- Threaten showdown at Saturdayâ€™s congress
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State have cautioned that the party may disintegrate due to the high-handedness of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
The bone of contention, according to them is the desperate move by the governor to install his son-in-law as the governorship candidate of the party in the 2019 election.
Among the aggrieved party stakeholders who met with APC National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, wednesday in Abuja were, Senator Ben Uwajimogu, former commissioners, state Deputy Chairman of APC and other party stalwarts.
The leaders bemoaned the activities of the governor especially the manner in which he was going about the de-marketing of the ruling party through anti- people policies and actions.
Senator Uwajimpgu told journalists that the plot to install the governorâ€™s son- in-law will be stoutly resisted by Imo people and that it is important the party national leadership steps in to address the matter before APC is deserted in the state.
Addressing a press conference shortly after the meeting with the APC NWC, spokesman of the group, Okey Ikoro, said they are opposed to the hijacking of the party functions by the governor.
â€œWe came to lay our complaint to the NWC that our party in Imo State may go under if nothing was urgent to arrest the slide into crisis,â€ he said.
On the forthcoming ward congress, the group said they are prepared to face the governor and his agents on Saturday, adding that they are confident that the committee handling the exercise will be fair to all.
This is the highest organ of the party. The highest organ of the party is the only organ, even by our constitution that is empowered to bring peace to this party, and I do not think that the highest organ will leave this thing and sweep it under the table because they are also working for the success of this party.
â€œFurthermore, on Saturday, the ward congresses of the party will start and we know that what governor is planning is to hijack the ward congresses and give it to people that he wants, so he can completely privatise the party, that is why we have come here to present our grievances to the National Working Committee, so they will understand that it is very important that the congresses that will be conducted on Saturday will be transparent and the governor wonâ€™t be allowed to hijack the ward congresses,â€ he said.
Ikoro further alleged that the activities of the governor are driving people away from the APC.
According to the groupâ€™s spokesman, the insistence by Governor Okorocha that the governorship of APC must be his son-in-law has pitted him against the people.
They added that his in- law had gone further to inflame the relationship between the party and the Catholic church in the state by going to the church to attack the Catholic Archbishop .
Earlier, Oyegun tried to calm down the agitated party men assuring them of the determination of the NWC to see that peace returns to Imo chapter.
Oyegun said: â€œThere is nothing to celebrate in your report but the saving grace is that you are all dedicated and did not storm out of the party.
â€œSome controversies are necessary to bring about unity that will bring victory. Together, Imo State will be almost a certainty, but we will be in deep trouble if we are divided.
â€œWithout any prejudice, I want to assure you that we on our side will do everything possible to take up your complain and reservations.
â€œÂ´We will talk to the other side so that an acceptable compromise and understanding is reached to make it possible for us to work as one party and one political fighting force.
â€œI am certainly not unaware of the issues, as the partyÂ´s national chairman, all this things end up directly or indirectly on my desk.
â€œWhatever the rights and the wrongs of both sides, I am also conscious that victory can only come from a united fighting force, and to get unity, there must be justice,â€™ he said.
He said as far as the coming congresses were concerned, the partyÂ´s leadership was determined to ensure a free, fair and level playing field for all aspirants in spite of what anyone thinks,â€ he said.
He said Imo must lead in the South- east to ensure the partyÂ´s electoral victory in 2019, stressing that the unity of the party in the state was critical to achieving the feat.