From Princely Onyenwe, Abuja
Few days ago, Senator Samuel Anyanwu returned to Imo with a strong message of intent. Even though he didn’t categorically say it, but his actions spoke louder than words.
His reshuffling of his campaign organisation by appointing Hon. Ngozi Ogbu as its Director-General makes it clear that he is interested in slugging it out with his ‘perenial’ rival for the ticket of their Party for the governorship election later in 2023.
Given his current position in the NWC of the opposition Party, it would be delusional to dismiss his chances at securing the Party’s gubernatorial ticket. Samdaddy has as good a chance as Ihedioha.
However, what is debatable, is whether he has as bright a chance as Ihedioha in the main election. You know, it is one thing having control over the Party’s structure and another thing having the needed appeal and structure to win a general election. An opposition Party must put its best foot forward, if it must have a chance at displacing an incumbent.
Distinguished Senator Samuel Anyanwu is undoubtedly one of Imo’s biggest political exports and a very courageous and smart one at that. He has found a way to have a grip on his followers, that they seem willing to follow him wherever he leads them at any point in time.
Samdaddy as he is fondly called by his followers and admirers across Imo and Owerri zone in particular, has to his credit, as one who rose from the grassroots and has successfully maintained a strong political following from his Ikeduru local government area since early 2000s up till now. It is not many times that we see politicians rise from being local government chairpersons to becoming major national players. We can count on the tip of our fingers, how many, out of the thousands that have been LGA chairpersons who grew beyond that status since the inception of the Fourth Republic. Samdaddy is either lucky or responsible enough, or both, to be among this few.
However, in the past four years or so, the Ikeduru born politician has not had the best of political relationships with his friend, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, with whom, I suppose, he had enjoyed a cordial political association for more than a decade, having been members of the same PDP for two decades. This competition is expected among relatively young, passionate and ambitious politicians, and no one should begrudge either of the gentlemen of the right to seek to outdo the other in the political pingpong.
Since 2018 when the Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha got the best of his friend in the PDP gubernatorial primaries, then, to the failed attempt by the former Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to go back to the Senate, it appears there is a kind of undying desire to ‘retaliate’ over his defeat at the PDP primaries and the subsequent battles for the soul of the Party in Imo State, which climaxed in the eventual suspension and expulsion of the latter from the Party and the congress of the Party where Ihedioha asserted an “unbreakable” grip on the Party’s structure. However, a solid lifeline was thrown at the Samdaddy, when against the expectations of Imo Party leaders, the Rivers State governor, recommended him as the choice candidate for position of the National Secretary of the PDP.
While there are reports that Chief Ihedioha initially opposed this nomination, the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives was quick to soft pedal on his alleged opposition to Samdaddy’s nomination and threw his undivided support to ensure his emergence.
True to his character, the Mbutu born political strategist did not play some underhand games like some Imo politicians are wont to, by sponsoring anyone to buy the Party’s forms or to challenge his friend’s election, especially given that he had been earlier “expelled” from the Party by his ward, which expulsion was ratified by the State Executive Committee of the Party. Ihedioha had the option of having discreetly sponsored such an action, at least, to keep the PDP scribe on edge.
His Excellency Rt.Hon. Ihedioha have certainly garnered some enmity to himself over the past two decades and more of being in active partisan politics, but, no matter what anyone thinks about the Mbutu political strategist, you cannot deny the fact that no one, in present PDP, has as much appeal as he does with the masses. And if the PDP must be taken seriously, then, they must get their acts together and unite behind its best to stand any chance of wresting power from the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Samdaddy has an inalienable right to present himself for the plum job, but if I were him, I will put the Party’s interest ahead of my personal interests. It is more vital for the Party to win at the end than for an individual to win the internal Party wars and end up exposing the Party to another round of defeat, that might finally put a nail on the PDP’s coffin in Imo State, for the foreseeable future.
It might not also be out of place to ask Samdaddy to reciprocate Ihedioha’s gesture of support and faithfulness to him during the PDP national convention by halting his proposed onslaught for the Party’s gubernatorial ticket.
If I were Samdaddy, I will call to mind, the fact that, even though I dragged Ihedioha all the way to the Supreme Court over the 2019 gubernatorial primaries and also fought all the way to the Supreme Court to dissolve the State leadership of the PDP, Ihedioha resisted the urge to retaliate in equal measure, when, through the assistance of Wike, I was literally “imposed” on the Party in the State and the Southeast as the National Secretary of the Party.
It may not be an easy decision to reach, but if I were Samdaddy, I will have a meeting with my friend and explore ways to position the PDP better to have a good fighting chance for Imo governorship election.
LET GOOD JUDGEMENT PREVAIL!
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