Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Following his failure to secure the governorship position of Imo State for three consecutive attempts, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume may have set his eyes on the 2019 governorship race to realize his ambition of governing the state. The senator who contested the primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last December, on Saturday began what looked like his fourth successive attempt to be Imo State Governor on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC at a thank-you party he hosted for members of his Destiny Campaign Organisation.
This followed his support for the re-election of Governor Rochas Okorocha into office for second term. Setting the tone for the campaign rolling was the director general of the Araraume’s Destiny Organisation, Hon. Independent Ogunewe who said the organization had an unfinished project in the quest to govern the state.
Amidst songs that “this mountain (blocking his governorship chances) must be removed by the spirit says the lord”, Ogunewe said the occasion should have been a victory party, but expressed hope that the victory would eventually come. He described Ararume as the real game changer who ensured that those who stole his mandate did not enjoy their loot— in a clear reference to the outcome of the PDP primaries where Emeka Ihedioha was declared winner instead of Araraume.
In his speech, Ararume likened his destiny organization to that of General Muhamadu Buhari, who he described as a man that has strong followership and yet he was not able to win the nation’s presidential seat until he collaborated with others. He said he and his supporters would continue to collaborate with Okorocha until Imo was better. “We are going to support this government because it is our government. Collaboration and partnership make things happen.
Same way Buhari sought collaboration from other parties and won the presidential election, same way we are going to collaborate with Okorocha to make this state better,” Araraume stated. He promised that his supporters would continue to collaborate with the state government to move the state forward, while soliciting similar support for the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Araraume, who had forged an alliance with Governor Rochas Okorocha, candidate of the APC during the governorship elections against Hon Emeka Ihedioha, candidate of the PDP, said that he decided to work against his own party (PDP) to prove that no one can choose for the people who should govern them. The Senator, who represented Okigwe zone between 1999 and 2007 but lost the gubernatorial primaries of the party to Hon.Emeka Ihedioha, declared that the PDP was dead and was gone for good in the State.
He added that nobody could rebuild the party again because people of goodwill in the state had left PDP and as a result it was now paying a huge price for its culture of impunity. He denied collecting money from Okorocha to support his re-election bid, in the wake of the rumours that he was paid N2 billion by the governor to support his reelection bid. According to the senator, “When I decided to support the governor, I did not make any monetary demand, I only negotiated on behalf of my supporters. I told the governor to consider those who have been following me in appointments and award of contracts”. In his response, the Governor, represented by the Chief of Staff, Sir Jude Ejiogu, enjoined members of the group to sign up for the APC in their respective wards.