BATTLE FOR IMO GOVT HOUSE HOTS UP … As governorship aspirants strengthen structures to hit the road

Following the release of the time table for the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), governorship hopefuls in Imo State have begun to make frantic efforts to establish their presence in the political space.
As at press time, not less than 20 candidates, covertly or overtly, have made known their intention to run for office of governor of Imo State next year.
And political parties have swung into action to beat the INEC decline this year to submit their respective candidates for the positions in contention.
Names already in the news for the race for Imo governorship include well known industrialist and chief executive of ABC Transport Plc, Mr. Frank Nneji, who is making his initial foray into politics, serial contestants Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Humphrey Anumudu, financial expert Stanley Amuchie incumbent deputy governor Eze Madumere, US based Okey Ezeh, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, former Gov. Ikedi Ohakim and Ugwumba Uche Nwosu.
Others are federal legislator Tony Nwulu, Speaker Acho Ihim, Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Deacon Chike Okafor and Uche Onyeagocha.
Analysts believe that more will show up as the incumbent was on the last lap of his 2nd term and so the field is open to the toughest and luckiest.
Meanwhile, reports say that incumbent Gov. Rochas Anayo Okorocha has endorsed Stanley Amuchie, little known in the political circle, as his anointed successor, quite to the consternation of his allies.
Amuchie is expected, therefore, to emerge as the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the plum job, going by the fact that Gov. Okorocha wields tremendous influence in the party.
Amuchie, from Aboh Mbaise, is from Owerri Zone which has consistently clamored for the seat of government, citing the unwritten charter of equity in Imo politics that permits rotation among the  three senatorial districts of Okigwe,  Orlu and Owerri.
A political analyst, Mr. Brendan Okpala, however, said that all of the governor’s strategies may not have been exposed.
According to him, the governor, as a strategist, may be having some hidden plans and could have chosen Amuchie, kinsman of his archrival Emeka Ihedioha, to destabilize Ihedioha’s support base.
But James Ojinaka, a teacher who also spoke to our correspondent, said that what Imo wants is a responsive and responsible governor who would have been well grounded in administration rather than clannish politics.
According to him, the people would be able to escape further mistakes only when they are able to examine the antecedents of the candidates that finally emerge at party levels.
“But first and foremost, the electorate must arm themselves with their most important weapon which is their voters card”, he said.
Ojinaka insisted that the Imo electorate should grab the opportunity of the extended period of registration to register every eligible voter and for the voters to turn out in their large numbers, come 2019, to elect their favourite.
He recalled the saying of a one-time American president that “when the government fears the people, it is democracy, but when the people fear the government, it is tyranny.”