You are currently viewing Of Araraume’s conundrums and staying power, by Sufuyan Ojeifo
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Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume is arguably one politician who is not only surefooted in his political pathways but also rugged in confronting onslaughts by oppositional forces. Araraume’s staying power finds anchorage in his devotion to the political culture of building a name and preserving the same in the ecosystem of Imo State. Little wonder, the 64-year-old politician has continued to weather the storms and the vicissitudes of politics even when his staying power is stretched, sometimes, perhaps, beyond its limits, without breaking. This speaks volumes about his tenacity of purpose, his audacity of vision and his ardor of mission. These three intrinsic worth and even much more define his persona and shape his preoccupations and dispositions in the nation’s cloak-and-dagger politics.

The outset of the Fourth Republic in 1998/1999 prepared the ground for Araraume’s contestations and quests for political power at different intersections up until now. Always vigorously challenged by disparate forces acting in conspiratorial alliances to upend his plans, he has not ceased to throw his hat in the ring once all contending issues are resolved in his favour. In the process, he had, in the past, won some political battles and lost some others. To be sure, Araraume won election to the Senate to represent Imo North Senatorial zone from 1999 to 2007 and through that senatorial representation, he defined his eon in the Senate with his leadership and membership of some standing committees, contributing his quotas to strengthening the governance architecture hoisted on the trinity of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.

Araraume picks and chooses the battle he fights, propelled by the strength of his conviction and the discipline of cost counting or cost-benefit analysis. This explains why he has always efficiently and effectively funded his political ventures each time he takes the plunge into the strong, stormy and buffeting waters. Since 1998 up until now, he has remained consistent and persistent in the pursuit of his political vision, not allowing the vicissitudes of politics to dampen his zeal. It is his staying power that is sustaining the gravitas of his Destiny Political Organisation in Imo. The Organisation is as rugged as Araraume himself. He is thus poised as he was wont to do for an expeditious response to his people’s calls to political actions and electoral outings. He either answers the people personally or through proxies; and, in which case, he sponsors loyalists into elective offices with the magnitude of his goodwill and war chest.

Historically, Araraume is deft in prosecuting gubernatorial primary elections. He clinched the guber ticket of the PDP for Imo in 2007 in the validation of his robust candidature and at the expense of Charles Ugwu who was favoured by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo for the ticket. The Imo guber primary election was run twice in a bid to ensure his defeat by forces arrayed against him by the Presidency. On both occasions, he trumped his traducers. Regardless, Obasanjo had directed the PDP leadership to submit the name of Charles Ugwu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Araraume had dragged the party apparatchik through the courts to wrest his guber ticket from the custodians of the stolen ticket.

Araraume’s derring-do rankled Obasanjo who publicly declared that the PDP had no candidate in the 2007 Imo guber poll. He then shifted support for Ikedi Ohakim, the guber candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA). In fact, that election was conducted twice. In the first outing, Araraume had, outright, won but the electoral body was directed not to announce the result; in fact, it was directed to announce a rerun of the poll, which was massively manipulated to produce Ohakim as the winner of the poll on the platform of PPA, a largely unknown and structureless party.

Other subsequent political enterprises of his, either at the level of primary elections or at the level of general elections, had not produced results that aligned with his reasonable expectations. He has always taken recourse to the Judiciary for intercession. One thing about Araraume is that he is very strategic, deliberate and intentional in the pursuit of his political dreams. He is a bona fide member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Those who are afraid of his shadows in the party are eternally uncomfortable with his ubiquitousness in the ecosystem of Imo politics. About thirty-six hours ago, they ran with a piece of propaganda that he (Araraume) was planning to contest the Imo guber race on the platform of the Labour Party. Unlike Araraume, he provided a swift riposte. He did not, strategically, accord them the indulgence of allowing their mischief to linger.

Read his response articulated on his behalf by his Special Assistant (Legal and Public Affairs), Barrister Uche Anyanwu: “The attention of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume has been drawn to the mischievous and fake list of Labour Party governorship aspirants, doing the rounds in sections of the media wherein his name was published as having picked the expression of interest form to run for the office of governor in Imo state, under the Labour Party (LP).

“Senator Araraume hereby reiterates unequivocally that he is still a bona fide member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director of Trade and Economic Affairs (South) of the APC presidential campaign council (PCC). He is not a member of Labour Party and has not picked or paid for any nomination form from Labour Party and does not intend to do so now or later in this dispensation.

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“Senator Araraume is a responsible member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and does not even have the faintest idea who the Labour Party ward chairman is in his immediate ward. It should be noted that the Distinguished Senator is not a man to shy away from what he believes in and will not approach the Governorship contest in Imo state through the back door if he wishes to throw his hat in the ring for a contest which he has the requisite qualifications and capacity.

“The fake aspirants’ list under the Imo state Labour Party is a fabrication and the work of mischief makers, who are bent on using his name to score a cheap political victory. We hereby advise that the said list be disregarded as the story is not the true representation of facts on the ground.”

As claimed supra, Araraume is not a man to shy away from what he believes in. His decision to drag President Muhammadu Buhari through court for his alleged removal as non-executive chairman of the Board of the Nigeran National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) is a validation of the claim. Judgment has been reserved for Tuesday, March 28 in the suit by Justice Inyang Ekwo. Only a courageous politician in the President’s ruling party could do that. There must be overarching reasons for his action. One was disclosed in the suit: reinstatement to his position once the court agrees that the process adopted to remove him was in breach of the provisions of the extant laws. Perhaps, a much more fundamental reason that was not expressly stated in the suit has remained the preservation of his name (read integrity) which was impliedly attacked by the presidential decision to suddenly and shockingly terminate his appointment. If the matter is determined in his favour, it would go a long way to prove that his removal in the first instance was not as a result of any wrongdoing whether in the saddle as the NNPCL board chair or in any position prior to it.

▪︎Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja via ojwonderngr@yahoo.com

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