Imo 2019: Situating the Ihedioha Factor in The Rejuvenated PDP.
By Chibuike Onyeukwu
The resurgence of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Imo State cannot be complete without pointing at the consistent and remarkable role Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, played in rearing the party back to life in the State.
At a time, the PDP was in limbo, in a state of hopelessness after losing the 2015 governorship election coupled with its electoral loss at the national level, Ihedioha despite the betrayals, internal sabotage and orchestrated conspiracies, never wavered in his conviction to join other progressives in the party to re- jumpstart with a view to retooling the PDP in the state and at the national level not only back to life but ready and positioned to take over power.
Having provided effective leadership at the House of Representatives where he served as Committee Chairman, Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker and exited on a high as Speaker respectively where he displayed a high level of legislative acumen, dexterity and discipline, there is no doubt that he is an invaluable asset towards achieving the re- engineering of the PDP.
The journey towards recovering and indeed rebranding the PDP after its electoral defeat not only as a virile opposition political party but one ready to retake power from the inept, failed and unpopular All Progressive Congress, APC in 2019 really had the finger prints and inputs of Ihedioha who did not shy away from the monumental task of repositioning the PDP, a party he was a foundation member.
It is those that are politically biased or those who deliberately fail to see the truth that will not align with this postulation and recognize Ihedioha as a central figure that aided the resurgence of the PDP in Imo State and at the national levels which has become a propelling factor that has given the party a path for direction and energized it for the battle to wrestle power from the All Progressive Congress, APC both in Imo State and in the country.
At a time the party was ravaged by the blow of defeat from the 2015 general elections, Ihedioha among other patriots in the party did all they could to get it back to work. When the PDP was desolate and hunted by anti PDP forces in Imo State as exhibited by political forces loyal to Ali Modu Sherrif faction in the state, one cannot ignore the untiring efforts of the former Deputy Speaker to nip in the bud, the desperation of those bent on truncating the party, dismantle its foundation and erode its relevance as a leading opposition political party in the state.
Rt. Hon. Ihedioha has consistently showed strong character, commitment, undiluted dedication and determination in ensuring that the PDP in Imo State does not get decimated by those who, in connivance with the APC, are bent on destroying the party for their selfish political considerations.
Since the PDP lost power at the centre in 2015, the PDP in Imo had struggled to get its bits and pieces together and it will be preposterous for anyone not to accept the fact that Ihedioha played a stabilizing role in getting some semblance of harmony and unity in the party at all levels. Divorcing Ihedioha from the success story the PDP has recorded in the State is like separating a newly wedded couple on their wedding day!
One can recall his painstaking efforts in getting the party to overcome numerous political and legal fireworks to get the present leadership in the state led by Charles Ezekwem to stand on a firm footing and begin to navigate the affairs which has energized it towards achieving the task of returning power to the people of Imo State in 2019.
That the PDP in Imo State was able to organize Ward, LGA and State Congresses that has enthroned the present leadership in the state which gave it a clear sense of direction is an eloquent testimony of the political dexterity of the progressive players whose political sagacity to revive the PDP in the state cannot be ignored. At all times, he has demonstrated an uncommon courage in gluing the party together which has made the PDP in Imo State the rallying point for active opposition politics, an epicenter for credible opposition and a bastion of hope for despondent Imolites who are yearning for a return of the PDP in the State.
I dare posit therefore, that the story of Imo PDP‘s revival cannot be complete without identifying the sacrifice, energy and resources Ihedioha and other well meaning leaders and stakeholders put into the party to get it moving again. His undiluted loyalty to the cause of the party and the progress of the PDP transcends beyond embedded cleavages in the party, orchestrated by some individuals who are interested in causing confusion in the PDP, suck its carcass and abandon it to pursue their selfish political interests elsewhere.
In politics, there are people who fight for a noble cause, justice and equity and it is not out of place for one to celebrate a victory in the face of so much political adversity. Although Ihedioha had every reason to celebrate in thanksgiving to God for the Supreme Court judgement that affirmed the leadership of National Caretaker Committee of PDP led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi while electing to shove the displaced group aside, but he has rather, in his character as a loyal party man, chosen the path of genuine reconciliation and integration of displaced genuine party men and women in line with the party position of 'no victor, no vanquished'.
Therefore, the subtle and underground moves by some persons in to once again undo the gains recorded by the party in the state after so much toil and broil to get the PDP in Imo State back on track raises a fundamental issue; if those who are consistently indulging in this act of discord ever mean well for party members who have been in political limbo since the party lost power in 2015 in the State.
The three term lawmaker has no doubt proved to be a seasoned politician and a pragmatic leader whose sterling leadership records during his reign a Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives remained eloquent testimony of his midas touch in legislative matters. Such rare experience he has deployed to the growth and survival of the party which has successfully led to immeasurable results. This is why the 7th House of Representatives which he presided is a signpost in the annals of Nigeria’s legislative history as one that effectively provided robust legislation, oversight and indeed enriched the nation’s democratic experience.
This piece is not intended to eulogize the Imo PDP governorship candidate in the 2015 general election but purposed to unveil the his strong character as an astute politician, administrator, experienced, one of the finest in Nigeria, an unblemished character and a legislator par excellence whose contribution to the socio- political development of the PDP, Imo State and the nation cannot be wished away.
The 2019 general elections are fast approaching and we are obviously gearing to face a litany of aspirants from across the state. What should be the hallmark of the choice of candidate must not be parochial, nor mundane considerations but by the sincerity of purpose and capacity we have anticipated and yearned for our state.
Ihedioha in all modesty and considerations, stands out as the man to liberate and rebuild the state.