The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Imo State is enmeshed in a crisis of identity and ownership. Those from the legacy parties that formed the APC are
determined to stop Governor Rochas Okorocha from painting the APC in his personal colours.
To say that things are no longer the same in the newly registered All Progressives Congress, APC, Imo State, is stating the obvious. This crisis of confidence among its members came to its peak with the hoisting of a parallel state executive by those, who claim to be the authentic members of the party.
These APC loyalists, largely drawn from the leaderships of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP, and Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, pride themselves as “the legacy parties”.
Apparently irked by what they termed “plans by the rebel group from All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to hijack APC and turn it into a private estate in the state”, the aggrieved “authentic leaders” met in Owerri recently and issued a far reaching communique.
The major plank of the communique was the constitution of a new leadership for the party in the state, arguing that nature abhors vacuum. They rolled out the names of the new interim party leaders as Mazi Nati Iwuagwu, State Chairman, Chief Ahamefula Ibekwe, State Secretary and Mr. Emeka Nkume,State Publicity Secretary. Other party loyalists that made the list include Mrs. Vivian Echeruo, Engr. Adaugo Obi, Ichie Ted Okoro, Mrs. Getrude Ehiriudu, Prince A. C. Dara and Chidi Agbaso.
With the parallel leadership firmly installed, the battle for the soul of APC in Imo State has therefore started. The new leadership was immediately given the mandate to establish similar committees at the wards, polling units and local government levels.
Explaining the ground for their action, the authentic APC leaders said that by virtue of Electoral Act on merger of political parties, only the members of the merged parties, CPC, ANPP and ACN are the legally recognized members of the new party, APC.
It was equally their considered opinion that “no fresh registration has been conducted in Imo APC since the merger, or could legally have taken place in APC Imo State or elsewhere in the country since August 31, 2013”. The group then concluded that every other person that parades himself or herself as a member of APC, is a concessionary member and must await regularization by getting formally registered with the party at his or her ward in the state.
The authentic APC leaders roundly condemned what they called “the audacity with which the concessional members, namely the APGA “rebels,” who are in our midst, are trying to hijack the party at the state, local government area and ward levels with impunity”. Apart from the foregoing, the authentic leaders of Imo APC warned APGA rebels in their midst to “stop the arbitrary constitution of interim officers of the party at all levels”.
Apparently worried by the way the authentic members, including the likes of former governor, Chief Achike Udenwa, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, Chief Chukwudi Mayor Eze and host of other chieftains were being sidelined by the “APGA rebels, who were brought in on attachment”, the group opted to draw the attention of party officials at the national level and urged them to take urgent action to mitigate the crisis in the state.
They pointedly told the national leadership of APC that they no longer accept the gospel of a sitting governor in the state until he, Governor Rochas Okorocha, becomes a duly registered member of APC.
Vanguard Politics gathered that Governor Okorocha is not only uncomfortable with the situation in the state but has also complained to the National Headquarters of APC.
He was particularly irked that his membership of APC was being seriously questioned by party loyalists in the state, even as they vowed to approach the court to seek his eventual removal from APC. Although the suggestion put forward by Okorocha to the effect of appointing interim management committee was supported b APC-NEC, he was not too sure that the authentic party men and women would be prepared to be part of the new arrangement.
Reacting to the situation in a telephone interview, a top founding member of APC, Engr. Adaugo Obi, said “the gulf between Okorocha and the aggrieved members of APC in the state was widening by the dawn of each new day”.
She pointedly accused the Governor of not carrying the original owners of the party along, adding that what they have been experiencing was better imagined than experienced.
Meanwhile, there are camps within Imo APC. In line with this development, several meetings have been holding in the homes of the big names in APC, including Chief Achike Udenwa and Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN. The agenda has always been how to resolve the marginalization inflicted on them by Governor Okorocha.