APC Appeal Panel Upholds Imo Congresses Amid Protests


• Okorocha’s attempt to cancel congresses fails

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) appeal committee has rectified the ward and local government congresses held in Imo State, effectively putting paid to the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the congresses.

The approval by the committee came just as members of the Imo State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Hon. Acho Ihim, stormed the APC national secretariat in Abuja last Tuesday along with some party stakeholders from the state to protest against the outcome of the congress.

Okorocha had earlier met President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo to protest alleged malfeasance during the last two congresses in his state and to demand their cancellation.

However, the appeal panel report has dismissed the petition by aggrieved stakeholders on grounds that it lacked merit.

In the report submitted by Imo State Congress Committee and signed by its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Tutare, the panel held that the congress committee mandated to conduct the exercise has confirmed that the exercise actually took place in the state.

The appeal committee further said those who wrote the petition against the congress were unqualified persons.

According to the report, “The congress committee presented video evidence to support their position that the congress actually held in the state.”

The Speaker of the state assembly who led some members of the House of Representatives and 24 members of the state assembly to a meeting with the APC national chairman, said they had come to the national headquarters of the party to protest against the conduct of congress in Imo State.
He said they mobilised the 24 members of the state assembly in order to show how serious the matter is to the party stakeholders in the state.

Ihim said the lawmakers and governor still have implicit confidence in the ability of the NWC to resolve the matter.

The Speaker said: “We are here to reaffirm that there was no congresses in the 305 wards in the state, and we demand that a categorical statement be made by the party for a new date that fresh congresses of the party will be held

“As for the discussions we had with the national chairman, that was an in-house thing, but we have affirmed our stand with our governor, and we are still with him. He is the face of the APC in the South-east region. Of course, the young man has done so well that without him, there would have been no APC in the region in the first place. Imo State in particular is the fulcrum of APC and it cannot be toyed with.

“We demand that the constituted statement and announcement be made about the congresses that did not hold. The new date should be announced and the whole things should be ratified and there will be peace in the state.

“The shenanigans that we saw can never be taken for congresses. We are taking this very seriously, and that is why honourable members of APC extractions combined with the House of Representatives are here to affirm same, that there was no congress and we never took it to have been held, and we here are saying that we support Okorocha,” he said.

When asked the view of legislators on the move by the governor to endorse his son-in-law, Ihim said the governor has a right to support anyone for elective office.