Permutations within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Imo State ahead of the 2023 polls has begun, with pressure being mounted on leader of the party and former Governor of Imo State, Rt Hon.Emeka Ihedioha to dump Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi.
The former Governor, this newspaper gathered, is being advised by strategic stakeholders in the party “to reassess viable and workable political options before him concerning Owerri zone senatorial seat as a springboard to realize his 2023 guber bid”
Senator Onyewuchi represents Owerri zone in the Senate and Ihedioha was instrumental to his victory in the 2019 Owerri zone senatorial election. He also played a major role that led to Onyewuchi’s emergence as the PDP Owerri zone senatorial candidate.
Ihedioha, who is believed to be preparing a return to Government House, Owerri in 2023 after the Supreme Court had abruptly ended his reign as Governor of Imo State is said to be re tooling his political structure to aid his 2023 guber ambition.
The former Governor’s major political backbone is his Owerri zone, a zone which had voted overwhelmingly for him during the 2019 governorship election. He had garnered more than 120,000 votes from the zone alone, a major chunk of votes which aided him to brace the tape of victory in the guber election.
Senator Onyewuchi is believed to have leveraged on Ihedioha’s massive popularity in Owerri zone and his heroic status in Mbaise axis within the zone to equally to win the Owerri senatorial seat in 2019, overcoming stiff opposition from candidates of the APC and APGA.
However with changing dynamics in Owerri zone PDP and with the renewed interest of certain political gladiators in the contest, multiple sources in Imo PDP who spoke to INNONEWS, on condition of anonymity said Ihedioha has been advised “to seek for a more peoples oriented and a rooted grass-root politician in Owerri zone to clinch the PDP Owerri zone senatorial ticket in 2023 to aid him (Ihedioha) strengthen and consolidate PDP’s grip in the zone during the next elections”
Another source in the know of political undercurrents in Owerri zone PDP, said that the party cannot afford to gamble with its strongest and biggest support base in the State which is Owerri zone in 2023.
He said “Senator Onyewuchi is not on ground. He has been accused of being clannish, and these allegations are true because his representation has been lopsided. His support base in Owerri Federal Constituency is waning. His empowerment programmes are tailored to benefit his loyalists. Even Newspapers Editors in the State had rated him so low recently in their assessment
“Majority of the people in the zone are complaining and they are not benefiting from his representation except those who profess their loyalty to him.The PDP will need a more formidable and acceptable candidate in Owerri zone to aid the party maintain its grip in the zone, considering the fact that the APC will not rest on its oars and allow the PDP to take back Owerri zone senate seat
Already, there are strong indications that Senator Samuel Anyanwu may be warming up to contest Owerri zone senate on the platform of the PDP. He had represented the zone from 2015- 2019.
Anyanwu and Ihedioha are known to be political cat and mouse whose political hide and seek dates back to 2019, when Anyanwu vied for Imo PDP governorship ticket with Ihedioha. Though the rift between the duo still subsists, key chieftains of the PDP in Owerri zone say a reconciliation between them will make the PDP more formidable, not just in Owerri zone, but in the State.
Anyanwu is said to command some clout in the zone and a reconciliation with Ihedioha is believed,will aid the party significantly in Owerri zone.
Former Secretary to the Imo state Government, Hon Uche Onyeagocha, has also been tipped as a suitable alternative to Senator Onyewuchi for the PDP in 2023.
Onyeagocha, a former member of the House of Representatives and one time senatorial candidate in Owerri zone during his stay in the APC is a formidable politician respected for his political doggedness. He is respected in the party for being vocal and for maintaining his staunch opposition to the APC led government in the State.
“Onyeagocha is outspoken, fearless and rugged. Against a no nonsense, ruthless APC durng the 2023 elections, Onyeagocha is a perfect match for them if he flies the PDP flag for Owerri zone senate seat
“Ihedioha as leader of the party in the state and in the zone do have better options to work with in Owerri zone and the earlier he sees it, the better for him and his 2023 guber bid” the source told this newspaper.