Monday 5 November 2018

Primaries: APC May Sanction Okorocha, Yari, Amosun, Akeredolu

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) may sanction four of its governors who are up in arms with the national leadership of the party owing to the fall-out of the just concluded primaries which did not go in their favour, Daily Independent has learnt.

According to a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) who spoke on condition of anonymity, though no established facts have been gathered against the governors, “their utterances and reports from their states show they are engaging in acts that may undermine the chances of the party in 2019 elections.”

According to him, Governors Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State are currently on the party’s watch-list over alleged anti-party activities.

In Ogun, it is alleged that Governor Amosun who lost out in his bid to ensure that his anointed candidate, Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, secures the APC ticket has already planted his key aides in the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) where Akinlade who lost the ticket to Dapo Abiodun may contest the governorship election.

Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, last week, stated that he was under intensive pressure to dump the party with his supporters.

In Imo, there have been series of protests against the APC by party members loyal to Okorocha, who also failed in his bid to secure the governorship ticket for his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who lost the primaries to Hope Uzodinma.

Last week, women and youths marched and barricaded the roads in the state and accused the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of impunity and high handedness, and vowed that they will not fold their arms and watch the national chairman of the party destroy APC in the state.

The South East leader for Buhari Campaign Organisation, Ugochi Okoro, who spoke on behalf of the women, noted that most of the current members of the party left their former parties for the same reasons witnessed in APC today.

“Oshiomhole should go back to his cocoon; we will not allow him to destroy APC. This is the party where our governor was called all manner of names, today, same people want to hijack the party and we say no.

“Oshiomhole should leave the party for us, Okorocha is our leader and we still stand by our president for second term; Imo youths will not stop supporting Uche Nwosu and Buhari, likewise we the women.”

In Ondo, a political pressure group within the APC in Ondo State, Rescue Mandate, had also accused Akeredolu of working against the chances of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming 2019 general election.

Speaking on these, our source said while the party believe that the issues will be resolved and the aggrieved governors will soon bury their grievances, it is monitoring the governors to know whether they are engaging in acts that are inimical to the success of the party in the forthcoming elections.

“Truth is, we have not established any anti-party activity against these governors other than protests by their loyalists and statements by the governors berating the national chairman and the party leadership. We believe that is normal and they are at liberty to ventilate their anger. But at the same time, we are monitoring them to know if they are engaging in acts that may undermine the party’s chances in the forthcoming elections.

“While we don’t want them to leave, we still believe it is better to come out and clean and join another party to realise your ambition if you feel you are denied in APC. The constitution allows freedom of association after all some of them were in another party before joining APC. What we will not allow is remaining in the party and working against its interest. That is anti-party activities and we will not hesitate to wield the big stick on whosoever is involved, no matter how highly placed.

“While the rumours of these anti-party activities are rife, we on our part believe that these aggrieved governors will not moot such ideas. 

Some of them are senatorial candidates on the platform of the party and as such we find it absurd how they can be asking their supporters to vote for another party”, our source said.

Our source also added that the party will soon announce a reconciliation committee which will address the multiple crises that arose from the primaries.

He said the committee whose membership will be announced this week may be headed by Senator Ken Nnamani, a former president of the Senate.

According to him, the committee’s task will be different from the one headed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who was appointed by President Buhari in February to reconcile aggrieved party members.

According to him, “Some stakeholders in the party have argued that Tinubu is not qualified to head the committee since he is also a warring party in most of the crises”.

When contacted, Lanre Issa-Onilu, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, said talks of anti-party activities on the part of the governors only exist in the realm of speculations.

“It is still in the realm of speculation. As at today, they are still members of APC. They are not just members but they are leaders of the party. So, it will be unfair to them to start pre-empting, speculating or doubting their commitment to the party,” he said.

However, speaking on the rumour that Governor Amosun has already planted his key aides in DPP where his preferred candidate, Akinlade, may contest the governorship election, an aide to the governor who refused to be named said the report only exists in the realm of speculation though the governor is yet to brief them on his future plans.

He, however, assured that Amosun will not dump the APC especially given his long standing relationship with the president.

“I really don’t know much about the DPP though we have been hearing the reports. The governor is the leader of APC in Ogun State and he has not told anyone that he is joining DPP.

“For now, nobody knows what the governor wants to do. He has not told anybody anything about the way forward but one certain thing I know is that he will not leave the APC and he will not engage in anti-party activities. He knows the implication of doing that.

“His closeness to President Buhari is too much for him to do anything that will jeopardise the chances of the president in Ogun.

“Other aggrieved party leaders in Ogun can engage in anti-party activities but the governor will surely not. The issue now is even if others do it, they will assume it is the governor that is financing or sponsoring them. So, he won’t do it”, he said.

I Remain APC Guber Candidate In Imo – Uche Nwosu

Meanwhile, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, son-in-law to Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and governorship aspirant for the 2019 general election, maintained on Sunday that he was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State despite the decision of the party to submit the name of his rival, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to INEC.

Nwosu, who broke his silence over the contentious matter also vowed to reclaim his mandate, no matter how long it would take him to do so.

He urged his supporters to remain calm and resolute in their demand for justice.

The former Chief of Staff to Governor Okorocha, who bared his mind before journalists in Abuja, expressed serious disappointment with Oshiomhole who, he said, promised much only to deliver nothing.

He said internal democracy had been thrown overboard by the party leadership in picking its flag bearer for Imo governorship in 2019.

Nwosu was particularly irked that the APC national chairman turned round to accept the Ahmed Gulak primary election report which he had earlier described as fake and a product of fraud before setting up another committee headed by a retired army officer.

The APC ticket claimant said he was surprised that Comrade Oshiomhole was claiming ignorance of subsisting court orders restraining APC from submitting any name to INEC from the Gulak report other than his own name.

“I envisaged this and I went to the party national secretariat. I wrote the first letter, wrote the second letter, wrote the third letter, asking our chairman that something is about to happen and he should come to my aid, but no aid was given by the national chairman.

“I went to court. I got a court order restraining the party from submitting any name that is not my name, restraining the party from accepting any name that is not my name.

“I got the second order from Owerri High Court restraining any name from the purported result that Gulak was parading but even with this the national chairman told us yesterday that he will go ahead and submit the name of Hope Uzodinma. It is unacceptable, what we saw yesterday is not democracy.

“Our chairman that we respect very well, what he did yesterday is not an internal democracy. I won that election. I remain the candidate of APC and nobody can take it away from me. It might take a while but let me state it and state it clearly, I am the candidate of APC and by the special grace of God come 2019 I have no doubt that I will be the governor of Imo State.”

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