Despite a court ruling, declaring Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, as the authentic candidate of the APC in the forthcoming Okigwe Senate byelection, the Hope Uzodinma anointed candidate, Mr. Frank Ibezim, have gone ahead in his campaign as the rightful candidate of the party, as the election draws closer.
Uzodinma has yet to acknowledge, or support Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, despite the court order, and indications show, that there are moves to back the candidate of other parties, should Ibezim not get a favorable appeal in the matter.
With the way things are playing out in Okigwe, the chances of APC winning the election becomes slimmer, as the electorates are being confused by the claims and counter claims from both “candidates”.
The discussion content of the visit by Uzodinma to Buhari yesterday, was believed amongst other things, to include the Okigwe Senate logjam.
During the time of Rochas Okorocha as governor, when he had not supported the APC candidate, late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu’s bid to unseat Chief Athan Achonu, Buhari had also ordered Okorocha to the Villa, after which Okorocha gave Uwajumogu, the full support he needed to execute and win the election.
A similar scenario is expected by political analysts, who believe that Uzodinma’s attitude towards Araraume may change after the meeting with Buhari.
Of course, Uzodinma would not be expected to state everything discussed, and during his interaction with State House correspondents, gave out the information the public needed to hear, but political analysts, observing the timing of the visit, and the closeness to the election date, are of the view that the primary discussion was centred on Okigwe Senate, an election the Presidency, because of the importance of Senators to it, is highly interested in.
However, Uzodinma faces some tough challenges depending on the outcome of the elections.
An Araraume victory, would be empowering his two worst enemies within the party, who could make his ability to get the party’s 2023 ticket very difficult for him.
Is the APC succeeds Buhari in office, and if the new president is more disposed to former governor Rochas Okorocha and Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Uzodinma may be shopping for a new party to run reelection from.
On the other hand, a PDP victory in the Okigwe Byelection, doesn’t make Uzodinma look good in the party, and makes 2023 very difficult for him, as Owerri zone and Okigwe zone, being in the control of the PDP will work against a divided Orlu zone, where Okorocha will not make it easy for Uzodinma to win.
APGA becomes a likely alternative, if the discussion with the President doesn’t invoke a change of attitude from the governor towards the party’s candidate.