Leaders of APC in Okigwe Senatorial zone are presently banking on the intervention of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari who is now expected to use his position to effect a total cancellation and subsequent repeat of the last National Assembly election in the area. This was the result of a reported dialogue between the incoming President and the National leaders of the party. General Muhammadu Buhari was said to have compelled Accord Party leaders to press for an annulment.
Meanwhile, the embattled suspended Chairman of Accord Party in the state, Elder ThankGod Ibe who was accused of diverting funds meant for the party into his private bank account at UBA for which the expanded Executive Committee of the party summoned him for explanations and following which he was slammed with an indefinite suspension, has successfully secured an order for a substituted service on Chief Athan Achonu, the Senator elect for Okigwe zone, also called Imo North Senatorial District. Achonu was accused of evading service even while attending the induction and orientation course organized for all newly elected National Assembly legislators at Abuja. The Tribunal ordered that the service and court summons should be pasted at the PDP Secretariat. A chieftain of APC in the Okigwe LGA who also served as the Campaign Director for Rt. Hon. Ben Uwajumogu, who was the APC Senatorial candidate, disclosed that General Muhammadu Buhari has since reached out to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Accord party with a view to discrediting the Acting Chairman of the party, in Imo State, Comrade Bryan O.C. Agu and his expanded Executive team so that the Tribunal could ignore them and continue to deal with the suspended Chairman of the party Elder Ibe, until the election is successfully cancelled and repeated. It also revealed that General Muhammadu Buhari has handed a marching order that the Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha must deliver Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu, as Senator in any re-scheduled or repeated election after the tribunal must have nullified the emergence of Achonu, the one hand General.
According to the Arondizuogu born hospitality industry proprietor, “nothing will stand on the way of APC securing the cancellation of the election of Chief Athan Nneji Achonu, especially now that General Buhari has personally interfered with the matter”. However, some political observers in the state were quick and expectedly able to fault the claim that General Muhammadu Buhari or anyone else for that matter will force the hands of a party other than his to ignore due process in obtaining justice. This they claim is not in the character of Buhari who is globally acclaimed to be incorruptible and uncompromising especially when the issue involved has anything to do with fraud or mismanagement of public funds.
To act otherwise is to say the least, an indication that Buhari is now willing to compromise on his integrity and do the unthinkable in a bid to recover for APC a senatorial victory despite enjoying a comfortable majority in the National Assembly. And what on earth would be the reason for such undue interference, they ask? It was not however confirmed at press time whether the Bryan O.C Agu led Accord Party in the state has received a stay of execution order from the court as allegedly directed by Buhari. Ibe had while seeking for a stay of execution of the suspension admitted that while members of his executive have the capacity and potentials of removing him from office.
For now, not much has been heard of the principal plaintiff in the legal battle, Dr (Mrs.) Rita Ibemere Okoroafor who was the candidate of the Accord Party in the last senatorial election in Okigwe zone. Reports from her hometown Umuduruegbeaguru in Onuimo LGA of Imo State reveal that she has since totally gone into hiding in compliance with the conditions handed over to her before she was allegedly offered the sum of N11 Million to institute the Tribunal petition challenging the election of Chief Athan Nneji Achonu based on the missing logo of Accord Party on the ballot of the Saturday March 28, 2015 held National Assembly Election in the state. Her disappearance they said was deliberate so as to avoid any contact with Achonu who may be willing to make very mouth watering offers to force her to withdraw the petition already challenging his election. As at press time, it was gathered that the matter has been scheduled for hearing again on the 6th of June, 2015. However, the factional Accord Party executives led by Agu have concluded plans to join in the suit based on the belief that as a suspended State Chairman, Elder ThankGod Ibe lacks the requisite locus standi, privilege or right to institute any legal or Tribunal matter on-behalf of the Imo State Chapter of Accord Party.
When contacted, Elder ThankGod Ibe, he insisted he remains the substantive Chairman of Accord Party in Imo and that it is on personal conviction that he proceeded to court challenging the said election in which his party logo was omitted. According to him, those peddling such rumour that he has been suspended are enemies of the party who are not even members.