Imo APC sinking into deeper trouble as elections approach
It is now more like one day, one trouble for the Imo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The crisis rocking the party has continued to deepen with pronouncements of expulsions and suspensions of leaders of the party, who are incidentally the party’s candidates for various elective positions.
The party is factionalised with Mr. Daniel Nwafor on one side as the elected state chairman, and Mr. Marcellinus Nlemigbo on the other side as chairman of the caretaker committee.It would be recalled that based on allegations of anti-party activities and attempts to sabotage the party’s efforts in the build up to the general elections, the Adams Oshiomhole-led national leadership pronounced a dissolution of the Nwafor- led executive and consequently replaced it with Nlemigbo and Co.
Oshiomhole’s action was greeted with several court actions from the Nwafor-led executive, which challenged the purported dissolution, which it also described as the “height of illegality and executive rascality” on the part of the national leadership.In a release, Nwafor also accused Oshiomhole of thriving on illegality, adding that if his activities were not checked, he will lead the party to defeat in the forthcoming general elections both in Imo State and across South East states.
“Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is in the habit of disregarding competent and valid court judgments and the rule of law. We have called the attention of the world to the fact that Mr. Oshiomhole, in total disregard to court judgments, has continued to thrive on illegality.“We have commenced contempt proceedings against Mr. Oshiomhole, when he disregarded the valid judgments of an FCT High Court. We have no other option, but to resort to help from the court,” the release said.
However, the latest source of headache for the party in the state is the “expulsion” for alleged anti-party activities slammed on its governorship candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma, by the Nwafor-led exco. At a press briefing held at the party’s secretariat in Owerri, on Thursday, January 24, 2019, Nwafor said that the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party followed due process before arriving at its decision.
According to him, Uzodinma’s expulsion became necessary in order to save the soul of the party in the state, which he said was threatened by the alleged actions of its guber candidate. The party accused Uzodinma of sponsoring opposition candidates, adding that based on the decision, the party will neither recognise nor support him in the forthcoming general election since he is no longer a member of the party.
“As the duly and validly elected APC Executive in Imo State, we have looked at the issues raised by APC Omuma Ward, and we have seen merit in the decision to expel Sen. Hope Uzodinma for anti-party activities. “We are only affirming the actions of the ward executive of Sen. Hope Uzodinma, in line with the constitutional provision 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 party faithful. “We cannot allow a candidate of our party to continue to engage in anti-party activities by sponsoring opposing party candidate. 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 of APC in Imo State. Not obeying the decision will amount to disobedience and the consequences as spelt out in the constitution of our party,” Nwafor stated. Earlier on, the Nwafor-led exco purportedly suspended Nlemigbo for also allegedly committing anti-party activities.The suspension was conveyed in a letter addressed to Oshiomhole, dated January 14, 2019, and signed by Nwafor and the factional state secretary, Mr. Obioma Ireagwu.
It read: “This is to inform you that the Ward Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress of Ezinihhitte Mbieri in Mbaitoli LGA has suspended Prince Marcellenus Nlemigbo from the party for anti-party activities. The Mbaitoli LGA Exco, where he comes from, ratified the same action of the Ward Exco.
“Therefore, the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party in Imo State, having examined the procedures of the suspension consequently affirms the suspension order made by his ward on January 2, 2019, as affirmed by the Mbaitoli LGA Executive Committee of our great party. “This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 21, B.C and D of the party’s constitution,” it read.
Also recently, based on the recommendation of a Disciplinary Committee set up by the Nlemigbo faction, which investigated allegations of anti-party activities against Governor Okorocha, the Caretaker Committee affirmed the suspension of the governor from the party and forwarded same to the National Working Committee (NWC) for ratification.
Nlemigbo averred that Okorocha’s anti-party activities includes the sponsorship of a rival political party, Action Alliance (AA) in Imo State and its governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu, as well as open denunciation of its governorship candidate, Uzodimma in the state.In the letter conveying the suspension to Oshiomhole, the Nlemigbo faction regretted that Okorocha, who is the party’s senatorial candidate for Imo West Senatorial District, also known as Orlu Zone, had vowed to undermine the APC and its electoral interests.
Interestingly, both Okorocha’s expulsion and that of Uzodinma received counter reactions from either factions, just as they debunked the pronouncements, describing them as false, inconsequential and illegal.Regarding Uzodinma’s expulsion, the Nlemigbo faction queried the powers of the Nwafor-led exco to take any decision concerning the party in the state such as expelling its governorship candidate, or any member of the party having been dissolved by the national leadership of the party.
“It is all lies. Nwafor and Co are no longer members of our party. They are now in AA and I have no reason to join issues with them. “Senator Hope Uzodinma remains our governorship candidate and we are poised to deliver him come March 2,” Nlemigbo said.Also reacting, the Publicity Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Enyinnaya Onuegbu described Uzodinma’s purported expulsion as laughable, fake and inconsequential, and which should be disregarded.
“Until Nwafor succeeds in Court, where he is presently the Plaintiff in Suit No: FHC/OW/CS/1/2019 between Daniel Nwafor vs APC and 13 others, he cannot “act or execute any function as chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Imo State. The fact of his removal from office is concluded, settled and history,” he said.
Governor Okorocha, through his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said he would not be disturbed by the call for his expulsion from the party for being loyal to the Dan Nwafor-led executive of the party in the state.According to him, “there is only one APC in the state with Daniel Nwafor as the chairman and Owelle Rochas Okorocha as the leader. Any other group claiming to be a faction of Imo APC must obviously be a gang of 419ers, or a league of fraudsters, who are experts in issuance of dud cheques and collecting billions for jobs not done.
“The only contentious issue in Imo APC is that the national chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, imposed a known PDP member and a known character in the state on the party as its governorship candidate, and by so doing pushing the party and its members to a very tight corner, especially when it comes to the issue of marketing a candidate.
“If Mr. Oshiomhole didn’t want the preferred candidate of members of the party in the state, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, for any reason, and if he actually meant well for Imo APC, he would have taken one of the guber aspirants that formed the coalition who are known members of the party, and who is also from Owerri Zone, since that was the reason some of them in the coalition claimed made them to leave the government.
“But the APC national chairman preferred a PDP man also from Orlu Zone, and he imposed the candidate on the party and at a time the man is facing corruption charges. That is the problem with Imo APC and its guber candidate.“Aside this problem, Oshiomhole also told his audience that he has dissolved the excos of the party from the state to the ward level in total disregard of a ruling by Hon. Justice O.A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Bwari Abuja, delivered on August 14, 2018 in Suit No: FCT/HC/BW/CV/103/2018.
The consequences emanating from the crisis ripping the party apart, a Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, Thursday, January24, 2019 issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Nlemigbo and some other members of the caretaker committee for failure to appear before it. The presiding Judge, Justice M. T. Salihu also ordered the state Commissioner of Police, Dansuki Galadanchi to arrest members of the caretaker committee for allegedly assaulting a bailiff, Nwawi Ogugua, who went to serve court proceedings on members of the committee in their factional office.
Justice Salihu ordered that all the members of the committee, excluding one, Enyinnaya Onuegbu, who was the only person in court, should be arrested and brought before the Court on January 31.Other Caretaker Committee members to be arrested are Nzekwe Ugochukwu, Lady Love Ineh, Canice Nwachukwu, Josephine Nnorom, Paul Para, Linus Ineoha and Nicholas Osuagwu.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari was in Owerri last Tuesday to handover the party’s governorship flag to Uzodinma. Okorocha was in attendance, but he made it clear that his faction would only support President Buhari’s re-election, claiming that others who want to snatch the party from him cannot succeed.Imo State APC will go into the election with a divided house, unless well-meaning stakeholder come to its rescue.
No comments yet