Imo APC and the endorsement saga (Part 1)

By Justice Nwafor

When the All progressives Congress (APC) emerged winner of the keenly contested 2015 gubernatorial election in Imo state, southeast Nigeria, and brought Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha to power for a second tenure, not many envisaged an insidious infighting in the party.

Fast forward to 2018, barely four years after its glorious victory at the Imo guber polls, and a party ravaged by infighting, comfortably seated on a keg of gunpowder and, perhaps unknowingly, waiting to implode comes to mind.

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According to an Imo state based journalist and political analyst, Sampson Orji, the party has lost the goodwill that won it the election in 2015. He said the wrangling going on in the party is capable of costing it the numero uno seat of the state.

The disaffection in the party took a more dramatic and dangerous twist recently when the governor openly endorsed his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, who is from Orlu zone, to get the party’s ticket for 2019 guber election in the state, and, in his calculations, be the next governor of the state.

Imo is made up of 27 local government areas and is divided into three political zones – Orlu, Okigwe and Owerri.

These zones are the senatorial districts.

This endorsement is against the clamor of the people of Owerri zone who claim to be marginalized. The zone has not produced a governor of the state since the return of democracy in 1999. On the other hand the other zones of Okigwe and Orlu have produced Governors who have led the state for 4 and 18 years, respectively. Orlu’s will be 18 in 2019. The sitting governor is from the same zone with the his son in-law.

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Owerri zone claim it will be just and fair to zone the party’s ticket to it. Rising from a stockholders meeting recently, some members of the party of Owerri zone extraction announced their support only for guber aspirant of Owerri origin. This came on the heels of several endorsements by groups, allegedly sponsored by Mr Nwosu.

The guber aspirants who have declared interest for the party’s ticket include Uche Nwosu(Orlu zone), and the deputy governor, Eze Madumere(Owerri zone); while Jude Ejiogu(Owerri zone) and Ifeanyi Ararume(Okigwe zone) have not declared but are believed to be in the race.

With the support of Okorocha for his son in-law, there are indications that moves are on to impeach the deputy governor who is from Owerri zone. This has frayed nerves within the party.

The move, however, has not also gone down well with the deputy governor’s supporters who were engaged in a bloody clash with Nwosu’s supporters on Monday afternoon. The clash left about 20 people injured.

The clash, CRISPNG gathered, broke out when the supporters of Mr Nwosu went to the deputy governor’s L.G.A (Mbaitoli) to hold a meeting where the Mr. Nwosu would be endorsed.

On the same day, a group of about 10 youth groups in the state led by Hon. Kenneth Emelu, the Personal assistant to Okorocha on youth affairs, held a meeting at Imo youth centre and endorsed Mr Nwosu.

The two political gladiators are yet to speak on the clash, while the injured nurse their wounds.

Also on the same Monday, the Imo APC officially said it has not endorsed anybody for its ticket. Promising to give a level playing field to all the aspirants.

An Owerri based social commentor who spoke to crispng on the developments in Imo political space, Mr Edmund Onyeananam argued that the party is unknowingly shooting itself on the foot.

“With the developments in the party recently, especially the endorsement of Uche Nwosu by Okorocha, APC will have problems in 2019. Many people will be dissatisfied and they will leave the party with their supporters. Also, don’t forget that Uche is not a brand yet in Imo state. He’s just a young man who got lucky and has been following Okorocha around. He may not have garnered enough experience to lead a state like Imo”, he said.

On the other hand, Hon Alfred Obi, a director in one of Uche Nwosu’s political structures – Believe Movement International – debunked insinuations that Mr. Nwosu lacks the requisite experience.

“What kind of experience are they talking about? He has been in government since 2011. He has more than experience and integrity”, he submitted.

“What kind of experience are they talking about? He has been in government since 2011. He has more than experience and integrity”, he submitted.

The questions now are: who should be taken seriously? The governor who endorsed his son in-law or the party which said it has not endorsed any aspirant? Who is the leader of the party and who calls the shots? Who would pay the piper during the primary election?

With time, these questions would be answered.

The part 2 of this piece would x-ray the Senator Ifeanyi Ararume factor in the race, and in the party. Ararume is a former senator, a former guber aspirant who wants to contest again, and an APC chieftain in the southeast. He is a household name in Imo political space.

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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