By Innocent Onyeukwu
A writer’s evaluation of those jostling for the governorship position in Imo State come 2015:
Incumbent Governor, resilient, focused and unpredictable. An old guard politician that has moved his aspiration to the masses.
STRENGTH: Incumbency factor, placed emphasis and attention on non elites who vote at elections. Set a class war in the political landscape making the locals more prominent to injure the feeling of the elites who rig elections.A roaring ambition with a fierce passion to succeed.
ODDS: A downward slide in popularity and acceptance. Has a Herculean task to subdue the opposition.
RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDOHA
Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, three- time representative for Ngor-Okpala/Aboh Mbaise Federal Constituency. Number Six citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Intimidating political profile backed with an unyielding political orientation.
STRENGTH: An astute politician, firm, decisive and unrepentant about his ambition. His greatest strength is enormous resources to prosecute a governorship campaign. Has a vast political network across the State and beyond.
ODDS: Acceptability across the State is limited, mainly faulted for focusing dividends of democracy in his Mbaise clan, easily resorts to political bickering with friends and foes even when it is unnecessary.
Member, representing Mbaike Constituency in the House of Representatives. Four-Time legislator, First Vice President, Pan Africa Parliament and later, President. A serious contender for the governorship race, quietly built bridges of political friendship of like minds across the State.
STRENGTH: A major contender for Imo guber seat, well connected to certain political forces in the country. Calm, talks little and has little or no time for political razzmatazz, triple factors which make his opponents unable to know his backbone.
ODDS: Ought to improve his acceptability ratio across the State and permeate more into the grassroots.
Former Governor of Imo State, aggressive, known for deft political moves and touches. Yet to officially declare to contest, but his ambition will change the colouration of the governorship race. Enjoys limited” political sympathy” after he said his private home was attacked.
STRENGTH: An existing political structure and army of political loyalists, though with huge limitations and little political value. Tireless and posses an unwavering determination to achieve set targets and goals.
ODDS: Has to work extra hard to convince Imoltes why he has to return as governor a second time within four years. Loquacious and will contend with divided acceptance by the elites and non elites in the State.
Lawyer and businessman, apostle of Injustice, playing the sympathy card to attract support from Imolites after he was persuaded to handover the PDP governorship ticket in 1999 to Achike Udenwa in line with Imo Charter of Equity.
STRENGTH: Sympathy votes will stroll his path if he picks the PDP governorship ticket. Patience and persistent are his backbone.
WEAKNESS: Ought to move away from sympathy brand of politicking. Should develop a new image to portray his capacity to govern the State if elected into office.
High flying businessman, international Auditor, philanthropist. Young with sharp ideas and articulate. Represents the new generation of politicians with the passion to serve the people of Imo State.
STRENGTH: Capacity to deliver if elected.
ODDS: Victim of greenhorn factor in Imo politics, must move his aspiration to the people.
Two -Time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, dogged, no nonsense politician. Full of determination and never say die spirit. Another sympathy aspirant playing the sympathy card having suffered injustice in 2006 in PDP. Experienced, dogged and determined politician. Focused and has some considerable level of public acceptance.
STRENGTH: Determination and unwavering desire to govern Imo State.
ODDS: Excessive attention on political bickering and unnecessary political battles.
KEN NJEMANZE, SAN
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, brilliant with good ideas for a better Imo State. Leads the calibre of Imo politicians with new style and approach to politics.
STRENGTH: Credible, untainted and focused.
ODDS: Hunted by the greenhorn factor in politics and should drive his aspiration to the grassroots.
Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Controversial, rugged and determined. Driven by fiery ambition to be Governor of Imo State. Built vast political network comprising loyalists across the State.
STRENGTH: Deep pockets and ability to expend it, a political schemer with deft political moves
ODDS: Questions bordering on his integrity, unacceptability problems especially in some areas in the State. Belongs to the old guard of Imo politicians. A die hard approach to Politics.
Businessman, consistent and serial governorship aspirant. Conservative and has some level of political pedigree in his Owerri Zone.
STRENGTH: Consistency and keeping faith that he will be governor of Imo State, a serial governorship aspirant, always ready to join the contest in every political dispensation
ODDS: little known outside his political zone, Owerri, Has a clumsy approach to his aspiration and seen most times as one who declares to contest just to make up the number of aspirants.
An intellectual, represents the new generation of Imo politicians with the required academic qualification to govern the State. A good political player who has effectively combined politics and pursuit for academic excellence.
STRENGTH; One time Commissioner, former Vice Chancellor, FUTO, his major asset is his political acumen and good relationship with those that matter. ODDS: Little known outside his political zone, Owerri, gentle for the rough political terrain in the State.
Sailor, former Minister of Interior. Rich, brilliant, articulate with sound ideas. His message to give massive employment to jobless youths in the State has elicited interest from wide segment of Imolites. Has moved his aspiration to be a major contender for the guber seat. STRENGTH: Effective grassroots mobilization and good followership across the State. ODDS: The elites say he is brash and to an extent arrogant. Too many political skirmishes with political friends and foes.
Distinguished two time senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Well connected to the high and mighty in the country, brilliant, exposed and dynamic. Posses the right qualities to be a Governor. STRENGTH: Ability to overcome tough political battles, determined and has her desire for economic empowerment of the masses.
ODDS; Gender is her major undoing in a male dominated society like Imo. Lacks political goodwill in other zones coupled with limited resources to prosecute a capital intensive governorship campaign.
Serial Governorship Aspirant, a major contender. Has considerable political goodwill across the State.
Can leverage on the ordeal of his younger sibling and former Deputy Governor, Jude, who was framed up for stealing public funds by Rochas Government, to get sympathy votes.
STRENGTH; Aggressive, never say die mentality, and experienced.
ODDS; Boring ambition ,inability to weave support from other zones, confrontational especially with the elites and vindictive approach to unseat the incumbent.
Little known but has made considerable in road in the political landscape of the State.
STRENGTH: Comes from one of the marginalized LGAs in the State, oil rich Ohaji/Egbema LGA. Can play the sympathy song to attract consideration for his ambition.
ODDS: No political taproot, afflicted by greenhorn factor in Imo politics.
A political war horse with years of political experience. Maintains cordial political relationship with the political elites.
Former Chairman, defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, for nine years in Imo State, Resigned when ANPP merged to form APC.
STRENGTH: Good political relationship with the elite class, accessible and unwilling to join the bandwagon of politicians who easily flock to the ruling party.
ODDS: little resources to prosecute an expensive governorship campaign.
Philanthropist, dogged and full of adrenaline to succeed. Successfully built an effective political network across the State to boost his aspiration.
STRENGTH: Age, vigour and determination to succeed count on his side.
ODDS: Hunted by greenhorn factor, little known by the elites and non elites and the voting population. Considered a beginner that needs more political tutelage.