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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Ministerial Slot: Imo APC Chieftains Relocate To Abuja – Uzodinma To Make Case For Owerri Zone



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By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew, Owerri
As President Bola Tinubu gears up to constitute his cabinet, Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma is said to be poised to nominate an indigene of Owerri Zone to take up the ministerial slot meant for the state.
This has led to the unwarranted relocation of some APC Chieftains in the state to Abuja, lobbying within the presidential Villa.
A very reliable source at the Government House, Owerri who pleaded anonymity confided that barring any unforeseen event, the person to represent Imo State in the Federal Executive Council will come from Owerri Zone.
Recall that Owerri Zone already has the sitting Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, the Deputy Governorship Candidate, Mrs. Nnenna Ekomaru as well as the State Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Macdonald Ebere,
The source further confided that the state governor, Senator Uzodimma, who will play a major role in the nomination of the candidate for the ministerial slot of the state, is desirous of sweeping the November 11, 2023 Governorship Election in Owerri Zone.
But observers said this development is against the sharing template for elective and appointive political offices in the state.
The template is that once the governor and his deputy hail from any two of the three zones, the third zone produces the speaker of the state legislature and the occupant of the ministerial slot allotted to the state.
This obtained in the Muhammadu Buhari era when Emeka Nwajiuba from Okigwe Zone was appointed Minister of State (Education) after Owerri and Orlu zones had the governor and deputy governor respectively.
Nwajiuba retained his seat after the table turned in January 2020 when Orlu upstaged Owerri to produce governor with a deputy governor from Owerri Zone.
It was only in the build-up to the presidential election when Nwajiuba chose to try his hands at clinching the presidential diadem that the ministerial slot was ceded to Orlu Zone.
Keen observers still wondered why Governor Uzodimma from Orlu Zone, who clearly nominated Goodluck Nana Opiah did not replace Nwajiuba with another Okigwe Zone person, or even someone from Owerri Zone.
Surprisingly again, speculation is rife that mainly people from Owerri and even Orlu zones are being considered for nomination for Imo’s ministerial slot.
A report in one Owerri-based newspaper insinuated that a shortlist of five persons had been drawn from which one person would be forwarded to the president for appointment.
Indigenes of Owerri Zone whose names are being bandied about are Chief Theodore Ekechi, a former commissioner in the state and erstwhile member of the North East Development Commission, NEDC; Bede Eke, a former member of the state legislature and House of Representatives; Prince Alex Mbata, the Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 National Assembly poll and Henry Nwawuba, a former two-time member of the House of Representatives.
Both Eke and Nwawuba just recently cross-carpeted to the APC after losing the tickets of their party- People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to stage a comeback to the National Assembly.
APC chieftains say nominating the duo for the ministerial slot would jeopardize party loyalty.
According to the party chieftains, Eke and Nwawuba should first get acquainted with party rules before being nominated for either elective or appointive positions.
They insist the duo have not stayed long enough to know the internal dynamics of the APC or even help in building the party.
The party top brass also maintain that people like the immediate past Minister of State (Education), Goodluck Nana Opiah and Ralph Nwosu, Commissioner for Works, Imo State should not be nominated being indigenes of Orlu Zone which has the governorship seat at present.
The party chiefs also reacted to the proposition of having a ministerial nominee from Orlu Zone to guard against the zone losing out in the event that the zone fails to win the November Governorship Election in the state.
They urged those with such proposition to desist from behaving like men of little faith.
According to the party lords, all machineries had been set in motion to ensure that Orlu serves another four years through Gov Uzodimma whose superlative performance in his first term has convinced Imolites to give him a second term.

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