There is palpable fear and huge unrest among aspirants wishing to run with the APC ticket in Imo following what many of them have described as the plot to deny them of the Party’s ticket unless they openly endorse the Governor’s Son-in-law and chief of staff Ugwumba Uche Nwosu.
It was gathered that some of the aspirants who had initially pitched tents with Governor Okorocha have become disillusioned over his strong stance of imposing his son-in-law on them. They complain that eventhough they owe hierarchical submission to the Governor, “we also have our allegiances to those who we can refer to as our political fathers and mentors in this game of politics” they said.
This position, as gathered has even become worse following the recent statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, declaring as illegal the tenure elongation of the APC national chairman Chief John Odigie Oyegun and other Party officials.
It could be recalled that many of the Party faithful in Imo have deserted Governor Rochas Okorocha and have pitched their tents with either Eze Madumere or Sen.Ifeanyi Araraume following the decision of the National Executive Council to extend the tenure of the existing executive by one year, a move that was said to have dealt a big blow on Governor Okorocha.
Okorocha as alleged had planned, prior to that meeting, to replace the entire Imo APC leadership structure, including State Chairman Hilary Ekeh, with fresh faces deemed to be loyal to him. However that plan was said to have backfired in Abuja as over 90 percent of the delegates voted against dissolution of the current executive structure of the Party. However, there is the string of fear among many of the aspirants as to whether Governor Okorocha will allow such atmosphere as could allow the Party’s ticket to be gotten by merit.
They hinge their fear upon the argument that should President Mohammadu Buhari’s position against tenure elongation see the light of day, then Governor Okorocha will have the luxury of seeing off the entirety of the current APC leadership in the State from ward to State level and occupy same with his acolytes whose bidding will include to nail those suspected to be nursing reservations about the Uche Nwosu’s project.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, March, 27, reportedly described as illegal the tenure elongation for the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun, and other elected officials of the party. The president demanded that the decision to extend the party’s national working committee (NWC) led by Oyegun, be reconsidered and reversed.
According to the president, who spoke at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, said the extension decided upon at the party’s NEC meeting on February 28 is against the constitution of the APC. It was learnt that the party officials and members who attended the meeting did not expect Buhari’s pronouncement calling for the cancellation of the tenure extension for Oyegun.
Buhari spoke before the commencement of NEC meeting in favour of the cancelling of the tenure extension decision. “On my own part, I have taken some time to review and seek advice on the resolution. And what I found is that it contravenes both our party constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “While the APC constitution, in article 17(1) and 13.2(B), limits the tenure of elected officers to four years, renewable once by another election, the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended), in section 223, also prescribes periodic elections for party executives at regular intervals, which must not exceed four years.
“Furthermore, article 31 of our party constitution provides that any principal officer wishing to re-contest or contest for another post, must resign from his current post at least one month before the election “In this circumstance, what is expected of us is to conduct fresh elections, once the tenure of the current executives approaches its end.
A caretaker committee cannot remedy this situation, and cannot validly act in place of elected officers,” the president said. Buhari said he changed his mind over the extension of tenure for Oyegun and others because he does not want the party’s activities to be faulted by any court of law.The report said the NEC members were shocked because the issue was not part of the agenda circulated to members and was not discussed at the national caucus meeting which held at the Presidential Villa previously. During a NEC meeting of the party on February 28, the tenure of members of National Working Committee (NWC) led by John Odigie-Oyegun was extended by one year.
It was earlier reported that the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said that the fate of John Odigie-Oyegun would be decided on Tuesday, March 27, during the party’s National Executive Council meeting. The report said that he said this in an interview with the State House correspondents late Monday night, March 26, after the three-hour caucus meeting of the party presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
As gathered, the camps of Eze Madumere and Araraume respectively have been welcoming loyalists, supporters and aspirants who according to findings have nursed disaffection over the Uche Nwosu’s endorsement saga. The defecting loyalists had seized the initial decision of APC NEC to extend Party official’s tenure, as a gate way to desert Okorocha. However, it is not yet known what will become of some of them should the President’s push for the cancellation of the elongation prevail and thereby landing Governor Okorocha the upper hand.