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IMO: Why Okorocha was caged

When earlier this year, Governor Rochas Okorocha’s longtime right-hand man and deputy, Prince Eze Madumere stopped wearing the muffler that was a signature identity of his loyalty to the governor, not a few Imo stakeholders believed that he had finally removed the yoke from his neck. Among those who recognised the sign of liberty on Madumere were Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, who had earlier become disenchanted with the governor. Ararume was quick to identify with Madumere in an alliance that inevitably shook the political firmament in the Heartland State. Madumere had come a long way in his relationship with Okorocha, having taken what was thought as a sabbatical from his job at Pepsi Company Inc, in the United States to strategise for the Okorocha Governorship campaign in 1999. Since then, he had stayed glued to Okorocha journeying with him in the several political adventures he undertook. Madumere served as Okorocha’s chief strategist in the 2003 presidential bid on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP and subsequently as chief of staff when he, Okorocha was the special adviser to the president on inter-party relations, the job Okorocha was offered after he pulled out of the 2003 presidential contest. When Okorocha became governor in 2011, Madumere was there as chief of staff and got himself into the main pie when Jude Agbaso was controversially removed as deputy governor of the state. The point of contention between Madumere and Okorocha was the governor’s insistence on projecting his present chief of staff and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu as his successor. The governor’s preference for Nwosu was despite the fact that the governor and Nwosu come from the same Orlu Senatorial Zone, the zone which has produced the governor of the state for 15 out of the past 19 years of the Fourth Republic. The injury with the projection of Nwosu was worsened by the governor’s apparent determination to singlehandedly apportion all the nominees for federal and state offices, starting with himself as the senator representing Orlu Senatorial District from 2019. Madumere who claimed that his governorship aspiration was divinely inspired thus started searching for human factors to facilitate his ambition and thus his quick alignment with Ararume who had himself had the ambition to be governor since 2007. “I will pursue my gubernatorial ambition to a logical conclusion. I am in the race to serve people of Imo State. I have the requisite leadership qualities and vision to take the State to a greater height,” Madumere said. “I have no regret because it has made me even stronger in my bid to make the difference in changing the tide for the people. Any development that does not trickle down to the masses is a misplaced priority.” For Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, who joined APC, in 2015 differed with Okorocha when the said agreement he entered with him (Okorocha) was not honoured. It will be remembered that, in 2015, when the governorship election was declared inconclusive, Okorocha apparently not too sure to emerge victoriously, sought Araraume’s support. It is alleged that there was an agreement that Okorocha would handover to Araraume, in 2019 as part of the reason for the support Ararume’s son, Ifeanyi Ararume Jnr. was also appointed a commissioner in the state. When Araraume saw that it was not going to work out, he called his acolytes and formed an alliance to beat Okorocha in the game of politics. For Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, representing Imo North, his differences with the governor started when Okorocha endorsed Nnamdi Obiaraeri, currently the commissioner of Information, as his choice to pick the ticket of Imo North in APC. Uwajumogu served as speaker of the State House of Assembly and was crucial to the impeachment of Jude Agabso as deputy governor. Uwajumogu decided to join strength with Araraume who is from the same senatorial zone to struggle for political survival. Another close ally was Mr. Theodore Ekechi, who served Okorocha as Commissioner of Information who helped to form the Imo APC Restoration Coalition. Part of the agenda of the APC group, as outlined by Ekechi, was to make sure that Governor Okorocha, does not succeed in installing his son-in-law as the next governor of the state. According to Ekechi, “We are embarrassed because this theatre of the absurdity as we have confirmed has the full backing and financial muscles of Imo State Government as the persons being endorsed. “As a matter of fact, this is an anomaly and points to a dangerous and destructive party politics of APC in Imo State. “We sincerely call on Governor Rochas Okorocha as the leader of the party in Imo State to instil law, order, discipline as well as promote peace and tranquillity as the party gets set for the all-important primaries in the state.” Among APC stakeholders who cued into the agenda to stop Okorocha’s son-in-law, include former Commissioner of Information, Vitalis Ajumbe, former mayor of Owerri zone, Ichie Best Mbanazo. Former Deputy Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly, Donatus Ozoemena, Former Secretary to the State government, Jude Ejiogu, former Senior Adviser to Okorocha on politics, Alan B. Onyemaechi, among others. Last Thursday in what may have been the group’s most decisive move, the coalition petitioned the national leadership of the party with a demand for the expulsion of the governor. The move flows from what the stakeholders alleged as the transformation of the governor into a bull in a china shop apparently determined to bring down the house with everyone inside!