By Sunday Oguntola, Online Editor
Is this the end for Emeka Ihedioha?
Not at all, though it is a major blow. But it is only a temporary setback. He has another four years to restrategise, build his political base and keep his supporters energised.
But it would be a tough job to do because he is out of power. His supporters would need extra motivation and inspiration to hold on for that long.
The former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives has age on his side though, at just 55. He would be 59 should he choose to re-contest in 2024. He won’t be too old to be a governorship candidate by Nigeria’s standard.
What does it mean for Imo?
The judgment is a clear instruction from the Apex Court for cessation of all protests and marches. These protests have rocked the state in recent days, tasking security officials and apparatus. The Supreme Court ruling will certainly put an end to the protests, which are believed to be sponsored.
Also, the voters have to wait for another four years to decide whether they will stick to Governor Hope Uzodinma or try out someone else.
The political realignments that started with the declaration of Uzodinma as Governor are also expected to continue. The Speaker, Deputy and principal officers of the Imo Assembly have swiftly defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party has a commanding majority in the Assembly.
With the finality of the judgement, it is not impossible some elected National Assembly members on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to move over to the APC. Aside from the legislators, key political stakeholders in Imo may also be on their way to the ruling party.
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Is PDP decimated?
Most certainly because to lose a governorship seat is no little misfortune. It is more painful because Imo is the only South East state governed by APC. The party will expect some die-hards and supporters to consider their membership and allegiance. Some of them may leave, feeling frustrated.
But it is certainly not the end of PDP in Imo. The party can still regain its strength if it gets its acts together.
What are the signs for APC?
For sure, the ruling APC is stronger for the judgement. It is a major boost for its planned inroads into the South East region, which is a stronghold of the opposition.
The Supreme Court has given the APC a lifeline to prove what it can do differently in Imo. The party, after the rancorous pre and post-primary events, can at least experience peace. Whether it can become a permanent feature will be determined by how the key chieftains handle their differences.
But there is a big opportunity for rapprochement between former Governor Rochas Okorocha and Uzodinma. If they get their acts together, the party will be stronger and better for it.
The party can also leverage the judgement to pursue reconciliation with the Chief Bisi Akande’s committee expected to show the way in this regard.
What does this mean for Oshiomhole?
APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole will surely be a happy man for the judgement. It is more than a sigh of relief. It is a declaration of victory, a major one that strengthens his grip on the party’s structure.
His detractors would have feasted had the Apex Court reversed itself, finding further ammunition to call for his resignation or sack. But the former Edo Governor did not only win the state for the party but also won a governor-friend.
Uzodinma is expected to be a supportive ally in the fight to stave off opposition to his leadership. With Uzodinma, Oshiomhole is assured of another governor, who will speak up for him should hawks come for his job again.
Is the Supreme Court better off?
By refusing to reverse itself, the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the finality of its judgment. Some believe the Supreme Court has imposed itself as a solid institution that cannot be pressured into becoming an appellant.
In Bayelsa, it refused to reverse itself. With the Imo case, it has sent a clear signal that whatever judgement it pronounces is irreversible and irrevocable regardless of “what anyone feels about it”.