The race for Owerri Zone senate in 2023 is expected to be intense, considering the fact that the seat will be keenly vied for.
Several considerations will certainly come to play and influence the choice of a new Senator for the zone, (Imo East) considering the array of competent Owerri sons and daughters speculated to be eying the zone's senate Seat in the Red Chambers of the Senate.
Some political analysts and observers conversant with the dynamics of Owerri zone politics, argue that the next Senatorial election will be a bumpy ride for those aspiring to become Senator for the zone.
APC, PDP In Fierce Scramble For Senate Seat
One of the major dynamics which will shape the choice of a new Senator, is the choice of a political party.
The two major political parties in the State, the All Progressive Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, will be up against each other in the race. Since the return of democracy to the country in 1999, the PDP has dominated the Senate seat in Owerri zone.
However, such dominance may change, considering the precise incursion of the All Progressive Congress in the zone lately. Since the coming to power of the APC led administration of Senator Hope Uzodimma, there has been movement of key political players from the zone from the PDP to the APC.
After the PDP swept Owerri zone in 2019, winning the nine seats of the State House of Assembly and the four House of Reps seats in the zone- Owerri Federal Constituency, Ezinihitte/Ahiazu Mbaise Federal Constituency, Aboh Mbaise Federal Constituency and Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Federal Constituency, such gains have been perforated lately by the APC.
Some members of the State House members of PDP extraction from the zone had decamped to the ruling All Progressive Congress,APC after the Supreme Court removed Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP and declared Senator Hope Uzodimma as governor of the State.
The PDP lawmakers who decmaped to the APC are Hon. Kanayo Onyemeachi (Owerri West), Hon.Uche Ogbuagu (Ikeduru), Hon Sam Otuibe (Ahiazu Mbaise) and Hon.Eddy Obinna (Aboh Mbaise)
This development, analysts contend, may have impact on the outcome of the next National Assembly election in the zone in 2023 and possibly weaken the grip of the PDP in the zone.
Another school of thought contend that the APC is not so formidable in the zone, since none of the House members who decamped to the APC, were not elected by the people of the zone on the platform of the APC
"The House of Assembly members who joined the APC from the PDP, are mere political gatecrashers. Besides, that the decamped to the APC is no yardstick to say PDP will lose the zone. They rode on the back of Ihedioha, who was the governorship candidate of the PDP to ride to victory. In 2023, it will be a different ball game for them, because the Ihedioha factor will not be on their side anymore"
"They are paper weight politicians, who rode on Ihedioha's massive support in the zone to go to the House in 2019. It is impossible for them to re enact such feat in 2023" said Chris Egere, a PDP Chieftain who spoke to INNONEWS
An APC stalwart in Owerri zone, Clement Opara differed, saying "Owerri zone must align to the ruling party and the process has just begun. In 2023, the process will be complete by the time we sweep victory in the Senate and House of Reps"
Quest For Generational Shift
There is a growing consensus among stakeholders across the country that the the younger folks should be allowed to hold or occupy elective positions, including the presidency in the next political dispensation.
Former Military President, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (Retd) had advocated that the next President of Nigeria should not be above 60 years. Going forward, there is an emerging argument that Senators, members of House of Reps should not be above 50 years old. State House of Assembly aspirants should be less than 40 years old.
The Not Too Young To Run Act, which became law in 2019, encouraged active youth participation in Nigerian politics. And it recommended 35 years for anyone who intends to aspire for the Presidency.
All the Senators who represented Owerri zone from Senator Chris Anyanwu, Senator Sam Anyanwu and the current Senator, Senator Ezenwa Onyewuchi, were above 40 years when they were elected Senator of the zone.
If the principle of rotation of political offices is anything to go by, the next Senator for Owerri zone should emerge outside Owerri Federal Constituency. Those who hold this argument argue that the next Senator should come preferably from the Mbaike axis on the basis that Mbaise sub zone did two terms through Senator Chris Anyanwu.
Another school of thought disagree on the basis that Senate seat should be left open for all the sub zones to scramble for. This permutation is anchored on the basis that all the sub zones, which make up Owerri zone, such as Mbaike, Owerri Federal Constituency and Mbaise axis have all produced Senators for the zone.
Mbaike (Mbaitoli/Ikeduru federal constituency) had produced Senator Samuel Anyanwu, who was though, a one term Senator. Senator Onyewuchi, who is likely to seek another term of four years as Senator is from Owerri Federal Constituency.
"Its a merry go round. The contest should be open for all the sub zones to vie for. What should be paramount is competence and capacity of the Senator that would represent Owerri zone at the senate in 2023" said Hon.Reagan Emeziem.
Those Who May Contest
No one has officially declared for Owerri Senatorial race which is 17 months away, but the body language of some top politicians in the zone reveal that they are interested and may give the current Senator, Ezenwa Onyewuchi, a run for his money.
Majority of the aspirants are expected to come from the APC, as many party faithful argue that the zone has to fall in the kitty of the ruling party on the basis, that Orlu and Okigwe zones are represented by the APC in the senate. Senator Rochas Okorocha and Senator Frank Ibezim respectively are representing the two zones.
Billionaire businesses man, Dr. Alex Mbata, is perceived to be interested to take a shot. He hails from Owerri North LGA. Speculations were also rife that a former governorship hopeful, Chief Martin Agbaso may join the contest. Ex banker, Mike Nwachukwu, who had vied for the Senatorial seat in 2019 on the platform of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, may roll up his sleeves to join the race again on the platform of APC.
Hon Ugochukwu Sylvester, aka Ugo Sly, who recently decamped to the APC from the PDP, may also be in interested.
Within the camp of the PDP, speculations have been rife that former member of House of Representatives, Hon Uche Onyeagocha may also join the race.
Content created and supplied by: INNONEWS (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More