Uzodinma’s emergence stokes fresh crisis in Imo State APC
• 14 PDP, AA Lawmakers Set To Decamp To Party
Barely 48 hours after his inauguration as the fifth governor of Imo State, the emergence of Senator Hope Uzodinma as the lone state chief executive on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Southeast geopolitical zone has triggered off mixed fortunes for the party in the state.
Investigation by The Guardian revealed that the Supreme Court ruling, which pronounced the APC candidate as the rightful winner of the Imo State governorship election, has rekindled the internal crisis within the state chapter of the party.
Already, two persons, Mr. Daniel Nwafor and Chief Marcellinus Nlemigbo, are laying claims to the chairmanship position, with each insisting that he is the authentic leader of the Imo State Working Committee (SWC) of APC.
This is just as no fewer than 14 members of the state House of Assembly on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Action Alliance (AA) are set to defect to the APC following the change of government in the state.
The Guardian gathered from one of the lawmakers, who spoke on basis of anonymity, that many of them had concluded their defection move and may announce it today (Saturday).
According to the source, those on the defection list include Paul Emeziem (PDP, Onuimo); Ngozi Obiefule (AA, Isu); Arthur Egwim (AA, Ideato North); Johnson Duru (AA, Ideato South); Stanley Nnodumele (PDP, Orsu) and Paschal Okolie (PDP, Orlu).
Others are Obinna Okwara (PDP, Nkwerre); Hercules Okoro (PDP, Ohaji/Egbema); Kanayo Onyemachi (PDP, Owerri West); Solomon Anukam (PDP, Owerri Municipal); Michael Njoku, (PDP, Ihitte/Uboma) and Chyna Iwuanyanwu (PDP, Nwangele), among others.
He said: “I can tell you authoritatively that more than half of the 27 House members would soon defect to APC. I will defect tomorrow. It is not out of place with the current political situation or change of government. It is a matter of interest.”
He further disclosed that there wan an ongoing tussle for principal positions with the current Speaker, Chiji Collins and his Deputy, Okey Onyekanma set to be replaced under the new government.
The duo are core loyalists of Chief Emeka Ihedioha, who Uzodinma replaced as governor following the Supreme Court judgment. They may not find favour under the new arrangement to retain their positions.
While Paul Emeziem and Kennedy Ibe (AA, Obowo) are top contenders for the speakership position, Ngozi Obiefule, Arthur Egwim, Johnson Duru and Stanley Nnodumele are eyeing the deputy speakership slot.
The Guardian also reliably gathered that the lawmakers from Orlu Zone where Uzodinma hails from are currently having series of meeting with the view of grabbing principal positions of the House.
Speaking with The Guardian in a telephone interview, Nwafor blamed the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for encouraging confusion and foisting impunity in the state chapter.
Nwafor contended that despite many court verdicts on the controversial state congress, which declared him as the validly elected state chairman, “Oshiomhole created an illegal contraption called caretaker committee to undermine the legitimately established leadership structure in Imo State.”
He stated: “Nlemigbo is an impostor. Blame Adams Oshiomhole for the confusion. The national chairman decided to create an illegal caretaker committee after the state congress. And despite several court decisions that authenticated my election, Oshiomhole has continued to encourage the illegal committee.
“We are back to the court in search of a permanent solution to this quagmire. Oshiomhole should not give the impression that our party does not obey court rulings. He should know the implications of impunity that he seems to be encouraging. Now is the time for APC to work together in unity; for the progress and development of the party in our state and Southeast zone in general.”
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