‘Odigie-Oyegun factionalised APC’
The 2015 governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ebonyi State, Senator Julius Ali Ucha, in a telephone chat narrated how the outgoing national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, caused division within the party, stressing that parallel congresses were a product of Oyegun’s vengeance on the party for rejecting his sit-tight schemes.
In Ebonyi for instance, Ucha said: “The ward Congresses that were conducted on 5th of May, 2018, all records, including the one from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), clearly show that there was no ward congress in Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, Izzi, Ohaozara local councils. But there was Ward congress only in five out of 14 wards of Abakaliki local council. There was ward congress in Ikwo, Ezza south, Ezza north, Ivo, Ishielu, Onicha, Afikpo north and Afikpo South local councils.”
He disclosed that reports available to his group and INEC show that the congresses of 5th of May 2018, were monitored in 108 wards, stressing that out of the fifty-six wards in Ebonyi north, congresses were monitored only in five wards.
“There are fifty-eight wards in Ebonyi central, congresses were monitored in all of them and in Ebonyi south, out of the fifty seven wards of the five local council areas, congress did not take place in eleven wards of Ohaozara.”
Explaining the role of Chief Oyegun in the confused congress, the former chairman of Senate committee on works said: “For the purposes of this interaction, I will crave your indulgence to record that “John Oyegun is like a malignant tumor on APC.” I say this because, he has lost sense of honour and he has allowed pride, prejudice, self-knowledge, greed and selfishness to overwhelm him. If the only thing he can achieve for the party now is to destroy the institution, because he thinks he is no longer wanted, because of his many sins. If he thinks fighting back is to destroy the institution through which he has been blessed, I think it is important to tell the world what he represents. I hope you are not alien to the damage he has done to the party not only in Ebonyi state, but also all over the country.
“Here is a man, who for the purposes of the just concluded congresses, created two Congress committees in some states and in some states there were more than three Congress committees. He split Congress committee into two, such that the chairman and secretary will be conducting congress for one group, while congress committee members will be conducting congress for some other group for one political party in a state.
“That is an aberration, not also a democracy. It is hypocrisy and I believe strongly that he represents a tumour and the damage he intends to do for the party. I say this as a committed member of APC and as a politician, who wants my party to succeed.”
Lamenting further, Ucha said: “A situation where a national chairman of a political party has promoted two or three congresses in a state and he adopts the result of a particular congress, without trying to harmonize the results or find out what happened in the field signifies danger.”
He maintained that Oyegun was making it impossible for the party to have cohesion for the purposes of winning elections.
On the implications of the parallel and inconclusive congresses of 5th May, Ucha declared that the local government congress held in Ohaukwu, Ebonyi, Ohaozara, Izzi and Abakaliki on 12th May were ab initio void, “because there was no ward congress.”
He added: “It is through the ward congress that you can elect the five-man delegates that can elect local government executive and it is through the ward congress that you can elect five ward-delegates that can elect state executives.
“Therefore, if there was no ward congresses in 51 out of the 56 wards in Ebonyi north and there was no ward congress in 11 wards of Ohaozara local government, where is the basis of the state congress that was conducted under heavy security at Nkwegu Ugbala Grand Arena?
“What is the basis for conducting local government congress in Ebonyi, Ohaukwu, Ohaozara, Izzi and Abakaliki local councils? From facts available, local government congress, which was held on 12th May, should have been conducted only in the eight councils, where ward congresses were held. Any other thing done by anybody is in contravention of the party’s guidelines and the Electoral Act.”
The Senator maintained that there is no way delegates that did not emerge through wars congresses could have ben used to elect state executives, adding that the implication is that since there were two factions of APC in Ebonyi State and his faction won the five wards of Abakaliki, won in Ezza South, Ezza north, Ikwo, Onicha, Ishielu and Ivo councils, it follows that out of the eight councils INEC monitored ward congress. “By this arrangement, we are in control of the five wards in Abakaliki, and the six councils where congresses were held, the implication is that the other group won only two councils, Afikpo North and Afikpo South.”
Ucha said it is unfortunate that some elders in the state were “part of this concoction intended to deceive the party in collusion with Oyegun; it is very tragic and shows that Nigeria politicians, no matter how old, do not believe in truth, fairness and justice and they have no limit of what they can do to commit electoral crime to achieve their inordinate political ambitions. This is what we are opposed to. This the injustice we have been fighting, because we believe in the truth.”
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