By Peter Aneme
The Imo State House of Assembly election billed for Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Ngor Okpala is a three horse race that may, based on the prevailing political calculus already established, favour the Labour Party, LP, candidate, Joel Okere, ahead of his APC, APGA and PDP rivalries.
Ngor Okpala Local Government Area has 11 INEC wards, with. Okpe Court Area having three of these wards. Incidentally, this part of the LGA is where the council’s headquarters is located. As fate will have it, Okpe Court Area has no candidate standing for election. Thus, its votes will be be struggled for by the four top contestants.
And the result of the last presidential and national assembly elections indicated that the electorate here massively voted for LP. There is no evidence so far to prove they will vote otherwise in the state house of assembly election.
Obike Court Area has two of the INEC wards in Ngor Okpala that is said to be the largest in landmass in Imo State and the only council having boundaries with two states – Rivers and Abia.
One of the candidates for the March 18 Ngor Okpala State Constituency election, Barrister Nlem of the SDP, hails from this part of the LGA. Remarkably, Okpe and Obike with five court areas are collectively known as Ngor Okpala Central and since SDP, in view of its poor showings in the last election, is not a strong force, its candidate may not likely garner much votes. Rather, the outcome of the previous election showed that LP swept the polls in those areas and that is what will repeat in this particular election.
The location known as Ngor Okpala North has two court areas namely Igba 5&6 and Onyeaghala nwanneya. There are four candidates competing for space here. They are Obinna Egu of the APC, Kingsley Odionyemma of the PDP, Ezeefula Opara of APGA and Goodluck Okere of the Accord party. There are also two INEC wards here. Accord candidate and PDP standard bearer are from Imerienwe while Egu comes from the Umuohiagu axis of the zone.
However, there are factors counting against Egu, Odionyemma and Okere. Okere’s Accord party, for now, has no footing of any kind in Ngor Okpala, and, so, the party has no chance.
On the other hand, Odionyemma who is also from Imerienwe has his hands tied as he will fight against Okere for his community’s votes. Failure to get much votes from Imerienwe, as it will most likely happen, the PDP candidate is as good as having lost it.
For Egu, not only that APC is not really popular in Ngor Okpala in spite of the party’s sermon being preached by TOE Ekechi, Barrister Enyinnaya Onuegbu, George Eche, Okenze Obinna, Bona Nwoko, Cajetan Duke Akuta and several other APC stalwarts in the LGA, the party still struggles.
Again, Egu was the member representing Ngor Okpala State Constituency between 2015 and 2019 in the Imo House of Assembly. He was of the PDP then and rode on the back of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha. He jumped out of PDP and pitched his tent with Action Alliance, AA consequent upon which he staged a re – election bid to the house but lost to the PDP candidate in 2019. This is 2023 and Egu is back to APC and, with the help of his father – in – law, Prince Lemy Akakem who has the governor’s ears, Egu picked the APC ticket for house of assembly.
Meanwhile, many Ngor Okpala electorate have frowned at Egu’s penchant at taking them for granted by jumping from one party to the other: PDP to AA to APC!
Also, the fact that Chief Matthew Nwaoguala of the LP who got elected as the member to represent Aboh Mbaise, Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency hails from the same Eziala, Umuohiagu, makes it absolutely difficult for Ngor Okpala people to think of having another assembly representative in the person of Egu from that entity. Egu has forces fighting against him.
Then comes thia handsome gentleman, ex banker, industrialist and employer of labour, in deed, a good guy in the real sense of it – Eziefala Opara of the APGA party. Opara equally is of Onyeaghalanwanneya enclave.
As a matter of fact, all of the APC, Accord, APGA and PDP candidates will split their votes not just in Ngor Okpala as a whole but particularly in the Onyeaghalanwanneya Court Area. Even, whatever remained of APGA was annexed by LP and, so, the party (APGA) is down as its members had either found refuge in APC, PDP or lately, Labour. Thus, this ex banker may not make it.
A thorough analysis will reveal that based on the huge voting strength of where the LP candidate is coming, Joel Okere, in view of the fact that Ward One has the largest voting capacity in Ngor Okpala LGA, has everything going for him.
Two, with the recent Obi Movement and Labour Party Wave sweeping across the state and South East in general, Joel Okere is as good as having won the election. His Ward One has seven highly populated communities and his Mbaishii Court Area is known for casting votes accordingly – that is, in one accord even as it also votes massively.
The LP candidate is a philanthropist and he is USA based.