Imo PDP crises deepen, four executives emerge
Markarfi/Ihedioha group lays claim to validity
The deepening political crises within the fold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at the national level has taken its toll on the Imo State chapter. The consequences of the crisis at the national level has polarised the Imo chapter, into four camps.
Following the congress that took place last week in the state, it became apparent the centre can no longer hold as the members had to conduct four different congresses simultaneously at separate venues.
At the party’s office, located along Okigwe Road, Owerri, the state capital, a faction loyal to ousted national chairman, Senator Alli Modu Sheriff, and backed by a group supported by the Senator representing Imo West senatorial district, Chief Hope Uzodinma, held sway.
Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie who had chaired the party in the state before an embattled State Caretaker Committee was allegedly put in place, emerged with his officers.
The same day, a congress supervised by the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), under the headship of the electoral chairman and former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara, was conducted. Charles Ezekwem, a Lawyer, and 26 others were elected members of the new executive.
At the Kanu Nwankwo Sports Complex, near Imo University in Owerri, another congress, which commenced about 8am with actual election by delegates, ended about 11 pm, under tight security. This group which is affiliated to the Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee, have leaders like the immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; the Publisher of Champion Newspapers and member of the Board of Trustees of the party, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; erstwhile governor of Imo State (from 1999 through 2007), Chief Achike Udenwa, among others. But Ihedioha is said to be the political leader of the group in the state.
Also, a faction said to be headed by a former Chairman of the party in the state, Dr. Alex Obi, held their congress at Vitella Hotels, along MCC Road, Owerri, electing Greg Owuamalam, as the chairman.
The fourth one, which also took place in the capital city, Owerri, elected Chief Chucks Ajaelu, as chairman, with other 13 executive members.
The Anyaehie led group, The Guardian gathered took further steps after their congress to physically take over the party’s office at Okigwe Road, Owerri but it was not certain if the action conferred on them the status of being the authentic executive of the party in the state.
Remarkably, Ihedioha who addressed journalists after the exercise, claimed that they were the authentic group because all the legal paraphernalia supported their action, stressing that he, with others would “heal whatever wounds” polarized and split the party into different groups, with the aim of bringing them together under one group.
Both Iwuanyanwu and Udenwa supported the claim with Iwuanyanwu expressing the hopeful that the party would take over in 2019. He asserted that from his findings, Nigerians were yearning for PDP to come back to power in the next election year.
Addressing newsmen after inauguration, Ezekwem said he would undertake the task of providing quality and inclusive leadership, positioning the party on the path of honour, uniting the various factions.
Speaking at the venue of the congress put together by the Markarfi/Ihedioha group, a governorship candidate in 2015 election in Lagos State, Jimmy Agbaje, assured the PDP faithful of his support. He urged them to be united to lift the party to stronger heights.
It is apparent that this crisis in Imo would linger pending the resolution of the leadership crisis at the centre and a determination of the actors at the state level to sacrifice their personal interest for the good of all.