In few weeks from now, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) will formally lift the ban on campaigns. The coast will now become clear for political parties to embark on full scale political marketing to sell their candidates.
The general awareness and awakening of the masses and the unfolding issues around the 2023 general election is instigating palpable fear among political parties and their candidates whose stock in trade is to ascend to power through underhand voting manipulation, incumbency overbearance, vote buying, thuggery and all other manners of political ghaghaghaness that characterized past elections in Nigeria.
It has however been established that the people of Owerri zone have made a firm resolution to take their destinies into their own hands by utilizing the benefits of new amendment of the Electoral Law which hinges on digital transmission of election results, to ensure that their votes count and their desired choice of candidate emerges.
One strand that runs through the people’s sentiments is that they have opted for a paradigm shift from the old order, where politicians who have had various political appointments without any visible or verifiable performance indices will be rejected, to a new paradigm where capacity, character, standupish and standoffish abilities and the will to fight for the zones political relegation by candidates will be the major criteria for winning over the people.
It is based on these yardsticks that the people have rejected the candidature of some party flag bearers.
Those politicians who win elections but are never declared winners due to high level of result falsification, those who the electorates hold in high esteem for their sincerity and burning passion to salvage the people from political relegation , should be upbeat to face the political contest with determination and enthusiasm based on the prevailing paradigm shift.
The fatiqued people of Imo East Senatorial District, otherwise known as Owerri Zone, are now more resolved, determined and unrelenting in ensuring that a non hand picked, non recycled, strategic, standupish, standoffish candidate with passion for rural infrastructural growth and development of the zone emerges the next Senator.
At various fora, meetings and organized events, the people of the zone have continued to make critical assessment of the candidates of various political parties, placing them in categories of serious contenders, pretenders and those in the race for showmanship and self aggrandizement.
Among the candidates in view are Chief Alex Mbata, popularly called ABM, a billionaire business man and the candidate of All Progressive Congress Party (APC).
ACCORD flaunts a technocrat and well known political figure in Owerri Zone and Imo State in general, Mike Nwachukwu.
Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi formerly of the PDP, quickly grabbed the ticket of Labour Party having lost the PDP Primary election to Hon. Uche Onyeagucha.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) parades Hon Uche Onyeagocha as its standard bearer for Imo East Senatorial District election, just as All Progressive Grand Alliance Party (APGA) will be represented In the contest by a business tycoon lawyer, Barr. Chyma Anthony .
Others include Major General (Rtd.) Austin Egwuagu for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Mr. Kelechi Njemanze who holds the ticket of Action Peoples Party (APP) among other candidates.
Going by independent findings and feedback from the good people of Imo East Senatorial District, the chances of success of any of the above listed candidates, will be subjected by the people to a local SWOT analysis and will be directly related to their character, verifiable antecedents, and their percieved proper understanding of the peculiar and general needs of the people.
The insistence by the people that the next senator of the zone must meet the above criteria is a direct result of excruciating suffering of the people owing to infrastructural deficit and total absence of federal government presence in the Zone despite years of representation at the federal house and the Senate.
The rising complaints of under-representation is sure to knock out the incumbent Senator for the Zone, Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi from consideration. He is seeking a return to the Red Chamber on the platform of Labour Party having been defeated by Hon Uche Onyeagucha at the PDP primary elections.
Although the Senator had represented Owerri federal constituency for 8 years as a member of the House of Representatives and now as a serving Senator of the entire zone, he has done very little or nothing to enhance the quality of lives of the people. In fact, most of the entire zone aside from his close supporters and followers are agreed on this fact.
Pathetically, they describe the mandate they gave to him and his years of reign as “wasted and deceitful years of the proverbial locust”, they say he is reputed for window dressing and vague empowerment with clippers, hair dryers and branded chinese tricycles (Keke) and unservicable generators.
Also as alleged, the difficulty in assessing his Orji country home from Orji junction due to impassable road network, according to his people, is a strong indication of abandonment and neglect of the overall road infrastructure in the nine Local Government Areas of Owerri Zone which he represents.
Even his own people commended the Peoples Democratic Party, his former political party, for denying him ticket and chided his quick defection to ride on the back of Peter Obi”s Labour Party as a ploy that will completely crash. His time, his people say, is over.
The All Progressive Congress Party (APC) candidate, Prince Alex Mbata, has also been mentioned among those who will not get the people’s mandate. He is widely viewed as a candidate handpicked and selected by the governor and foisted on owerri zone against the better judgement of the people. He is being viewed as a candidate who is desperate to buy over the people and not to convince them of his ability to represent them. The people of the zone have expressly stated that the Zone needs a man of strong character, deep intellect, with a streak of activism, knowledgeable, standupish and standoffish, with proven capacity of legislative understanding, and not a self serving, self acclaimed money bags.
Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber should be a gathering of men of substance and class who deploy lofty virtues such as wit, diplomacy, intellectual power to deliberate the appropriation of national wealth and negotiate acruables to the their zones.
Owerri zone being a politically marginalised and relegated zone cannot afford not to have a very strong, upfront, standupish, standoffish and battle ready figure as senator to represent the zone.
It is therefore clear that the people of Owerri Zone are embittered and enamoured with bad representation and have vowed to vote out recycled, handpicked, selected and unqualified candidates of the major political parties.
The 2023 Owerri Zone Senatorial election will surely be an interesting exercise.
Next edition, we shall settle down to analyse the other candidates and x-ray where they stand in the eyes of the good, the bad and the ugly people of Owerri Zone.
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