2027: Okigwe zone insists on producing Uzodimma’s successor

From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

Leaders in Okigwe zone of Imo State have reiterated their resolve to produce Governor Hope Uzodimma’s successor in 2027.

Rising from a crucial meeting on Sunday at the palace of the chairman of Okigwe Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Oliver Ohanwe at Isiala Mbano, the leaders, comprising top politicians, traditional rulers, captains of industry, and academia among others, demanded that the charter of equity truncated in 2011 while Chief Ikedi Ohakim was seeking his second tenure, must be completed before power shifts to Owerri zone.

The meeting, which came amid raging controversy over certain promise said to have been made by the incumbent governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, to handover to a contestant from Owerri zone at the end of his tenure in 2027, had generated a lot of interest from keen watchers of the Imo political terrain, who saw it as a potentially make or mar gathering.

Over the last couple of months, several individuals and groups from both Okigwe and Owerri zones, had advanced arguments and counter arguments over which of the zones has the right claim to the office of the governor in 2027.

While Owerri zone hinges its claim on the fact that in the current forth republic, Orlu and Owerri zones have, respectively, occupied the office for 24 years and four years, respectively, the longest Owerri zone has had it was the seven-month stint of Emeka Ihedioha, who was replaced by the incumbent governor, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on January 14, 2020.

On the other hand, Okigwe zone insisted that its mandate that began in 2007 after Orlu zone’s eight-year tenure was deliberately truncated just after four years in 2011 with the active collaboration of politicians from Owerri zone.

Therefore, to restore the Charter of Equity, which leaders of the zone insist collapsed in 2011 as a result, Okigwe must be allowed to complete eight years on the seat, after which it can then move to Owerri zone.

In furtherance to this argument, the Sunday meeting adopted a document which was presented a couple of months ago by the Okigwe Global League to the Imo State Council of Elders through its chairman, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya.

In the document, the Okigwe leaders noted that while the zone commends the council for its efforts at restoring the Imo Charter of Equity, it was vehemently opposed to his decision on the modality for the implementation by which the office of the governor of Imo state is programmed to rotate from Orlu to Owerri zone in 2027.

The document further noted that “the people of Okigwe zone, hereby, request the council to use her good offices to review the implementation modality in the interest of equity and fairness, and accordingly uphold the right of Okigwe zone to produce the next governor of Imo state at the end of the second tenure of the incumbent governor in 2027.”

Apart from the truncation of its mandate in 2011, the Okigwe leaders gave details of other aspects of economic and social marginalisation suffered by the zone since 1999.

They argued thus: “Now that we are reviving the Charter of Equity, it is only logical, fair and just, to allow Okigwe zone to complete its rightful turn, which was viciously truncated in breach of the charter.”

The adoption of the document, entitled, “Imo State Charter of Equity: The Stand Of The People of Okigwe Zone,” followed a motion by Professor Ossy Nwebo, former vice chancellor of the Imo State University, which was seconded by Professor Remi Uche.

Thereafter, other speakers that spoke supported the document. Among those who spoke in favour of its adoption were Chief Tony Chukwu, a font line politician from the zone, Senator Patrick Ndubueze, currently representing the zone (Imo North) in the Senate and Paul Emeziem, former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, and currently representing Onuimo state constituency.

Others are Chief Peter Orji, E.E. Osuagwu, former member of the House of Representatives in the aborted Third Republic, and Eze Daniel Emereonye, Secretary-General of Okigwe zone of the council of traditional rulers.

In his speech, an obviously elated Chukwu noted among other things, that it has the hands of God, while Senator Ndubueze, added, “I support the Okigwe position 100 percent.”

Eze Emereonye went a step further to inform the gathering that the Okigwe zone of the traditional rulers was part of the drafting of the document that had just been unanimously adopted.

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