Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande
• 22 APGA state chairmen defect to APC
•Party declares support for Okorocha
•… Faults PDP over Offa council poll
•Ngige receives certificate of return
Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Hammed Shittu
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said it will leave its doors open for a working relationship with the aggrieved seven governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Rising from a meeting of the 11 APC governors and the interim National Executive at the party’s secretariat late Thursday in Abuja, the party said about 22 former state chairmen and five national officers of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) were formally received into APC.
Addressing journalists after the governors' meeting, the interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, denied insinuations that APC might be behind the PDP quarrel, which led to the factionalisation of the party.
"We should not be blamed for the PDP implosion. Whatever is happening in the PDP is self-inflicted and is long awaited because the party does not know how to run its affairs properly," he said.
Mohammed further said the problem with the PDP was that it did know how to manage its success, adding that the APC was poised to lead by example and to show how a national party could be organised.
Speaking while presenting the 22 state chairmen and five national officers of APGA, who allegedly defected to APC, the National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, said the party had every reason to celebrate the addition to its fold.
He charged the former APGA members to ensure that they work harder to deliver their various states to APC.
Names of APGA state chairmen include, Prince Adeshina Olayokun (Lagos), Assistant National Legal Adviser, Chief Olufumilayo Onwubiko , Chief Oby Ezenna (Assistant National Woman Leader South-west), Prince Atep Fredrick (Cross River), Hon. Nuhu Muhammed Umar, (Kogi), Simon Onyema Charma ( Kaduna), Victoria Y. Buba (Woman Leader Kaduna) Musa Balarabe (Yobe).
Others are Mrs. Kelechi Ononiwu (Assistant Woman South-south), Dr. Tracy Ighor (Taraba), Nwogu Kingsley (Nasarawa), Rabiu Umar (Sokoto), Wilson Myenguron (Adamawa), Adamu Dahiru (Katsina), Bashiru Muhammed (Kebbi), Shauibu Kawu (Niger), Muhammed Abubakar (Gombe), Muhammed Lawal (Borno), and A. A. Idris (Kano).
Meanwhile, in preparation for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, the APC governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Chris Ngige, was yesterday presented with the certificate of return.
In the same vein, the APC in the South-east has thrown its weight behind the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, following the threat by his former party, APGA to oust him from office.
Reacting to the move, a chieftain of APC, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said: “We are happy that APGA has postponed Chief Rochas Okorocha's sack to 2015. Were they not the one who boasted that they will dethrone him if he publicly joined the APC?' We recall how Chief Victor Umeh, boasted that he will sack Owelle immediately he declared publicly for APC.
"We read the amusement story by APGA that they will sack Okorocha by 2015; wondering whether the core ingredient of elections, which is performance has changed? Even traducers of Owelle's administration agree that he has under two years embarked on massive transformation of infrastructure and social services in Imo State."
The APC, however, used the opportunity to chastise the break-away leaders of the (New PDP) for their failure to distance themselves from the negative vices for which their parent body was being taunted.
The party said the so-called New PDP had a chance to use the Offa local government area election to show that it was different from the old PDP, which it accused of lacking in internal democracy and not having regard for the rule of law.
In a statement issued by Mohammed, after the NEC meeting, the party said everyone who witnessed or monitored the Offa election had confirmed that the APC won the election convincingly.
''It is now clear that the saying, that 'fruit does not fall far from the tree', is true for the so-called New PDP. Presented with a chance to show that it is different from its vote-stealing, violence-peddling and impunity-prone 'father', the New PDP failed the test by engaging in bare-faced conversion of defeat to victory in Offa and then daring the party that has been robbed to go to court," it said.
While condemning the alleged 'vote robbery' by the PDP in last Saturday's rerun election, APC said the action showed that the PDP, whether old or new, was irredeemable.
''What message is the New PDP sending to the world when it could engage in such impunity in Offa? What other argument does it have now that one of its candidates, on whose behalf votes were stolen, has said his conscience and religion would not let him take what is not his?" the party asked.
The party said the impunity perpetrated by the PDP had started hunting it, after its candidate in the Shawo South-west Ward, Mr. Afolabi Jimoh Olawole, repudiated his so-called victory, just like one of the presiding officers, Mr. Oyetunji Akeem, said the APC won the councillorship and chairmanship in Shawo Central Ward.
''This is a damning evidence that should make it clear to the PDP that its impunity cannot stand, that there are still Nigerians who have conscience and would sacrifice even their political and other careers for their integrity," the party stressed.
Consequently, the APC hailed both Olawole and Akeem for their decency and honesty, stressing that both of them displayed very rare attributes in today's Nigeria under the watch of the PDP. The party expressed the hope that all the other partakers in Saturday's monumental electoral heist would emulate these rare species of mankind.