As a man with immense legislative and execute experience spanning 16 years, Ihedioha truly understands where the shoe pinches the Imo people.
It is not a mere coincidence that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha are the People’s Democratic Party’s flag bearers in Nigeria and Imo State respectively. Atiku as Vice President brought Ihedioha to national political limelight when he appointed him as one of his Special Assistants. Ihedioha later rose to become the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Although Atiku later left the PDP as a result of injustice and impurity of that time, Ihedioha stayed and fought from within. Although the young man did not make it in 2015 governorship election, he remained resolute, faithful and prayed for the return of his master to PDP.
That prayer was answered when Atiku not only returned to the PDP but won the presidential primaries in a free and fair contest in Port-Harcourt. Ihedioha had earlier defeated Senator Samuel Anyanwu to emerge PDP’s governorship candidate in Imo State. There is no doubt that an Atiku’s Presidency will favour Imo greatly on account of Ihedioha’s personal relationship with the former number two man in Nigeria.
Indeed, ever since Atiku clinched the PDP’s ticket, there has been wild jubilation and expectation in Imo because they believe that the time has come for the liberation of Nigeria and Imo State from the clutches of misguided governance, nepotism and crass incompetence.
To make matters easier for the PDP not only in Imo but the entire South East, Atiku chose as a running mate, Mr. Peter Obi, the former Anambra State governor who actually is Mr. Integrity. Obi, it should be recalled, raised the bar in accountability and prudence when he left a whopping N75 billion for his successor. Unlike our current president who claims not to be corrupt, but tolerates the corrupt around him, Obi ran an efficient government that eliminated wastages. He led by an example.
Therefore, for Atiku to have gone for Obi means that the former Vice president wants to clean up Nigeria and restore the hope of foreign investors in the country. As recently admitted by no less a person than the current Finance Minister, Buhari’s economic policies are hurting the people. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo also acknowledged that what Nigeria needs now is a strong economic team to rescue her from poverty and underdevelopment.
Surely that economic team can be found in the duo of Atiku and Obi who have successfully managed businesses that are thriving and who also have done their best in the economic development of the nation. Unlike Buhari and his Vice, Atiku and Obi are coming fully prepared. They have the required experience. They have a track record of service. Above all, they understand the problems of Nigerians because they have been there.
During the Obasanjo/Atiku Presidency, insurgency was not a threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria. During the time of Peter Obi in Anambra State, insecurity was drastically curbed to the extent that Anambra emerged one of the safest states in Nigeria. In other words, they have the practical experience to tackle both the economy and insecurity which are at the heart of Nigeria’s problems currently.
It follows, therefore, that this presidential ticket is the best so far after the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket of 1999. The ticket is also salutary to Ndigbo who have been marginalized since 2015 by the Buhari’s government. Appointments and projects have been skewed against the Igbos such that no Igbo man is commanding any of the military and paramilitary organizations in Nigeria.
When Imo people came out to vote him out in 2015, the governor employed instruments of coercion to subvert the will of the people. That loss plunged Imo into political darkness which the people are still battling to free themselves from.
Fortunately, fate has brought Ihedioha back as the candidate of PDP. Since the man who claimed to have come on a rescue mission has succeeded in taking the state hostage, only a PDP government led by Emeka Ihedioha can recover the years the locusts have eaten. As a man with immense legislative and execute experience spanning 16 years, Ihedioha truly understands where the shoe pinches the Imo people.
Beyond that, Emeka Ihedioha understands the dynamics of governing a complex state like Imo, especially in offering them a democratic space within which to express themselves unlike those who believe they possess the monopoly of knowledge. Again, he will be his own man, not answerable to a supreme Emperor and not held hostage by political buccaneers. As a man who has lived with the people, the PDP standard bearer in Imo is best suited to offering them participatory governance with the embedded democracy dividends.
It was the Holy Book that talked of times and seasons. Atiku proved his mettle in 2007, but it was not time for him to be president. Now, all the signs point to Atiku’s Presidency in 2019. Emeka Ihedioha actually won the 2015 governorship election in Imo, but his mandate was stolen. He also has a date with 2019.
Their ascendancy to power will benefit Nigerians and Imo people tremendously. It is their time to save the floundering ship of governance and anchor it successfully to the glory of God.
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Egbunine writes from Owerri