The leadership of Orlu and Owerri Elders’ Councils in a meeting they held yesterday 19th November, 2018, at the Owerri residence of Chairman of Orlu Elders’ council, Prof F.C Dike (SAN), expressed dismay at the attitude of the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Imo state, for the 2019 election, Chief Emeka Ihedioha for refusing to honour the invitation of Owerri Elders’ Council and Owerri Peoples Assembly, aimed at streamlining sensitive political issues in the interest of peace, harmony and mutual co-existence and for also not consulting Orlu Elders Council before choosing his running mate, Hon Gerald Irona, who incidentally hails from Oguta LGA also in Orlu zone.
In his opening speech, Prof Dike recalled that at the last meeting of the two groups, a short while ago, they resolved that Owerri and Okigwe zones should put heads together and present credible governorship candidates with proven track records because Orlu zone is not interested in the governorship position, come 2019 and that the deputy governorship position be ceded to Orlu zone. He then asked Barr Sam Obaji who led the Owerri delegation, on behalf of the Chairman, Mr Pascal Dozie, who was unavoidably absent how far they have gone in their search, and if their agreement still stands.
Chief Obaji thanked Orlu Elders Council for their honesty and sincerity of purpose and stated that, “We invited the aspirants of the various political parties and told them of our discussion and what we resolved. Some honoured our invitation and signed undertakens to work with Orlu, Owerri and Okigwe Elders Councils, but some refused to sign while some did not honour our invitation. But generally, our meeting with them did not yield desired result”. We therefore decided to wait till after the date for substitution of candidates on December 2nd, 2018”.
Barr Obaji, however assured that though nomination of candidates of political parties is presently inconclusive, the agreement with Orlu and Okigwe Elders Councils still stands and will be adhered to.
The Secretary of Orlu Elders’ Council, Prof. Protus Nathan Uzorma said, “it is unfortunate and an obvious sign of insubordination for a candidate or aspirant from Owerri zone to shun the invitation of Owerri Elders’ Council, because, if eventually such a person emerges, we will still be subjected to the same problems and challenges for which we gathered here today. Therefore, such a person is unworthy and does not deserve the support of any of the zones”.
Chief (Sir) Ejike Uche (Dimkpasaa) responding to Hon Amaechi Nwoha’s question, said, inspite of all the shenanigans and rigma roles presently playing out on the political scene, the utterances of desperate vote and favour seeking politicians, Orlu Elders’ Council has not withdrawn or changed their stand on Imo governorship position in 2019, as left for Owerri and Okigwe zones to decide who occupies it.
Rt. Hon. Amaechi Nwoha, erstwhile legislator for Nwangele state constituency and former Speaker of the Imo state House of Assembly noted that though Orlu had earlier said that they are not interested in producing the next governor of the state but, “all APC governorship aspirants have adopted a candidate from Orlu zone while the only person who did not adopt that candidate is also from Orlu zone, where then does that leave us”.
At the end of deliberations, Orlu Elders’ Council, through the Chairman, Prof Dike concurred with what Dimkpasaa said and averred that Owerri and Okigwe zones should make haste to produce governorship candidates out of which most credible will be chosen and supported while the deputy governorship slot should be ceded to Orlu zone. “Though, it is the prerogative of the governorship candidate to choose his running mate, we insist that we should be consulted before the choice is made on our behalf. Orlu Elders’ Council is not partisan. Our interest is good, purposeful and people oriented governance for Imolites”.