing Oguta state Constituency.
In the Assembly family, Ugboma can pass as a firebrand lawmaker who has developed the culture of speaking out irrespective of whose ox is gored .On a number of occasions ,his non conformist posture has patched him against the House leadership and State Government in most cases. His outspoken position has made him one of those to be remembered in 2020.
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