Imo APC faction expels guber candidate Uzodinma, national headquarters nullifies action
The crisis plaguing the Imo chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has worsened with the State Working Committee (SWC) yesterday expelling the governorship candidate, Hope Uzodinma, for alleged anti-party activities.
The Daniel Nwafor-led executive committee, at a press briefing in Owerri, maintained that the party followed due process in arriving at the decision.
Nwafor said that Uzodinma’s expulsion was to save the soul of APC in the state.
The party accused the gubernatorial hopeful of sponsoring opposing candidates, adding that it would neither recognise nor support him in the forthcoming elections.
His words: “As the duly and validly elected APC executive in Imo State, we have looked at the issues raised by APC Omuma ward and see merit in the decision to expel Senator Hope Uzodinma for anti-party activities. We are only affirming the action of the ward executive of Senator Hope Uzodinma in line with the constitution of our party. So regrettably, at this time, we need to save the soul of our party. The party cannot at this time allow its members to divide and reduce the morale of our faithful. We cannot allow a candidate to continue to engage in anti-party activities by sponsoring opposing candidates.”
He went on: “So right now, APC in Imo will not and cannot recognise or support Senator Hope Uzodinma as the candidate of the party in the state because he is no longer a member of our party. And we call upon all party faithful in the state to abide by this decision. Not obeying it would amount to disobedience as spelt out in the constitution of our party.”
In the meantime, the national secretariat of the party has nullified the action.
The national publicity secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a statement maintained that Nwafor lacked the power to take such decision.
The Caretaker Committee Chairman inaugurated by Adams Oshiomhole, Prince Marcellinus Nlemigbo, also dismissed the expulsion, insisting that Nwafor’s group remained dissolved and as such, lacked powers to take decisions for the political party in the state.
Also reacting, the factional state publicity secretary, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, described the action as laughable, fake and inconsequential.
According to him, until Nwafor succeeds in court, where he is the plaintiff in a running suit, Daniel Nwafor Vs APC and 13 Ors, he cannot act or execute any function as chairman of Imo State APC, noting: “The fact of his removal from office is concluded, settled and history.”
However, a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the caretaker committee members led by Nlemigbo.
The presiding judge, Justice M. T Salihu, ordered the State Commissioner of Police, Dansuki Galadanchi, to arrest them for allegedly assaulting a bailiff, Nwawi Ogugua, who came to serve court processes on the affected persons in their factional office.
The judge ordered that all the members, except one Enyinnaya Onuegbu, who was in court, be arrested and brought before him on the 31st of this month.
Those affected by the warrant are Marcellinus Nlemigbo; Nzekwe Ugochukwu; Lady Love Ineh; Canice Nwachukwu and Josephine Nnorom.
Others include Paul Para, Linus Ineoha and Nicholas Osuagwu.
According to Justice Salihu, they are to appear before the court to explain why they should not be committed to prison for attacking a legal officer who was carrying out his legitimate duties. The bailiff was allegedly beaten to a pulp by thugs at the instance of the caretaker chairman.
Also yesterday, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, raised the alarm over a prohibitive fee fixed by an unnamed community before the commission could make use of its town hall as a collation centre/registration area camp (RAC).
During an interactive session with key stakeholders in Owerri, the INEC official feared that such tendency was capable of undermining the exercise in the state.
He regretted that after mapping and identifying 105 collation and RACs in the 305 wards of the 27 council areas, a community wrote the commission asking to be paid over N2 million for its town hall.
According to him, the commission took a decision and left the settlement.
Ezeonu urged monarchs, community leaders and presidents-general of the 645 communities to caution their subjects against derailing the coming elections.
The professor of biochemistry alleged that some persons were sabotaging the efforts of the commission to organise free, fair, credible and peaceful polls, vowing that no amount of intimidation would stop his team from delivering.
He revealed that amid the sustained enlightenment, 563,954 permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) were yet to be claimed.