EMEKA IHEDIOHA: Former governor, deputy speaker and ex-PDP stalwart

NewsroomMay 11, 20244 min

Emeka Ihedioha rose politically through the ranks from being an aide to a deputy senate president to deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and then governor of Imo state until the Supreme Court struck. Esther Adedoyin examines his political trajectory in this EX-NASS MEMBERS SERIES.

Emeka Ihedioha

Emeka Ihedioha was born on March 24, 1965, in Mbutu, Imo State, South-East Nigeria. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of Lagos. During his long stint in politics and leadership, he advanced his worldview and learning with executive certificate courses from Stanford University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, as well as the University of British Columbia in Canada.

Political journery in Parliament 

Ihedioha started his political journey in 1992 as a press officer to the President of the Senate, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and later served as the chief press secretary to the Deputy Senate President, late Albert Legogie. After the military coup in November 1993 that enshrined military rule, he returned to his career in media and communications.

He later became the Director of Publicity for the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), the precursor to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in 1998. At the return to democratic rule in 1999, he held various government positions, including special assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Utilities in July 1999, special assistant on media and publicity to the Senate President in November 1999, and special assistant on political matters to the Vice President in September 2001.

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Ihedioha was elected to the House of Representatives and between 2003 and 2007, served as Chair of the House Committee on Marine Transport, where he played a key role in advancing Nigeria’s participation in the sector. During this period, he oversaw the passage of several bills, including the International Convention for the Safety at Sea (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004 and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2005, among others.

Ihedioha was re-elected in 2007 and he assumed the role of Chair of the House Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa. He later became the Chief Whip of the House, a position he held for the duration of his term. Re-elected again in 2011, Ihedioha served as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, during which time he held the reins of affairs of the green chamber after then Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal became the Governor of Sokoto State. Unlike his close friend and colleague, Ihedioha made a bid for the governorship of Imo State, losing a tightly contested election to Rochas Okorocha.

A short-lived governorship

Not one to give up his dreams, on March 9, 2019, Ihedioha contested the gubernatorial seat of Imo State again under the PDP banner. He was declared the governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and was sworn in subsequently. Buoyed by his long-standing exposure to and experience in leadership and politics, he hit the ground running as chief executive of the south-eastern state.

However, on January 14, 2020, his tenure was abruptly brought to an end when the Supreme Court ruled against him, declaring Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of the 2019 governorship election based on irregularities in the results from the election.

Resignation from PDP

After 26 years of membership in the PDP, Ihedioha, in a letter addressed to the chairperson of his Mbutu Ward in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, announced his resignation from the party. This was a few weeks ago. He recalled his contributions to the party since its formation in 1998 but expressed disappointment with the party’s direction, stating that it no longer aligns with his personal beliefs.

Where and what next for Ihedioha? Time will tell.


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