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By Ogu Bundu Nwadike, M.A

It all began in Mbaitoli LGA on Thursday January 10, 2019 at the playground of St. Mary’s Primary School, Ubomiri. A little over one month after,  precisely on Tuesday February 12, 2019, the Imo PDP LGA Campaign rallies came to a glorious end on a serious note of victory in view.

The rally train roared through each and every one of the 27 LGAs in Imo State, including in no particular order, Nwangele, Nkwerre, Isu, Njaba, Oru East, Ohaji-Egbema, Oguta, OruWest, Orsu, Orlu, Ideato North, Ideato South, IsialaMbano, Ehime Mbano, Ihitteuboma, Obowo, Okigwe, Onuimo, Ahiazu, Ezinihitte, AbohMbaise, NgorOkpala, Mbaitoli, Owerri West, Owerri North, and finally, Owerri Municipal Council.

In each LGA, with the aim of reaching critical stakeholders in each LGA, the rallies were broken into three major segments viz consulting the traditional rulers in the LGA, interacting with the critical leaders and stakeholders in the LGA Inna Town Hall meeting, and addressing the crowd at each rally ground.

In summary, the message of Imo PDP Campaign Council was that Imo State has been disorganized by a bad leader with his bad leadership style. And Imo PDP has offered to liberate Imo people and rebuild Imo State through the instrumentality of their gubernatorial candidate, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. EmekaIhedioha, CON, KSC, his running-mate, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, together with the 3 Senate candidates, 10 House of Representatives candidates and 27 Imo House of Assembly candidates. Total of 41 candidates!

On other hand, also in summary, the traditional rulers, the critical leaders and stakeholders in all the LGAs assured the leaders of Imo PDP of total support by massively voting for them in the general elections.

Of course, the Imo PDP leaders and candidates led by Barr. Charles Ezekwem and Rt. Hon. EmekaIhedioha, made the people of Imo State a lot of promises that were hinged on the restoration of so much that were disorganized, demolished or outrightly destroyed by the expiring governor. The Imo PDP promises include but are not limited to the provision of free, qualitative education; good quality healthcare delivery with free healthcare for the vulnerable classes in the society (pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children under 5 years and elderly people over 65 years).

Also, they promised to restore the flow public water supply; public electricity suppy; job and wealth creation through revolutionized mechanized agriculture and industrialization; repositioning the civil service with the local government system and ensuring the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and retirees pensions as and when due. 

One of the most exciting promises by the Imo PDP Campaign Council was the granting of autonomy to the local government system and the conduct of the Local Government elections within the year 2019. Also, they promised the implementation of the Freedom of Information Law, together with according respect to rule of law, due process and procedure.

Another spectacular promise by the Imo PDP Campaign Council was the granting of autonomy to the legislative arm of government, where State legislators would be given free hand to determine the laws required for the State at each point in time and for identifiable purposes.

Ordinarily, somebody may wonder how all this will be implemented and think of whether it won’t be business as usual as it was with the expiring failed regime. But the standard bearer of Imo PDP, Rt. Hon. EmekaIhedioha has severally reassured the people that providing good leadership and good governance is not rocket science, elucidating how the development of Imo State will be made possible when he assumes office as Imo governor.

As they say, “The taste of the pudding is in the eating”. Hence, as we have posited in an earlier essay, the only sure thing left is for Imo people to vote for PDP and Rt. Hon. EmekaIhedioha with Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, his  running-mate, as a way of giving them the benefit of doubt to prove whether or not he could perform and deliver and fulfill the promises he made during the electionerring campaigns.

All of the sumptuous package of what made up the rally organized by Imo PDP leaders and members for full one month obviously has some noteworthy significance and implications for the chances of the party in the 2019 general elections.

The rally presented a first-of-its-kind approach to the structuring of electionerring campaigns, which no other party was able to initiate or emulate. The three-stage structure of visiting the traditional rulers, holding interactive Town Hall meetings and addressing the rally proper at a playground at each LGA was a unique experience in Imo State. It is believed that in future electionerring years, political parties will adopt that way of engaging the various segments of the people in each LGA.

The Imo PDP Campaign Council, ab initio, announced that the 2019 campaigns will be localized to the respective LGAs. What that meant was that the leaders, members and candidates of the party in each LGA will organize the rally and host the State Working Committee (SWC) with the State Campaign Council. According to the Council, that was designed to enable the party leaders and members in other LGAs to concentrate on the crucial house-to-house, door-to-door, person-person-person campaigns in their respective LGAs.

One other visible aspect of the 2019 Imo PDP Campaigns is the free-flow of the schedules with each item on the itinerary having capable people that were incharge. It made the campaign very much user-friendly. There were no characteristic mix-ups and attendant rancour as experienced in previous campaigns by the party.

The live participation of the topmost political leaders of party in the day-to-day deliveries of the rallies was quite instructive. The other leaders and members of the party sourced kinetic inspiration and latent motivation to go the extra distance and do more for the success of the rally and the partybas the case may be.

It was really most exciting seeing the likes of Engr. Chief Dr. Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, AhaejiejembaNdigbo, permanent member, Board of Trustees (BoT) of PDP; Chief AchikeUdenwa, former governor of Imo State; Engr. Chief EbereUdeagu, former deputy governor of Imo State; Amb. Dr.Mrs.KemaChikwe, BoT member of PDP; Prof. Viola Onwuliri, former Minister of Education; Dr. Vin Udokwu, former Chief of Staff, former Commissioner and current Director-General, Imo Campaign Council; Amb. Greg Mbadiwe; former Ambassador of the the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and indeed hundreds of other who-is-who in the political bracket and power equations of Imo State.

The palpable unity of purpose of these very important dignitaries (VIGs) spoke volumes of the restored sense of quintessential oneness in the reformed and rebranded PDP. It was a win-win situation for the party and the members who have re-established their great expectation of returning to the seat of power in Imo State, Douglas House, in 2019.

In addition to being a show of force, the campaign rallies also served as a test and measure of the level of acceptability of the party in the State. And the verdict is that PDP is the party accepted by the greater majority of Imo people at this time in the political development of the State.

The roadshow which turned into a carnival that heralded the grand finale of the rallies in Owerri Municipal Council on Tuesday February 12, 2019, presented a vista of what  the general elections will be like in the next few days. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, Imo PDP will make a clean sweep of the 41 elective offices that will be vied for. 

The massive turnout of people along the routes of the roadshow/carnival led by Barr. Charles Ezekwem, the Party Chairman and Rt. Hon. EmekaIhedioha, the gubernatorial candidate, coupled with the ecstatic reactions of the people, leave only one conclusion. And that is,  wittingly or unwittingly, advertently or inadvertently, the people of Imo State have adopted PDP as the party that can liberate the people and rebuild the State from May 29, 2019. Anything different from that will provide a cause for concern over and probe of the incongruence of known and unknown, seen and unforseen. God forbid!

*Nwadike, journalist, author and public affairs analyst wrote in from Owerri, Imo State.

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