Imo APC and Endorsement Saga (The Concluding Part)

Rochas Okorocha (Photo Credit: TalkGlitz)

In the first part of this piece, CRISPNG’S JUSTICE NWAFOR, examined the disaffection in the Imo State All Progressives Congress (APC) caused  largely due to a move by the incumbent governor, Rochas Okorocha to endorse his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the party’s flag-bearer in the forthcoming 2019 gubernatorial election in the state. In this concluding part, the reporter x-rays the outcome of recent APC National Executive Council (NEC) meeting and its implications to the state’s tension-soaked gubernatorial race.

On Tuesday, 27th February, 2018, the ruling the All Progressives Congress (APC), finally held its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja, against all odds.

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One major highlight of the meeting was the party’s decision to extend the tenure of its National Working Committee (NWC), led by Chief John Oyegun, the party’s present National Chairman, by 12-months. The party also gave a nod to executives at the state, local government, and ward levels to carry on for another 12 months.

Few hours after the meeting, the party’s decision  reverberated  across the country. The news was so rife that refutals and congratulatory messages were being written as it trickled from one media organisation to the other. Even the social media was not missing in action.

In Imo State, the outcome of the meeting meant so much for two political fierce rival camps-Senator Ifeanyi Ararume’s and Rochas Okorocha’s. These two political gladiators have divided Imo APC into two camps.

Before the party’s NEC meeting, it was alleged that Governor Okorocha was working towards the removal of the state executives of the party, allegedly, to perfect his plan of having his son in-law, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu succeed him.

At the national level, there were allegations that he was working to oppose tenure elongation for John Oyegun, also.

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While he was busy planning the removal of the state executives, as alleged, it was learnt, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume was busy working against his plans. Ararume has his apologists in the State executives. He was and is still, also, an ally of Oyegun. Therefore, his camp rooted for Oyegun and the state executives to be given another tenure.

So, the reaction that trailed the outcome of the meeting was understandable. While it was victory for Ararume and his camp, it was not so for Okorocha and his camp. While Ararume sent out congratulatory messages to the party’s national and state executives, Okorocha’s media men fought hard to exonerate the Governor of complicity in the botched plan to stop tenure elongation for Oyegun and the Imo State executives.

In a press release signed by Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, he denied ever opposing Oyegun’s tenure elongation.

“I want to say emphatically that I was never against tenure extension and it would not have been achieved without the support of governors and other stakeholders,” he said.

In a chat with CRISPNG, an APC chieftain in Mbaitoli LGA of the state, who begged not to be named for fear of victimisation, confirmed that the tenure elongation for Oyegun and the state executives is a setback for the camp of Okorocha.

According to him, the Governor had planned to install his men as the party’s executives as he sees some of the current executives as loyal to Ararume.

“No doubt it is a big setback for Owelle’s camp. I will not call names but you know some of the state executives are in the camp of Ararume. They don’t like Owelle’s idea of installing his son in-law as the next Governor. His plan was to put his stooges who would easily work for him to deliver Uche Nwosu during the primaries. But it did not work. However, don’t underrate Owelle.”

On the other hand, an Owerri based Journalist and editor of one of the city’s Tabloids, Kingsley Amaechi sees a serious battle unfolding in the party. According to him, Ararume is a force with a strong structure which has been on ground. He described him as a spoiler who is ready to make sure APC is disgraced at the polls if he is not allowed to fly the party’s flag.

“Senator Ararume is a force, that is why Okorocha is afraid of him. That is why he is seriously backing Uche Nwosu because he knows Uche can’t stand Ararume. He may not be my ideal candidate but he’s very powerful and shrewd. Remember he is a spoiler. You know what happened in 2015. He was instrumental to Okorocha’s victory then.

“He has the structure and doesn’t make noise. I see him spoiling the show for APC in 2019, if does not get what he wants.”

“He has the structure and doesn’t make noise. I see him spoiling the show for APC in 2019, if does not get what he wants.”

Speaking also, a social commentator, Mr Tunji Adedeji disagreed with the Mr Amaechi’s sentiments, arguing that Okorocha’s support for Mr Nwosu is strong enough. He downplayed the force of Ararume, noting that the erstwhile senator’s structure is not as strong as people think.

“You don’t underestimate Okorocha. His support for Uche Nwosu is strong enough. They are building structures that will overpower whatever structure Ararume has. Remember he is the incumbent Governor. There is money to spend and  they are spending it to build formidable structures. I don’t think Ararume’s structure is still that strong”, he argued.

On Friday local Tabloids in the State, such as Trumpeta Newspaper, carried stories of the Governor’s plan to reshuffle his cabinet in order to weed out Ararume’s apologists. This is coming barely two months after the cabinet was constituted.

No doubt, the battle is getting fierce. Only time, however, shall tell which of these two camps will have the last laugh.

No doubt, the battle is getting fierce. Only time, however, shall tell which of these two camps will have the last laugh. 

Justice Nwafor is a Nigerian-based Journalist with penchant for social issues, the unreported and politics. He is a business savvy. Follow his tweets @jaysplend

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