Imo Governorship: What you need to know about major candidates

This Saturday, voters across the 27 local government areas of Imo State will be heading to the polls to elect the person who will govern the state for the next four years

According to the final list of candidates published in October by INEC, 18 candidates were cleared to contest the election.

They are Uchenna Okere of Accord (A), Jack Ogunewe of Action Alliance (AA), Ifeanyi Awulonu of African Action Congress (AAC), Otumbadi Okoroma of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Steve Nwoga of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Goodhope Uzodinma of ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Anthony Ejiogu of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Chibuike Edoziem of Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

Others are Obieze Achilike of Action Peoples Party (APP), Isaac Iwuanyanwu of Boot Party (BP), Nneji Achonu of Labour Party (LP), Ben Ofunzeh of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Cole Okwara of National Rescue Movement (NRM), Samuel Anyanwu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ishiodu Uchechukwu of People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Bright Ekwebelem of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chino Opara of Young Progressives Party (YPP) and Andy Chibuike of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

All the candidates are male. Also, only two of them have female running mates, Ihuoma Ekomaru (APC) and Ogechi Ottih (ADP).

Analysts see the election as a three-horse race among the APC, PDP and LP.

According to the state’s electoral roll published on INEC’s portal, the state has 2,419,922 registered voters out of which 2,318,919 collected their permanent voter cards (PVCs) ahead of the poll on 11 November.

The state has 305 registration areas and 4,758 polling units (PU). However, 38 of the PUs have no registered voters.

Below are the profiles of the five major candidates.

Hope Uzodinma (APC)

Governor Hope Uzodinma
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state.

Mr Uzodinma, 64, the incumbent governor, holds a diploma and higher diploma in Maritime Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. The governor also bagged a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington University in St. Louis.

He hails from Omuma in Oru Local Government Area of the state and holds the ceremonial title of Onwa-Netiri Oha of the community.

The governor joined politics in 1999 as a member of the PDP. Between 1999 and 2017, he served in different capacities in the party’s national caucus.

Between 2011 and 2018, Mr Uzodinma served as the senator representing Imo West district under the PDP. However, in the build-up to the 2019 election, he dumped the PDP for the APC to run for governor.

Although Mr Uzodinma initially lost the election to Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, the Supreme Court declared him as the duly elected governor of the state on 14 January 2020, and he was sworn into office the following day.

Samuel Anyanwu
Samuel Anyanwu

Mr Anyanwu, 58, is perceived as the major challenger to the incumbent governor. He is a native of Obodo Amaimo in Ikeduru Local Government Area.

Mr Anyanwu obtained his First School Leaving Certificate from Road Primary School, Abia State in 1977. He attended Amaimo High School in 1985 and obtained his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees in Political Administration from the University of Port Harcourt. He is also a graduate of the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School and Harvard University Kennedy School.

Popularly referred to as “Sam-Daddy”, Mr Anyanwu began his political career in 1983 as the Secretary of the Imo State Youth Organisation (IYO). He has also played major political roles across other parties like the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) and the United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP).

Between 2004 and 2007, Mr Anyanwu was elected as the chairman of the Ikeduru LG and was later elected into the State House of Assembly for two tenures between 2007 and 2015.

In 2015, the politician contested and won the senatorial seat for Imo East district. However, he declared to run for governor in 2019 but lost in the primary to Mr Ihedioha. Mr Anyanwu was elected the national secretary of the PDP in October 2021 and still occupies the position despite now running for governor.
Nneji Achonu (LP)

Senator Athan Achonu
Senator Athan Achonu

Born in 1959, Mr Nneji is the sixth of the eight children of his parents and hails from Umunumo in Ehime-Mbano LG.

His early education was at Madonna High School, Etiti, Imo State, and Government College Umuahia, Abia State. He studied Business Administration at the University of Lagos and later proceeded to John Cabot University in Italy where he had a short study before venturing into businesses.

Having lost his right arm as a child during the Nigerian civil war, Mr Achonu is the only candidate on the ballot classified as a Person With Disabilities (PWD) by INEC.

In June 2015, he was inaugurated as a senator in the eighth National Assembly. However, in December 2015, the Court of Appeal overturned his election over a petition by the Accord Party that its logo was missing from the ballot papers used for the election.

Jack Ogunewe of AA

Jack Ogunewe
Jack Ogunewe.

Mr Ogunewe is a native of Umudim-Akpodim in Ezinihitte Mbaise LGA. He was born on 18 May 1963 to the family of a retired army colonel, David Ogunewe, who was a first-generation Nigerian Army officer.

Mr Ogunewe joined the army at the age of 17 and rose to the rank of major general and the second in command in the Army (Chief of Policy & Plans (Army). He retired at the age of 55 in December 2018 after more than 38 years of service, including his cadet training at the Nigerian Defence Academy.

In the course of his service in the army, Mr Ogunewe bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration from Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration (GIMPA) Accra Ghana & Master’s in Defence & Strategic Studies from National Defence University, Islamabad Pakistan.

He also attended several military and civil courses/ programmes at the Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering Makurdi; Nigerian Army School of Infantry Jaji; Ghana Armed Forces Command & Staff College, Accra; Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping Institute, Accra, Ghana; West African Civil Society Institute, Accra, Ghana; Galilee International Management Institute, Israel; Harvard Kennedy School, Massachusetts, USA, United Nations Training Program, Bangkok Thailand among others.

During his service in the army, he led several command, staff, intelligence and diplomatic appointments, and was the Defence Adviser, Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, New York and also a member of the Military Staff Committee that advises the United Nations Security Council on defence and security issues.

The candidate was also unanimously elected as the Dean Military and Police Adviser’s Community, New York & the first African to be so elected. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers & COREN registered.

His campaign mantra has been: “Imo State will be the most secure State and one of the top 5 Economically Vibrant States in Nigeria under my Leadership.”

Anthony Ejiogu (APGA)

Born 23 March 1974, Mr Ejiogu is a native of Umuakuru, Emekuku in Owerri.

He attended Imo State University Primary School and St. Peter Claver Seminary in Ngor Okpala, in Owerri. He had a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Management at the University of Akron in Ohio and a Master’s degree in Administration at Bowie University.

Mr Ejiogu’s appetite for knowledge also led him to pursue an MBA in Finance at the University of Maryland in the United States..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

About the author


JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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