Duncan Odey, Owerri
Ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in Imo State, Reports say tension within the rank and file of the PDP in Imo State just days before the March 9 governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
According to an insider who requested to remain anonymous, tensions are rising between PDP leaders and members in Imo State loyal to Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate, and elements of the party structure loyal to Emeka Ihedioha, the party’s governorship candidate in Imo State.
Emeka Ihedioha reportedly got in the bad books of Atiku for not supporting his presidential bid and for backing that of Aminu Tambuwal. After Atiku succeeded in picking the party’s ticket, Ihedioha tried to make amends but that didn’t prove very successful, it was said.
Ihedioha is also being blamed for the quantum votes APC got in Imo State in the just concluded presidential election. The source points out that even in Anambra, where Governor Obiano openly backed Buhari, APC was only able to get about thirty thousand votes as compared to the comparatively large number the PDP won in Imo State.
The source said that APC’s performance in Imo State “proved that either Ihedioha still did not fully back Atiku in the election or that he is not the vote-getter he claims to be. That’s why we fear that, like 2015, he might again take us all down with him in this election”.
When asked what they will gain by not backing Ihedioha in the governorship election, the source said that “one of the other governorship candidates we are considering backing has promised to decamp to PDP once he wins the election. And we trust him more than we trust Ihedioha.”. The source, however, refused to name the candidate when pressed to do so. He did emphasise that Hope Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu “are not and can never be in consideration.”
The PDP in Imo State has a history of not backing its governorship candidate since the party won that office with Achike Udenwa in 2003, sixteen years ago. In 2007, PDP abandoned Ararume and backed Ikedi Ohakim and he won. In 2011, PDP abandoned Ohakim and backed Rochas Okorocha and he won. In 2015, it was said that had PDP fully backed Ihedioha, he would have defeated Okorocha, especially given that he had abandoned the APGA and decamped to an APC that was very unpopular in Imo State.
From the latest disaffection amongst leaders and members of PDP in Imo State, it remains to be seen if there would be a repeat of the party working against itself in the governorship poll as it had done in the past, at the risk of costing it another election.