By Tony Izuogu
It is widely known that it was desperate political alliance between embattled incumbent governor Rochas of Imo and embittered former senator Ifeanyi Araraume that aided Rochas in retaining the office of Imo governor in 2015.
It is also known that Araraume's infamous services to Rochas came at a significant price. It wasn't money. It's an open secret that Rochas must have promised Araraume what the Mbano-born politician craves the most; Imo governorship come 2019.
And trust Araraume to hold people to their promise. Play promise-and-fail with him and you will regret doing so. That's a proven notoriety.
So here you have a man (Rochas) who promises flippantly and fails religiously on one hand and another (Araraume) who takes promises rather too seriously on the other hand. Quite a deadly mix.
Well, Rochas obviously isn't interested in delivering a governor Araraume. He has come out several times to fearlessly declare that he won't allow anyone above 50 years old to succeed him; Araraume is too far beyond that bracket. And Araraume has set out to prevail against Rochas' known infidelity and hallmark trait.
Pundits have forecast rumble in the jungle episode between these two regarding 2019. What people don't know is that the war has long started. It's as yet cold and deadly so.
Who is winning? It's not easy to tell, but Rochas readied a decisive blow against Araraume. It's unfolding and if (a giant if!) Araraume can unravel Rochas' blow timely, he (Araraume) would have neutralised the single deadliest weapon in Rochas' arsenal.
It is not the first time Rochas has deployed such tactics against his opponents. It was effective for him in subduing Owerri people. He used it against Arch Bishop Anthony Obinna. Ahead of 2015 election, he deployed it against the candidate he dreaded the most (Emeka Ihedioha).
What's that weapon? Divide and conquer. He turns a house against itself. How? In the case of Owerri, he decimated the once powerful central stool into weaker autonomous communities. He turned the Njemanze royal family against one another. He was able to get the blunt authoritative prince Bob Njemanze to back his position and policies.
Against the opposing Archbishop Obinna, he took in the bishop's own brother Paddy Obinna and made him a regular counter opposition against Bishop Obinna. Coming to Rt hon. Ihedioha, Rochas (via his wife's political "she needs a shelter" project) built and furnished houses for members of Ihedioha's kindred, with the aim of turning them against their own.
Now, Rochas has brought Araraume's son close and is giving him privileges reserved only for his specials like Uche Nwosu his son-in-law. Reliable information has it that Araraume's son (who is Rochas' commissioner) has position of at least deputy governor reserved for him; and he is less than 50 years.
If Rochas gets Araraume's son to buy into the game, senator Ifeanyi Araraume will have his head deep into a family civil war. And the young Araraume will command more appeal than the older and notorious Araraume even within the Araraume family.
The question is: Will Senator Ifeanyi Araraume accept to jettison his lifelong ambition for his son's or will he wage a war against his own family in pursuit of his dream?