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2027: Okigwe Zone Stakes Claim To Uzodinma’s Successor

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Political leaders in Imo State’s Okigwe zone have reaffirmed their determination to put forward a candidate to succeed Governor Hope Uzodimma in the next election, slated for 2027.

After a crucial gathering at the palace of Eze Oliver Ohanwe, chairman of the Okigwe Traditional Rulers Council in Isiala Mbano on Sunday, a united front of Okigwe zone leaders – including politicians, traditional rulers, business leaders, and academics – called for the revival and completion of the charter of equity, disrupted in 2011, as a prerequisite for the shift of power to Owerri zone.

Amidst the swirling controversy surrounding Governor Hope Uzodimma’s alleged promise to cede power to an Owerri zone candidate in 2027, a pivotal meeting was held, drawing intense scrutiny from political analysts who recognize the far-reaching implications of this gathering on the future of Imo State’s political trajectory.

A fierce battle of opinions has been raging in recent months, pitting individuals and groups from Okigwe and Owerri zones against each other, each side passionately arguing their case for why their region should produce the next governor in 2027.

The Owerri zone’s claim to the governorship is based on the region’s relatively short tenure in the current republic, with a total of four years in office, compared to Orlu’s 24 years, and the brief stint of Emeka Ihedioha, who was ousted by the incumbent governor following a Supreme Court ruling in January 2020.

On the other hand, Okigwe zone insisted that its mandate that began in 2007 after Orlu zone’s eight-year tenure was deliberately truncated just after four years in 2011 with the active collaboration of politicians from Owerri zone.

Therefore, to restore the Charter of Equity, which leaders of the zone insist collapsed in 2011 as a result, Okigwe must be allowed to complete eight years on the seat, after which it can then move to Owerri zone.

Taking the conversation a step further, the Sunday assembly ratified a document submitted by the Okigwe Global League, led by Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, to the Imo State Council of Elders a couple of months back.

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The Okigwe leadership applauded the council’s commitment to upholding the Imo Charter of Equity but took issue with the suggested approach, which would transfer the governorship from Orlu to Owerri zone in 2027, deeming it unacceptable.

The document further noted that “the people of Okigwe zone, hereby, request the council to use her good offices to review the implementation modality in the interest of equity and fairness, and accordingly uphold the right of Okigwe zone to produce the next governor of Imo state at the end of the second tenure of the incumbent governor in 2027.”

The Okigwe leadership exposed a web of marginalization that has entangled the zone since 1999, with the 2011 truncation of their mandate being just one egregious example of the economic and social injustices they have faced.

They argued thus: “Now that we are reviving the Charter of Equity, it is only logical, fair and just, to allow Okigwe zone to complete its rightful turn, which was viciously truncated in breach of the charter.”

The assembly unanimously endorsed the “Imo State Charter of Equity: The Stand Of The People of Okigwe Zone,” document, outlining the Okigwe Zone’s resolute stance, after Professor Ossy Nwebo’s motion, skillfully supported by Professor Remi Uche, garnered widespread approval.

The document gained widespread support from subsequent speakers, including prominent figures like Chief Tony Chukwu, a seasoned politician from the zone, Senator Patrick Ndubueze, the current Senate representative for Imo North, and Paul Emeziem, former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly and current representative for Onuimo state constituency, who all echoed their endorsement.

Others are Chief Peter Orji, E.E. Osuagwu, former member of the House of Representatives in the aborted Third Republic, and Eze Daniel Emereonye, Secretary-General of Okigwe zone of the council of traditional rulers.

In his speech, an obviously elated Chukwu noted among other things, that it has the hands of God, while Senator Ndubueze, added, “I support the Okigwe position 100 percent.”

Eze Emereonye disclosed that the traditional rulers of Okigwe zone were instrumental in shaping the document, which had just been adopted unanimously.

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