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Like Imo Like Rivers State. Prior to the 2015 election, situation caused the then ruling party PDP to lose Rivers State. The man Rotimi Amaechi who rode with then incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on a simultaneous ticket in 2011 jumped ship and handed Rivers State over to the then obstinately growing opposition party APC. Rivers State was too costly a trophy for PDP to loose. It was symbolic. As symbolic as Kano State or Lagos State to any leader contesting for President from the North or the southwest. But his hand was full because the man Rotimi Amaechi is grounded, had charisma, power, influence and mass appeal.

The mood of the state was that power should return to the Riverine areas, having been on the Igbo speaking arrears of the state in chain of succession from 1999-2015. But was zoning gonna be the matter for Rivers PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan? No. They did their mathematics and it was going to be one major decision or step President Jonathan made right.

PDP needed someone who is grounded. Someone who would match Amaechi street to street, militant for militant, lion to lion. Collumbia to Collumbia. It didn’t matter where that man came from, Rivers must be brought to PDP. PDP didn’t need the sentiments as to whose zone it was. Ikwerre, Obio/Apor etc were too costly a trophy to gamble with or leave to a determined Amaechi, so the President chose Nyesom Wike with little much ado. Every PDP leader, faithful or stalwart in Rivers had to fall in line. There wasn’t bitter primaries. No back-bitting or pull him down. The PDP house was perfectly in order and everybody fell in line.

Nyesom Wike did not only win the election, he proved too rugged and grounded for Amaechi and his allies to handle. Even against a determined APC Federal Government onslaught, Nyesom Wike has prevailed over his abuja invading enemies. Why? Because he is grounded. Nyesom Wike didn’t need a GEJ or National PDP to help him chase away the rampaging APC invaders in the recent legislative election reruns. All because he is grounded in the streets of Port Harcourt. The Churches are with him, minority tribes and non indigenes are with him. Above all, Wike has all Rivers State PDP leaders intact, from former Governor Peter Odili, Senator, Sekibo, Austin Opara, Sergeant Awuse, Celestine Omehia etc.

IMO IN CONTRAST

Running into 2015 Imo State produced the highest number of Guber aspirants (19) who paid N10 Million to obtain Form. Mices and cats came out to seek the node to face almighty Rochas. While they were doing that, they ignored how strong and formidable their foe, Governor Rochas Okorocha whose two word program “Free Education” has permeated the remotest of villages in Imo State, call it fake or dubious, truth is that it worked for him and gave him an edge over any Imo politician living or dead outside Dee Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory.

PDP in pre-2015 fought a bigger battle as much as they would fight in the main election against a powerful incumbent. The rest they say is history.

FAST FORWARD 2019 IN FOCUS

Sadly, PDP and the vast majority of opposition leaders and politicians in Imo have not realized or come to terms that their chance against a strong ruling party marshaled by Governor Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha is in their ability to unify and identify one person. Yes I mean one person, who can win from opposition.

Remember, only one man has won from opposition against the ruling party in Imo. His name is Rochas Okorocha. He achieved that feet by ambushing the ruling party in Markets, Parks, unarranged meetings etc. Who in the present day Imo opposition can do the dance? Have they for once taken time to identify who can achieve that feet and how they can pull their resources to him to defeat the present day ruling party.

Remember, Rochas stopped an incumbent in 2011 because he was rugged. He had the ruggedity that made Local Government votes that would have nailed his fate not to enter INEC office. He has continued even after that to prove his mettle with the last Okigwe Senate rerun where he singlehandedly led to cancellation of the first polls which they claimed was going against their party.

Do we have such rugged politician that can stir a revolution against the ruling party today? Do we have such a politician that can inspire people to vote and protect their vote up to Owerri and keep vigil against upturning it like Rochas did in 2011?

Alas, but the opposition can play to their strength now by putting their best foot forward. Position the leaders for Senate in the 3 senatorial zones, chose a strong person for Deputy Governor and put forward their arrow head on time. Any further delay in Imo is a walk-over for the undisputed heavy weight champion of Imo Politics.

Opposition is strategy. Not a crazy battle for political party leadership or ticket. Let no one fool you. Are we more interested in grabbing the party structure or ensuring our man gets the ticket or are we more interested in creating a strategy that will ultimately defeat APC in Imo State?  By now they ought to be building coalition accross party lines. But they are still fighting in their own party.

2019 guber election is counting down by two years, yet no clear direction amongst opposition against a formidable ruling party lead by Owelle Rochas Okorocha. Would they learn? My doubts. Should we continue to be doing the same thing over and over and yet expect a different result?

Kissinger ikeokwu 11/03/2017
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