Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has restated his commitment to ensure power rotation across the three senatorial districts in the state.
Mr Uzodinma, the candidate of the APC under which he won re-election in last Saturday’s poll, spoke while receiving his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Owerri on Friday.
A video clip of the event was uploaded on the governor’s Facebook page
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Uzodinma had vowed to ensure the adoption of the state’s charter of equity, an unwritten code which provided for power rotation among the three senatorial districts in the state.
Mr Uzodinma, while speaking on Friday, said he wants to exit office as governor leaving behind a legacy of power rotation in the state.
“As always, I am committed to running an inclusive government where the interest of every Imo man and woman will be accommodated.
“My desire is to live a legacy of a tradition of rancour-free politics that guarantees all zones a realistic entitlement to the governorship of the state,” he said.
This newspaper earlier reported that in the charter of equity, there was an agreement that power must rotate among Imo East (Owerri Zone), Imo North (Okigwe Zone) and Imo West Districts (Orlu Zone).
However, the agreement was truncated when Rochas Okorocha emerged as governor of the state in 2011 under the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and exited office in 2019 after his second tenure.
Mr Okorocha, who defeated the sitting governor from Okigwe Zone to emerge governor, hails from Ogboko, a community in Ideato South Council Area in Orlu Zone.
His emergence disrupted the zoning arrangement in the state which had favoured the candidate from Okigwe Zone to continue being governor to complete the zoning cycle.
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Alternatively, the Owerri Zone would have been favoured to take their shot at the governorship to keep the zoning arrangement alive given that the previous governor hails from Orlu Zone.
Mr Uzodinma, who has served for nearly four years in office, hails from Omuma, a community in Oru East LGA within the Orlu Zone.
Orlu Zone has served as governor of the state for nearly 20 years since 1999. The victory of Mr Uzodinma meant that the figure would jump to 24 years after the governor’s second tenure in January 2028.
For clarity, Okigwe Zone has served for four years while Owerri Zone served as governor for about seven months given that Emeka Ihedioha, who hails from the zone, was sacked from office by the Supreme Court on 14 January 2020, which declared Mr Uzodinma as the validly elected governor.
Meanwhile, ahead of last Saturday’s governorship election, Imo State Council of Elders had endorsed Mr Uzodinma for a second term saying Orlu Zone should be allowed to complete their turn before handing over power to the next zone.
‘My reelection not questionable’
Mr Uzodinma, shortly after receiving his certificate of return, argued that the integrity of his reelection in the 11 November poll in the state was not questionable.
There were allegations mainly from Athan Achonu, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the election and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Samuel Anyanwu that the exercise was marred by electoral malpractices.
But speaking on Friday, Mr Uzodinma insisted that the poll was credible and that his re-election was unquestionable.
“I acknowledge and thank the security agencies for working hard to deliver what has been what has been widely adjudged as a very credible poll whose integrity cannot be questioned,” he said.
The governor again commended INEC for organising a “credible poll”, saying the electoral commission has deepened Nigeria’s democracy by “ensuring that peoples’ votes counted”.
He urged opposition candidates to “see beyond their immediate environments and commend INEC for doing a very beautiful job because tomorrow it might be their turn to win.”
“I once again extend an olive branch to all aggrieved persons and groups and invite them to join hands with me to work to grow our state and make the state the envy of other states,” he stated.
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