The political atmosphere in Imo was charged on Tuesday as Owerri the state capital literally stood still when traders, market women, school children, civil servants, heads of ministerial and non ministerial departments, members of the State House of Assembly, heads of tertiary institutions, local government sole Administrators, and members of the organized private sector came to grace the political rally of the All Progressive Congress at the Heroes square which was the first to be held in the south east geopolitical zone.
The rally which had in attendance the governors of Edo, Ekiti, Oyo, Lagos, Borno, Nasarawa, Ogun and Osun, who were in the state to show solidarity with Governor Rochas Okorocha was an indication that the battle for the political soul of Imo for 2015 has already begun.
Last Tuesday’s political rally also cleared every doubt as to where Okorocha’s political allegiance lies, and by implication nailed the political coffin of the All Progressive Grand Alliance as a force in the state, leaving only the PDP and the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA as the contenders in 2015.
However, at the rally, the visiting APC governors did not mince words on their political motives in Imo state and the entire south East, which according to them is to dislodge the entire structure of the PDP in the region, in order to rescue the people from bad political leadership.
In the words of the governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola, “this rally is meant to mobilize the good people of Imo state, because Imo people are totally committed to the advancement of the state. We are also sending a signal that our colleagues should take back Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu states from reactionary forces in 2015.
Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) of Lagos state who spoke in unison with his counterparts from Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Edo, Osun, Nasarawa and Borno states commended Okorocha for his spirit of patriotism to join the progressives under the umbrella of APC, saying that the coalition marked the beginning of a veritable change for positive transformation and reformation in the country.
“We in the APC are committed to a change for the betterment of our dear nation, and our people and the coming of APC is neither borne out of selfishness nor greed, but a positive step to liberate our people from a state of hopelessness.”
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in his brief remark homourously disclosed that Okorocha had been conferred with the title of “Girigi” of Oyo state, and that those who have accepted to join and identify with the APC would enjoy everlasting divine blessing, while those still dilly-dallying in doing so would have their blessings
An obviously elated Okorocha, flanked by his visiting colleagues, his deputy, wife, made it clear that the coming together of some political parties was an altruistic desire by a crop of patriotic politicians to rescue the nation from her current state of anomie, perpetrated by the ineptitude of the PDP.
Okorocha who recalled the journey in the past twelve years of PDP federal government administration, scornfully described the PDP as “People Deceiving People” which has pauperized the masses through poverty of vision and project implementation, saying “Never Again will Nigeria represent a nation in bondage.”
He gave an assurance that the Igbo had all embraced the APC because of their sad experience in the hands of the PDP at both the state and federal levels, stating that the party has been consigned into the dust bin of history in Imo.
Okorocha advised the Imo electorate to sustain their spirit of democracy, and good governance by rejecting the PDP and all that it stands for in future elections, just as he commended the governors who had chosen to come under the umbrella of APC as a solution to end bad administration in the country.
On the unfolding political moves in the state, the Imo State Chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance PPA, Chief MacDonald Ogoke advised Imo people and indeed the entire south east that joining the APC is tantamount to a political suicide as the newly formed party does not hold any future for the people.
He further noted that the only party that can safeguard the political interest of the south East is the PPA.
“It is only the PPA that can safeguard the political ambition of the South East and not either the APC or the PDP as we have seen so far. And with the crisis in APGA, the only party that can advance the Political interest of the South east is the PPA. So, it is in the interest Ndigbo to join the PPA.”
Similarly, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party In Imo state Chief Blyden Amajirionwu dismissed the rally as mere political posturing by Okorocha and that when the chips are down the people of Imo would determine where their political salvation lies.
Amajirionwu, pointed out that those who know the political antecedent of Okorocha are not surprised with his romance with the yet to be registered APC, noting that as soon as Okorocha fails to get his way, he would simply dump them.
“Imo state and southeast as a whole remains solidly a PDP zone so we are not worried about the APC and their promoters because they are no threat to the PDP in the state. We are poised to reclaim the government of the state from the current administration of Okorocha who has privatized the state, because we have the resources and manpower to make that happen.”
Meanwhile, whether the new APC could conquer Imo state in the 2015 elections is the question on the lips of political pundits.