By Judith Anyanwu
There was a big rally in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, on Wednesday, February 7.
The rally was a gathering of Imo sons and daughters drawn from four key local government areas of the state. In attendance were more than 3,000 participants and the aim was to persuade the deputy governor of Imo, Eze Madumere, to contest the governorship of the state come next year.
The Madumere supporters, drawn from Mbaitoli, Ohaji/Egbema, Nkwerre and Nwangele local government areas of the state, not only wanted to register their solidarity for him, they also wanted to impress it on the deputy governor to see himself as the primus inter-pares, the one most qualified in the Rescue Mission camp to step into the shoes of Governor Rochas Okorocha when his tenure expires in May 2019.
The supporters displayed different placards that read like: “For Imo governorship 2019, ask for Mr. Integrity, Mr. Incorruptible,”; “Vision 2019, Madumere all the way,”; “It’s Madumere or…among others.”
The leader of the mammoth crowd, Chief Chidi Nwaogu, who addressed journalists said the solidarity match was planned to urge Madumere to join the governorship race, because “he is the most qualified among all the aspirants.”
Nwaogu was not alone. The member representing Mbaitoli in the House of Assembly, Hon. Ifeanyi Nnataraonye, described the solidarity march as unique, and that Madumere’s humble, peaceful and loyal dispositions with experiences in both private and public sector are enough qualities to warrant him stepping into Okorocha’s shoes.
The lawmaker said Madumere’s result-oriented contributions to the development of the state are reasons all Mbaitoli people and others from other parts of the state are appealing to him to join the race for the governor.
To Ekweremba Princewill from Ohaji/Egbema local government, Madumere’s contributions to the peace of the Council, particularly in the oil producing communities speak volume.
He said the youths of the area are solidly behind the deputy governor and cannot wait to hear that he will flag the APC flag.
The supporters later besieged the deputy governor’s office where they were addressed by Madumere Special Adviser on Political Matters, Chief Chris Nwaike, who commended them for identifying with his principal with such gesture even while was unavoidably absent.
Nwaike reiterated that Madumere is eminently qualified for any political position in the state in particular including governorship, and Nigeria at large, given that, “his contributions to the peace and development of Imo is second to none.”
In January 2018, Okorocha had clarified that his successor would be a member of his Rescue Mission who would uphold the philosophy and legacies of his administration.
Even though Okorocha has left hanging his choice of successor, it does not rule out Madumere who popular commentator and public relations icon, Dr. Chuks Osuji, says Okorocha trusts after his wife.
It is important that Okorocha is talking about a successor who would sustain the legacies of his government, and even surpass it. It is also important that such successor must have been schooled in the Rescue Mission mantra.
Apart from Okorocha initiating the support for Madumere, Imolites will be at peace with him as their governor and in the fullness of time, the credit will go to the man he refers to as his father, political and otherwise.
Therefore, while Okorocha keeps close to his chest his choice of successor, keeping everyone guessing and hanging on to every word that he utters, the news that will gladden the heart of the APC members and none members alike, both from Owerri, Orlu or Okigwe zones will be the naming of Madumere as the party’s flag bearer.
By so doing, chances are the APC would have a good outing in 2019 in Imo.
* Anyanwu is resident in Mbano, Okigwe.