Sunday, May 1, 2011

Imo State Supplementary Poll: Ohakim Meets Araraume

Indications emerged yesterday that Imo State governor Ikedi Ohakim of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) met the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, to forget their differences and lend his support to him in Friday’s supplementary poll.

Both Ohakim and Araraume hail from the same community but different villages. While Senator Araraume hails from Ishiebu, Ohakim is from neighbouring Okohia in Isiala-Mbano local government area of the state.

Worried by the threat the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Owelle Rochas Okorocha, has posed to his re-election bid, Ohakim is said to have stormed the country home of Araraume in company of some PDP chieftains and a few traditional rulers in the state in a bid to muster more votes for the election.

The commander of the 36th Artillery Brigade at Obinze (names withheld) was said to have also escorted the governor on the visit, though it was unclear whether his role was restricted to providing security.

Araraume, who initially was not disposed to welcoming the governor to his home, soft-pedaled, following a passionate plea by some elders of the community.

Details of their talks were sketchy as they met behind closed-doors.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had last Thursday rescheduled elections in Egbema, Ngor Okpalla, Mbaitaoli, Oguta as well as Orji ward in Owerri North local government, following the inconclusive nature of the April 26 guber poll that drew confusion in the state.

Unofficial results indicate that Okorocha is leading in in 12 of the 27 LGAs, while Ohakim trailed in 11. APGA  chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, puts the votes at 299,254 votes and 281, 365 votes for Ohakim’s PDP.
Araraume is being courted by Ohakim following the belief that whoever the strongman of Imo politics supported, would carry the day.

Ohakim is said to be trying to make amends with some chieftains in the state believed to hold the ace in the politics of the state.

Araraume, who was believed to have won the governorship election in 2007, was dislodged by Ohakim when he defected to the ruling PDP from the Progressive Peoples Allaiance (PPA), which he rode on to assume the governorship of Imo State in 2007.

Months ago, the state and the media were abuzz as to how Ohakim had allegedly crippled the political empire of Araraume after a celebrated defection of former political allies loyal to him to the governor’s camp. Araraume later dumped the PDP for the ACN after the alleged hijack of the party by the governor.

But, the politics in the state made it lose a ministerial seat, following a protest by the governor of the political inclination of a former minister for interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho (rtd). The governor had accused him of anti-party activities.

When contacted, the political adviser to the governor, Mr. Rex Anunobi, denied knowledge of the meeting. “I am not aware of the meeting and I cannot make any comment on the issue,” he said.
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