THE All Progressives Congress , APC, has become the beautiful bride of Imo north political class going by the gale of political defections by the crème of heavyweight political actors from political parties like Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Alliance (AA) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), into its fold, unarguably due to the overwhelming success of the 2019 general election.
Some of the political heavyweights who have defected from AA, PDP and APGA in the past few months into APC includes the governorship candidate of APGA in the 2019 election, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, the former Deputy Governorship candidate of the AA, Rt. Hon. Acho Ihim, former secretary to Imo state Government, Engr. Mark Uchendu. Former PDP senatorial candidate, Chief Athan Achonu, former APGA House of Reps Candidate, Chief Chikwem Onuoha and many others.
The political prognosis for the current defections and political jostling within the APC point to the quest for the Imo North ticket of the party for the 2020 senatorial bye election which will be decided among the various contending interests during the upcoming primaries of the party.
Going by the character of the personalities involved, the Imo state Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma the National leader of the party, party elders and the party’s leadership at the state and National levels, including the president and the zonal leadership of the party surely have a lot of work in their hands.
Apart from these political heavyweights who are rumoured to have defected from other political parties to APC to contest the Imo north Senate election, there are other credible and party loyalists such as the former National Coordinator, Women For Change Initiative and blood sister to late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, Adanne Chidinma Uwajumogu who did not leave the party to anywhere but have kept faith with the party even in the face of political gang up and intimidation.
The story of late senator Benjamin Uwajumogu whose seat is being contested by these gladiators and her blood sister Chidinma Uwajumogu is that of Siamese twins or, better still, the snail and the shell. They are political soul mates. Their political relationship was said to have started immediately after the demise of their father, late Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu.
Before joining APC with the brother during the formative stage of the party, Chidinma Uwajumogu had operated at the highest level of politics including being the National Coordinator, Women For Change Initiative, a pet project of Dame Patience Jonathan that rallied and empowered women across the country. The political relationship between Benjamin Uwajumogu and Chidinma at the time senator Rochas Okorocha took over power in 2011 must have informed the decision to elect late senator Ben Uwajumogu, as the speaker of Imo state House of Assembly and latter as the senator for Imo north.
They worked together to win a second term for late senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, as well as, won a total of 18 court and tribunal cases to shut their opponents up and maintain dominance of their senatorial district. Whatever political direction late senator Ben as senator took, Chidinma as a worthy ally and a loving sister followed. But fate was to play some tricks in their destinies. It was not long after their victory at the Appeal court that Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu died in Abuja, while in active service for his party and nation.
Senator Ben’s death informed the need for family replacement in order to protect his legacies, as well as, actualize his dreams for the people of Imo north senatorial district and APC, the party he loved so much. The support Late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu got from her sister, Chidinma during the time the opposition rose against him in the Senate for staging a walk out on the leadership of the 8th Senate, in defence of his party and for refusing to dumb his party the APC for the senatorial ticket of APGA, is the same amount of attention his legacies are going receive if the sister Chidinma replaces him in the senate.
Chidinma’s popularity, doggedness, inputs and strong commitment to APC contributed in facilitating support for Late senator Uwajumogu while he was in the Senate and victory for APC during the Imo north senatorial election and to an extent garnered reasonable votes for the president in the 2019 presidential election.
Her commitment and party loyalty was on display for all to see after the party suffered major crisis in Imo state in 2018. While those presently jostling to be the party’s senatorial flagbearer were busy defecting from the party for the fresh aroma of political tickets, Chidinma Uwajumogu and his brother, senator Ben remained in APC. As a women of honesty, sacrifice and loyalty, Chidinma Uwajumogu stayed true to the values of the party even in the face of opposition onslaughts and political harassment by political gladiators who left APC for AA,PDP and APGA.
This is not in any way to downplay or trivialise the commitment or political integrity of the recent defectors; after all, some of these men and women were founding members of APC who helped its growth. In fact, these are men and women who at the risk of their political career and personal safety have not shied away from speaking against those in power They did not keep quiet in the face of the seeming abuse of power by the then governor of Imo state, senator Rochas Okorocha.
But to reward loyalty and put the party in a vintage position to defeat other parties and retain the Imo north senate seat, APC leadership must choose a candidate who has grassroots sympathy, support and core values as enshrined in the founding documents of the party which remains the guiding principle that helped in nurturing these men and women to withstand the political pressure from AA,PDP and APGA to defect.
As time ticks for the senatorial primaries for Imo north bye election, one is not naïve to think that it is going to be easy to choose one candidate among the array of qualified personalities who given the right environment for a free and fair election will defeat other parties and offer better leadership alternative for the people of Okigwe zone and Nigeria at large.
One of the core values party must consider when they vote for the party’s senatorial flagbearer for the 2020 Imo north senatorial election should be commitment to party ideals and genuine party loyalty which are the founding fathers’ guiding principles, as expressed in the lives and sacrifices of party icons such as President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, among others.
It is noteworthy to observe that some of the candidates jostling for the Imo north senatorial ticket of the APC are embodiment of these values; and Chidinma Uwajumogu is one of such. The former coordinator of Women For Change is a special breed grounded in core values of APC to which she has pitched her tent since its formation and remained till date. Chidinma Uwajumogu is one of the party’s senatorial aspirants who declared her interest publicly and has continued to crisscross the entire senatorial district to sell her candidacy. A woman not given to much fanfare and public spectacle, she remains a very credible replacement to complete her brothers term.
Imo north senatorial contest is akin to the biblical narrative of the prodigal son who got tired of staying under the protection of his father, asked to be given his own share of the family’s wealth. After being obliged, he wasted same in riotous living only to come back to his father in repentance asking for forgiveness. Expectedly, his father forgave him and threw a party to welcome him back into the family. But the elder son who has been dutiful and committed to the family business felt neglected and angered; but his father’s advice should be very instructive to all APC leaders and Members as they gear towards electing the party’s senatorial candidate. The father of the prodigal son consoled the elder brother and assured him that there was no need to be jealous for celebrating the return of his younger brother who was lost but found, since the family possession belongs to him. In other words, no need to be angry but rejoice that your brother is back and alive but all the family possession belongs to you as a reward for your commitment, sacrifice and loyalty.
Adanne Chidinma Uwajumogu represents that elder son who irrespective of the political twists and turns coupled with harassment refused to abandon the family (APC) business in search of personal benefits by defecting to AA or APGA. As APC primaries gets close, party elders, members and delegates should take a cue from the father of the prodigal son by rewarding late senator Benjamin and Chidinma Uwajumogu’s commitment, sacrifice and loyalty. Failure to do so will be a miscarriage of justice.
Emeka Eze writes from IMO state.