Imo 2019: Why Frank Nneji will get APGA’s ticket

By Valentine Amanze

With less than six months to the 2019 general election, the coast is getting clearer over who succeeds Owelle Rochas Okorocha in Imo State.

  Of course, the person will neither come from Okigwe zone nor Orlu. Okigwe has ruled the state for eight years, starting from Chief Sam Mbakwe in 1979 (four years) and Chief Ikedi Ohakim (2007- 2010); while Orlu zone ruled through Chief Achike Udenwa, eight years (from 1999); and the incumbent governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, eight years.

  Besides, even without zoning, it will be very difficult for the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC),  to succeed its self with the governor inconsising that his inlaw, who is also from Orlu, to succeed him.

  The unpopular decision by the governor has however made the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) the beautiful pride attracting powerful gladiators from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC and other parties to join it.

  But, while pretenders and contenders are scrambling for political relevance in APGA, the real hardcore APGA generals are busy restrategising and consolidating on their programmes with

massive campaigns and lobbying even outside the shores of the country. The electorate no doubt have made up their mind the path to follow in the party, which has become the darling of Ndi-Imo.

  APGA and the  PDP have proved their strength  in the state. APGA was the platform that brought Okorocha to power in 2010 after defeating the incumbent PDP of Ikedi Ohakim.

  But, with the paucity of leadership, Imo deserves a paradigm shift from the old brigade politicians, who trade their conscience for money.

Since the late military ruler of Nigeria, Murtala Muhammad, created Imo along with other new states in 1976, the state has suffered bad leadership with the exception of the late Chief Sam Mbakwe’s administration, which pioneered rural industrialisation during the second republic.

However, the trend is now changing. More respectable technocrats are now joining the governorship race unlike before when charlatans and people with questionable character paraded themselves as messiahs.

  A survey in the 27 local government areas in the state recently revealed that the people are tired of the old brigade and are yearning for trusted  technocrats from the private sector, while the popularity of APGA was awesome.

  The former governor, Ikedi Ohakim, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and others have defected to the party to slug it out with Mr Frank Nneji, who appears to be the people’s choice among other contenders because of his pedigree.

Nneji’s curriculum vitae is intimidating. It is what APGA needs to chase out APC from the Government House, Owerri.

  Besides, he is from Owerri zone, which is host to Government House. His zone, Owerri, is yet to produce a governor in the new dispensation.

  Nneji caught a niche in leadership and business as an undergraduate at University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

  A philanthropist and founder of ABC Transport, the only Imo State-based company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Nneji said that his mission into politics was to “Rebuild Imo State and restore dignity and integrity to this AMAZING State.”

  Quite ambitious; one may say, he has proved himself as the largest employer of Labour in Imo State, which made the Igbo community in the U.S. to drum support for his governorship ambition during a recent visit.

His ABC Group has not less than 10,000 direct workers and about 30,000 indirect employees who are benefitting from this Lion’s ingenuity.

  He started ABC Transport with one Hummer bus after his NYSC and today the group has grown to be a reference point in the transport industry in West Africa.

  Others after the ticket including Ohakim and Araraume are not pushovers.

Ohakim was the state governor, while Araraume was a senator – both experienced politicians. The two are from Mbano in Okigwe zone and have a record of jumping from one party to the other, while Nneji has only been identified with one political party – APGA.

The possibility of trusting a man who jumps from one party to the other is less than one percent.

  What Ndi-Imo need now is a man that is capable of managing the economy of the state by tapping its resources to work for its subjects. Nneji has proved himself in the private sector. Such experience is what is needed to take the state to the next level.

  Frank Nneji Uzoawuotu, is an indigene of Ezuhhu Nguru, in Aboh, Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

He was born in Kaduna on April 30, 1960, to a retired Soldier (Father) and retired nurse (Mother).

  He holds a bachelors degree of zoology from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and has attended several management courses in Ivy League institutions in Europe and the US.

Within a year of running his college business, in 1980 which was his second college year, he was able to raise 500 Naira (a substantial sum at the time), which he invested into another venture.

His next trial at entrepreneurship was to purchase a student rebate ticket sold by the Nigerian Airways at the time, took a trip to Italy, and bought fashion items ranging from T-Shirts to belts, jeans, and a lot more, for resale in Nigeria.

Upon graduating from the university at age 23, Nneji went full-on into the business world, with little to no intentions to follow a career in his course of study.

Using income he had saved up from his time as a student and an additional 750 Naira given as allowance by the NYSC, he founded a company named Rapido, rented an apartment, and started the supplies of educational materials, beginning with white boards, then audio visuals, and a lot more overtime.

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