2 years short of 20 years of Orlu governance, Imo State is already in a frenzy over who succeeds Governor Hope Uzodinma in 2024. Already, many individuals, diaspora groups and organizations from the three senatorial districts of Imo East, Imo West and Imo North, are engaged in serious discussions on how to balance the problems caused by the Supreme Court judgement that deprived Owerri zone of their first attempt at a full term in office since Imo state was formed in 1976.
Imo East, also known as Owerri zone, has nine local councils, namely Owerri Municipal, Owerri North, Owerri West, Ikeduru, Mbaitoli, Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ezinihitte Mbaise and Ngor Opkala.
Imo West or Orlu zone, has 12 councils including, Isu, Njaba, Orlu, Nwangele, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ideato South, Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema, Orsu and Nkwere. The incumbent governor is from this zone.
Imo North, otherwise known as Okigwe zone, has the least number of local councils. They are Okigwe, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, Onuimo, Obowo and Ihitte Uboma.
In the current democratic dispensation, Imo West has produced Chief Achike Udenwa (1999- 2007), Imo North produced Chief Ikedi Ohakim (2007-2011), Imo west again produced Chief Rochas Okorocha (2011-2019), Imo East produced Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha who did a shortlived 7 months (2019-2020) and Imo West once again had Senator Hope Uzodinma (2020 till date) installed on the saddle, meaning that by the end of Uzodinma’s tenure, Imo West would have been on the saddle for 20 years.
The arrangement has led to agitation that the Owerri Zone (Imo East) remains the only zone in the state that has not produced even one full term governor since the military handed over political power to civilians and in fact since the creation of the state in 1976. Recall that the only times the zone had a, semblance of producing a governor were in1991 when the late Chief Evan Enwerem held office for a few months during the Ibrahim Babangida diarchy of the aborted Third Republic, and, the seven months of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha before he was removed by the Supreme Court.
Imo East (Owerri zone) has been cooperating with other zones in producing governors in the understanding that we are hosts, by virtue of having the state capital sited in our zone. The time is now ripe for Owerri zone to occupy the top seat in 2024 and the other two zones should graciously reciprocate past gestures and provide the necessary across party’s support required to achieve it conscientiously without rancour in the interest of equity fairness and justice. Imo wu nke anti nile, let’s keep it peaceful. Let men of integrity and conscience in all zones and across partisan lines come together to correct this anomaly and imbalance in our politics before the state is deluged by the centrifugal and centripetal forces working against it.
Duruebube Uzii na Abosi