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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Imo: Uzodinma’s Loyalists Still In Dark Over Choice Of Running mate



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By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew, Owerri

Allies and associates in the camp of Governor Hope Uzodimma are in the dark over the governor’s choice of Running Mate ahead of the November 11 governorship election in Imo State.

Barely few months to the guber election, the choice of Running Mate to the Governor is shrouded in secrecy as Uzodimma is said to be keeping his choice very close to his chest.

Despite political grand-standing or eye service by some of his allies who desperately want the deputy governor position, there are no indications thus far on whom the governor intends to run with in the guber polls.

This is said to have unsettled those who profess to have Uzodimma’s ears and have committed so much to earn his confidence of to be his Running Mate.

The governor had shocked his political camp last week when he named his Works Commissioner, Mr.Ralph Nwosu, as a place holder for the position of Deputy Governor ahead of the guber election.

Prof Placid Njoku, the current deputy governor, is said to have been technically schemed out of the position, though there are strong indications that it is not all over for him.

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Some top politicians from Owerri zone are jostling for the number 2 position, which may be a mirage, as there is a growing consensus in the governor’s camp that his next running mate should come from Okigwe zone.

Some notable Okigwe leaders including some two very bigwigs in the APC in the State are alleged to be making a strong case for an Okigwe zone Deputy Governor.

“It is not the birthright of Owerri zone to be producing Running Mates or Deputy Governors to serving governors of the State.

“Some strong allies of the governor from Okigwe zone have joined the mix and nothing is certain until he (Uzodimma) makes the final pronouncement on his choice of Deputy” said a top level source who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Some group of loyalists of the governor from Owerri zone are also said to be pushing for the Speaker of the 10th State Assembly and not the Deputy governor to come from the zone.

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A source told our correspondent that a top party chieftain very close to the governor is championing the move and it is already gaining momentum in some “powerful quarters”

The source said “Some of the Members elect from Owerri zone in the State Assembly are very qualified to be Speaker of the 10th Assembly. The Speaker of the House is a more powerful position than a Running Mate or Deputy governor to the Governor.

“Owerri zone has consistently produced the Deputy Governors of the State and it has not in anyway enhanced the political development of the zone. Getting the Speaker-ship position is more useful and viable to Owerri zone than a mere Deputy Governor slot” the source stated.

Two members of the incoming 10th State Assembly, Hon Kanayo Onyemaechi, who is the Majority leader of the 9th Assembly and Hon Sam Otuibe, who won re election to the 10th Assembly from Ahiazu Mbaise, are two ranking members of the House capable of becoming Speaker.

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