By Ken Igwe
Despite serious complaints that it has been marginalized in the power alchemy of Imo State, Owerri Zone (Imo East Senatorial Zone) has lacked a coordinated effort to produce the governor of the state. And this anomaly has been the prevalent factor that has denied it the number one seat of the state in previous attempts. It has left other zones – Orlu and Okigwe zones – to occupy the governorship seat persistently.
Since democracy berthed in Nigeria in 1999, no one from Owerri zone has become the Imo State governor. A charter of equity – an unsigned agreement to rotate the office of the governor of the state among the three zones in the state- has become useless and ineffectual. It has been flagrantly disobeyed.
By 2019, Orlu zone where the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha, comes from would have done 16 years in power. Neighbouring Okigwe zone which produced Ikedi Ohakim as governor from 1997- 2011 still lament over an uncompleted tenure. Ohakim sought for a re- election in 2011 but was defeated in the polls.
The year 2019 therefore offers another opportunity for Owerri zone to produce the state governor. But lack of division among the political class fueled by individual political interests has been the undoing of the zone and its political elite.
A former Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, a son of the zone, lost his bid to defeat Okorocha in 2015 polls. There were reports that he was sabotaged by his kinsmen who voted for Okorocha.
The next election in 2019 has once again re-awakened the consciousness of the political elite in the zone to produce the next governor. But again those creeping factors that have always stunted the realization of the project are very manifest fueling speculations that it may be a wild goose chase again.
The zone has an array of political gladiators who can defeat even an incumbent governor. But it is stifled not only by lack of unity of purpose but a rising dissent why the same set of politicians who have failed to achieve the purpose for the zone in the past are the ones in the frontline of the agitation again.
Some political pundits argue that the political class in Owerri zone remains the same and for the zone to have a new beginning there should be new political actors that will drive the political intent and purposes of the zone.
Lamenting and murmuring over its political marginalization cannot fetch it the governorship seat of Imo State. Power, they say is not given but taken, Owerri zone must wake up from its slumber, put its house in order and fight for a cause it believes in.