By Vivian Iwu
News Hour – According to what many people say was a far-reaching and innovative approach to political campaigns in the last gubernatorial election in Imo State, the Commissioner for Homeland Security and Vigilante Affairs, Dr. Ugorji Okechukwu Ugorji, ran a broad-based strategy to help ensure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) bested all comers in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area.
He worked with a campaign network of groups that had the common interest of reelecting Governor Hope Uzodimma and funded his efforts himself.
“We persuaded the governor’s supporters and voters to come out early and vote, and we dissuaded many of our adversaries from voting against us and from disrupting the voting process,” Dr. Ugorji said.
Rather than donate strictly to the Campaign Council, the Commissioner decide to spread his personal resources to a list of support groups working for the reelection of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
Commissioners as a group were not given any funds for the campaign. So Ugorji sourced over twelve million Naira from his wife in the US and from his own personal savings, which accrued in thirty years of working as a public administrator in the US.
“I was all in for this election, not for rewards afterwards, but out of profound gratitude to the Governor for giving me the unexpected opportunity to serve in his cabinet,” Dr. Ugorji revealed.
Dubbed “Operation Gratitude,” Dr. Ugorji’s campaign and election activities were coordinated through a group known as Iheatu Political Action Committee (Iheatu PAC).
It is an entity set up to ensure uprightness and propagate progressivism in politics and governance in Imo State. The group worked with and/or sent funds to the following support groups:
Friends of Hope: This is a group of business and private titans headed by a former governor of Imo State, His Excellency Dr. Ikedi Ohakim
Aboh Mbaise Campaign Council: The Aboh Mbaise Campaign Council coordinated party-related campaign efforts in Aboh Mbaise LGA. It was headed by Barrister Iheaukwumere Alaribe.
Apart from working as a member of the campaign council, Dr. Ugorji donated funds on behalf of the council towards the Federal Constituency Rally.
Extra Mobilization for Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala Rally: The Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Opkala Federal Constituency Campaign group was headed by Former House of Representatives member from the constituency, Hon. Bede Eke.
The Commissioner at a seminar for Youths Advocates and Hope’s Angels
Apart from working as a member of the Organization Committee for the Aboh Mbiase/Ngor Opkala Rally for the governor, Dr. Ugorji also hired buses on his own to bring the Iheatu political family to the rally.
Organizing Committee for Owerri Zone Rally: This group put together the Owerri Zone Campaign Rally for Governor Uzodimma, by the youth and women of Owerri Zone. Dr. Ugorji donated funds to the committee and mobilized extra twelve buses full of supporters from Aboh Mbaise LGA for the rally.
Imo Youth Advocates: The Imo Youth Advocates is a soft power initiative of the Ministry of Homeland Security and Vigilante Affairs.
Liberia and the Beauty of Democracy
Dr. Ugorji inaugurated the group in time for the election and mobilized each Youth Advocate Coordinator in each Ward to help in the persuading and dissuading effort for the election.
Hopes Angels: Hope’s Angels group is a soft power initiative of the Ministry of Homeland Security and Vigilante Affairs.
Inauguration of Hope’s Angels
Dr. Ugorji inaugurated this August Women Meeting group in time for the election and mobilized each Hope’s Angels Coordinator in each Ward to help in the persuading and dissuading effort for the election.
Committee of Pioneer APC Ward Chairmen: In a move that demonstrated his respect for institutional memory, Dr. Ugorji sought out and reunited the pioneer Ward Chairmen of the APC in Aboh Mbaise. The group is headed by the pioneer Chairman of APC in the Local Government Area, Nze Julian Nwogu.
Media placements: A award-winning writer and publisher himself, Dr. Ugorji has a great appreciation for strategic communication. Perhaps more than any other appointee, he orchestrated and placed several headlines and stories in over thirteen media houses about Governor Uzodimma’s accomplishments, especially in the security arena.
Okada Riding with Hope: This campaign concept was conceived by Dr. Ugorji in meetings with Okada Riders in Owerri during the course of his work as Commissioner Homeland Security.
Inauguration of Okada Riders for Hope and the issuance of free helmets by the Honourable Commissioner
He not only inaugurated the group in time for the election, he also bought and distributed helmets free of charge, with “Riding with Hope” emblazoned on them.
Poetry: Perhaps what set Dr. Ugorji apart from virtually everyone else who supported the Governor in hos reelection bid is his deployment of original poetry and spoken word creativity in the campaign. He not only wrote the pieces (Paint Me Four, and Ubiquitous Hope), he paid to have the poems published in newspapers, and broadcast of television and radio stations.
Outreach to Leaders of Opposition Parties in Aboh Mbaise LGA: The fact that Governor Uzodimma had positioned himself as the dominant and most experienced candidate in the field of contenders, made it easier for Dr. Ugorji to reach out to leaders of opposition parties in Aboh Mbaise to work out a rapprochement on Election Day
Vivian C. Iwu writes from Owerri, Imo State.