Crisis in Imo APC as  NWC, Okorocha Head for Showdown

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Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
There were strong indications on Tuesday that the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee (NWC)) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State are heading towards a political showdown over intra-party dispute.

 A member of the party’s NWC told THISDAY that the national leadership of APC was not happy with the Imo State governor over his refusal to obey the directiive of the national headquarters concerning the unlawful suspension of some state officials of the party.

 According to the APC source, “Some time ago, the governor of Imo State directed the state branch executive of our party to suspend the chairman and the entire executive of Isiala Mbano Local Government Area and ward executive.

 “Believing that the action of the governor was unlawful, the national headquarters of APC wrote a letter dated June 13, 2017, and signed by the party National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire(SAN), and addressed to the chairman of state APC, directing him to reverse the action. But as I speak to you, Okorocha has told the state’s party leadership not to carry out our directive.

 “I am sure the governor knows that the constitution of our party has no provision for a state chairman to unilaterally suspend or remove any officer of the party. Consequently, we have advised our Imo State executive to continue to accord all the so-called suspended officials the recognition their offices deserve.’’

 The APC national leader, who spoke to THISDAY in confidence, said he was not happy that Okorocha’s leadership in the state is setting a very treacherous precedence by exhibiting such high level of indiscipline, and rebellious activities against constituted authority of the national leadership of the party, noting that party exco at all levels swore to an oath of allegiance at inauguration to uphold and abide by the dictates of the party’s constitution.

 “Recently, during a meeting to discuss the processes for a mini congress and other party issues, scene of carnage was averted when more than 30 thugs stormed the state APC secretariat in Owerri in three buses; the thugs assaulted and beat up some members of the party exco, journalists and some party members.

“At that meeting, all the elected local government chairmen were present, but when the APC state Chairman, Dr. Hillary Eke, sighted the Ezinihitte and Isiala Mbano chairmen, Stanley Onwukwe and Julius Asagwara respectively, whom he unilaterally suspended against the directive of the national headquarters of our party, he quickly stood up, confronted and started pushing them out of the secretariat,” the NWC member further stated.

 He added that “when they resisted him because of our letter, the thugs they brought, descended on some of our members, gave them a free rein of havoc and mayhem, with many people sustaining various degrees of injuries, while some lost valuable personal items.

 “And there are strong evidence that the state government is behind these ostensible criminal and unhealthy activities; we are worried because if not properly handled, the actions of the governor will surely affect the fortunes of our party in the state.’’

 The NWC member said the leadership of APC would not fold its hands and allow the selfish ambition of a few members to destroy the structures of the party in the state.