Owerri, the capital of Imo State, practically stood still on Wednesday as the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) formally presented Sen. Hope Uzodimma as her candidate for the November 11 governorship election, with Lady Chinyere Ekomaru as his running mate.
The leadership of the APC did not only turn out in their numbers for the flag off, but other members of the Party in Imo and adjoining States showed physical presence at the Dan Anyiam Stadium such that the 45,000 capacity Stadium could not accommodate everyone who came for the event.
Those from the leadership of the APC who graced the flag off include Vice President Kashim Shettima ( who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu), the National Chairman of the APC, Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje, the Chairman, National Campaign Council for Imo State Governorship election, Sen. Bassey Otu, the Deputy National Chairman, South, Chief Emma Enukwu, among other key leaders.
Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum/ Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdufatai Abdulrahman, Governor Babajide Sanwolu (Lagos), Governor Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Governor Alia ( Benue), Governor Francis Nwifuru ( Ebonyi), Governor Mai Mala-Buni
(Yobe) and Governor Ahmad Aliyu ( Sokoto).
Two former Governors of Imo State – Chief Ikedi Ohakim and Sen. Rocha’s Okorocha were also present.
Among other APC chieftains in attendance were Senator Adams Oshiomhole, Senator Osita Izunaso, Senator Patrick Ndubueze, Sen. Nkechi Nworgu, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Uche Nnaji, Minister of States Labour and Employment, Rt Hon Nkiruka Onyejiocha, Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Anoka- Anite, former Minister of Labour, Dr. Emeka Wogu, former Minister of State, Science and Technology, Chief Henry Ikoh, to name but a few.
In their different remarks, speaker after speaker – Dr. Macdonald Ebere (Imo State Chairman of the APC), Governor Bassey Otu
(Chairman, Imo State Governorship National Campaign Council), Sen. Adams Oshiomhole (on behalf of National Assembly members), Governor Dapo Abiodun ( on behalf of APC Governors), the National Chairman of the APC, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and Vice President Kashim Shettima, harped on the good work Governor Uzodimma has done in his almost first four years in office and urged Imo people to reelect him.
Ebere recalled the metamorphosis in the infrastructure in Imo State courtesy of Governor Uzodimma as well as other tangible and intangible programmes associated with his government and noted that Imo people are resolved to reelect him so as to enable him consolidate on the sound foundation he has laid for a better Imo State.
While Oshiomhole reminded the Imo people that he did not make a mistake presenting Sen. Uzodimma as APC Governorship candidate four years ago, he advised them to still stick to him and vote massively for him since they are now witnesses to the good job the Governor has done in Imo.
Both Governors Otu and Abiodun appealed to the Imo electorate not to make the mistake of changing a winning team.
They said the joy on the faces of the people and the way they turned out in their numbers to be part of Governor Uzodimma’s presentation and flag off of his campaign, are indications that the Governor does not have opposition to contend with in the November 11 governorship election.
“We can see that Imo is APC and APC is Imo. We hope to come back here on November 11 and join all of you to sing victory song on Governor Uzodimma’s reelection,” said Abiodun, while Otu suggested to them to “vote massively for Uzodimma’s reelection.”
According to Dr. Ganduje, only a fool will not reckon with the turn out of Party faithful which he said is an indication that Governor Uzodimma has worked so hard to win the hearts of Imo people through his programmes in education, agriculture, health, security, roads and more.
He did not only congratulate the electorate in advance but urged them to show that Imo State is APC through and through by coming out en mass to vote for the man they love so much.
In his remarks, Vice President Shettima said that Governor Uzodimma has proven that he has capacity to deliver on the mandate the people gave to him some years back and that the respect the Governor enjoys at the national level actually has its origin from his locality. He appealed to all members of the APC in Imo State to join hands with the Governor to ensure that the opposition is properly trounced come November 11.
The Vice President who said his boss holds Imo in high esteem assured that he will report to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Governor Uzodimma has done marvelously well for the APC in Imo and that there is nothing to show that Imo State is not APC.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the man of the moment, Governor Uzodimma thanked his visitors and party faithful from across the country for coming to honour him and more importantly, for believing in him.
Governor Uzodimma told them that Imo State has witnessed massive turn around in different areas since he assumed office barely four years ago and that it is the desire of the people that he seeks reelection, not just because of what he has been able to do so far but because they believe in him.
He promised not to let down the Party or to disappoint the expectations of the people of Imo State if by God’s grace they renew his tenure on November 11.
The highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of the APC flag to Governor Uzodimma and his running mate by Dr. Ganduje assisted by Vice President Shettima and other leaders of the Party.
Earlier, Vice President Shettima had paid a courtesy call on the Chairman of Imo State Council of the Traditional Rulers, HRM, Eze EC Okeke where the APC leaders told all the Imo monarchs why they came to Imo.
Eze Okeke while welcoming them urged the government to find a role for the traditional rulers, which they said, will be in the interest of the society.
Also, before the Vice President and his entourage attended the APC flag off of Governor Uzodimma’s reelection campaign, he went to commission the newly rebuilt MCC- Toronto road by the Governor Uzodimma administration.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor