Convention: South-east APC stakeholders in disarray over choice of candidates
The crises rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seem to have taken new dimension as some members of the party in South-east disagreed on whom to present for the three National offices zoned to the region.
The party, ahead of June 23 National convention, had maintained its former zoning arrangements, where National Organising Secretary, National auditor and deputy National Secretary were zoned to South-east.
SAHEL STANDARD had earlier reported that the party is yet to resolve all the lingering crises that arose from ward, local and state congresses.
On Thursday, May 31, the South-east stakeholders of the party converged in Abuja to decide on three members of the party, who will represent the region for another four years among National Working Committee (NWC) after Oyegun-led tenure elapses.
Among the stakeholders who were in attendance include: former governor of old Abia State and minister of science and technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; former governor of Enugu state, Sulivan Chime; former governor of Ebonyi state, Martin Elechi; former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu and Jim Nwobodo.
Others were: leader of APC South-east caucus in the house of representatives, Hon. Raphael Igbokwe; Senator Ifeanyi Araraume; an aspirant of National Organising Secretary, Emma Obejiro; 24 members of Imo state house of Assembly among others.
While some stakeholders demanded replacement of current NWC members from South-east, some stakeholders said they had endorsed the continuity of three serving officers, who are: Osita Izunaso (National Organising Secretary), George Moghalu (National Auditor) and Orji Ugofa (deputy National Secretary).
Former governor of Abia state, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, who briefed newsmen after the meeting said the meeting was successful and convention committee chairman is already aware of the candidates South-east is putting forward for those three positions.
“We have a very successful, fruitful meeting and we have decided to endorse by affirmation from all the states, the return, through democratic means, of the three members of the national officers.
“They include: the National Organising Secretary, the Deputy National Secretary and the National Auditor. We have equally secured the support of the National Convention Committee chairman who is also the governor of Jigawa state.
“We have told him that they are our candidates and we did it through democratic arrangements. Few people might be very unsatisfied but in democracy, the majority about 93 per cent of the stakeholders in the hall endorsed the arrangement.”
On how they stakeholders intend to reconcile the aggrieved ones, the former Abia governor stressed, “Certainly, not everybody will agree. I remember when I contested as governor, not everybody voted for me. But I told you there are over 93 per cent of the stakeholders here that endorsed the arrangement.”
He equally spoke on the crisis rocking the party in the South-east, noting that, “There must be misunderstanding in every setting but all I am assuring you is that they will all be resolved.”
But reacting to the outcome of the meeting, governor of Imo state and chairman of progressives governors’ forum, Rochas Okorocha, described the meeting as “charade”.
He said there should be a level-playing ground for those interested in contesting the three positions zoned to the region, rather than imposing people on entire APC members in the South-east.
The leader of the South-east APC caucus in the house of representatives, Hon. Raphael Igbokwe, who spoke on behalf of the governor, said there was no democratic means for decisions taken during the meeting, alleging that 24 members of house Assembly were shut out.
According to him, Okorocha is the only face of APC in the entire South-east, saying, he remains leader of the party in the region.
He, however, urged the convention committee not to allow what can tamper the legality of constitution of the party, and allow level-playing ground for all contenders.