â€¢ Oyegun, Izunaso, others must be imprisoned, says Imo gov
Omololu Ogunmade, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and Amby Uneze in Owerri
Following the inauguration of the newly elected state chairmen as well as that of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, it has emerged that some of the key actors in the nationwide congresses have lost out in their bid to control the party structures in their respective states.
In Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe lost his bid to stop the recognition of Ojukaye Amachree who belonged to the group loyal to the Transportation Minister Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the new state chairman.
A similar fate befell the Minister of Communications, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, whose effort to wrest the party structure in Oyo State from the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi, hit the rocks, as the candidate who emerged from the pro-Ajimobi state congress, Chief Akin Oke, was the one sworn in as new the APC chairman in the state.
Added to the frustration, Shittu was said to have been prevented from entering the venue of the inauguration on Monday.
His faction Tuesday announced that it was leaving the party to another one where their interests will be protected.
It was also an extension of his woes and nightmare for the embattled governor of Imo State Rochas Okorocha, who made spirited efforts to get the state congress results annulled, but could not convince the partyâ€™s National Working Committee (NWC) to do so.
Accordingly, it was the candidate of the â€˜Imo Restoration Coalitionâ€™ Hillary Eke who triumphed.
Reacting to the swearing-in of Eke, Okorocha declared Tuesday that he would not rest until he sees the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the National Organising Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso, and others imprisoned for dragging the party backwards.
In Kwara, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, attempted to test his popularity against Senate President Bukola Saraki, who has a firm grip on the party structures in his state.
However, the APC recognised Ishola Balogun Fulani as chairman. Fulani was elected chairman by the main faction of the party loyal to Saraki, while Moshood Bolarinwa, who was elected chairman by the Kwara APC faction loyal to Mohammed, was ignored.
The party also dumped Fouad Oki who was the chairman elected by a faction of the APC in Lagos and instead swore in Tunde Balogun, who was elected chairman by the main faction loyal to the National Leader of the APC, Chief Bola Tinubu.
The tussle for the control of the Enugu State chapter of the APC ended in favour of the group loyal to the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria Osita Okechukwu and the National Vice-Chairman (South-east) Emeka Eneukwu.
Ben Nwoye, who emerged from one of the parallel congresses backed by Okechukwu and Eneukwu, was confirmed by the party.
The NWC had in the wake of controversies over the conduct of parallel congresses by aggrieved groups issued a statement saying that it would not recognise any congress not conducted by its congress committees.
In the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, the party said there was no such thing as parallel congresses.
â€œThe only congress recognised by the party is that conducted in accordance with the party constitution, which was organised by the congress committee charged by the party to organise such congresses.
â€œWe therefore regard any so-called parallel congresses as an exercise in futility and attempt to cause confusion in the party,â€ APC had said.
In Kano, Abdullahi Abass, the candidate loyal to the state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, was also sworn in as the state chairman.
Among the newly sworn in state chairmen are Hon. Donatus E. Nwankpa (Abia), Alhaji Ibrahim Bilal (Adamawa), Hon. Ini Okopido (Akwa Ibom), Emeka Ibe (Anambra), Alhaji Uba Ahmed Nana (Bauchi), Jonathan L. Amos (Bayelsa), Comrade Abba Yari (Benue), Hon. Ali Bukar Dalori (Borno), Hon. Godwin Etim John (Cross River), Chief Cyril Abeye Ogodo (Delta), Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze (Ebonyi), Anslem U. Ojezua (Edo) and Nitte K. Amangal (Gombe),
Others include Hon. Ado Sani Kiri (Jigawa), Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekeda (rtd.) (Kaduna), Shittu S. Shittu (Katsina), Bala Sani Kangiwa (Kebbi), Abdullahi Bello (Kogi), Alhaji Tunde Balogun (Lagos), Philip Tatari Shekwo (Nasarawa), Muhammed Liman (Niger), Dikia Adebisi (Ogun), Ade Adetimehin (Ondo), Chief Akin Oke (Oyo), Hon. Letep M. Dabang (Plateau), Hon. Isa S. Achida (Sokoto), Alhaji Adamu Chilariye (Yobe), Alhaji Lawal M. Liman (Zamfara), Alhaji. Abdulmumini Vaki (Taraba) and Hon. Abdulmalik Usman (FCT).
Congresses did not hold in Ekiti and Osun States.
Okorocha Continues Rant
However, in reaction to the recognition of the rival faction of the party by the national executive of the APC, despite separate court injunctions ordering all parties to the suits to maintain the status quo, Okorocha said Tuesday that he would leave no stone unturned until he sees Oyegun, Izunaso and others imprisoned for dragging the party backwards.
He said with the manner Oyegun had piloted the affairs of the party, it was obvious that its leaders must have over-rated his capacity by allowing him to succeed Chief Bisi Akande as the national chairman of the party.
According to the Imo governor, Oyegun had taken the party backwards such that there is no state where party does not have crisis or faction.
â€œAgain, the way Chief Oyegun pursued the issue of tenure elongation also showed how selfish and greedy he is. He is not interested in the well-being or future of the party, but only interested in staying put as the national chairman of the party. That is why he is after anybody who opposed the tenure elongation.
â€œThe worst thing that would have happened to APC is to have allowed Chief Oyegun to continue as the national chairman of the party. It would have been worse for the party.
â€œChief Akande never tried to destroy the party because he was leaving as the pioneer chairman. But Oyegun wants to destroy the party because he is leaving. He is not patriotic,â€ Okorocha declared.
He further stated that in the case of Imo State, Oyegun disobeyed two court orders with regard to the congresses in the state, adding that the inauguration of â€œstrange elementsâ€ as the state officials of the party was done to get at him because he (Okorocha) fought against the tenure elongation.
According to the Imo governor, â€œWe have no option now than to ask our lawyers to press for his imprisonment and that of Osita Izunaso and all those who were involved in the lawlessness.â€
The governor said the only thing Oyegun achieved in the party was to anger him (Okorocha) by encouraging people like Osita Okechukwu (VON DG) and those from Imo State to insult him, noting: â€œThese are people who cannot win their booths in an election.â€
Speaking in the third party, Okorocha added: â€œThe same elements came together during the Anambra State governorship election. The governor (Okorocha) stayed away and at the end of the day, they could not justify their noise making.
â€œThey have started again. And these are people who have been contesting elections since 2007 and have not won any.
â€œChief Oyegun was also quoted to have said in an interview that the South-east or Imo APC stakeholders are united against Governor Okorocha. Let them hold a South-east or Imo rally at a venue and let Rochas hold his own at another location and letâ€™s see the outcome.
â€œIn case Chief Oyegun does not know, Imo APC members wonâ€™t allow any faction. The APC in Imo and even in the South-east is Governor Okorochaâ€™s making. And it will be foolish for anybody to think that he would build the party and allow cowards to take it over.
â€œIf they have the political strength, let them go and pick a party and present a candidate, it will be very interesting.â€