By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
As the 2019 general election draws nearer, a group of political strategists working for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari is worried by the lingering crisis within the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-east geo-political zone of the country.
In a strategic paper recently prepared for the president, the group said that unless some ‘’critical and influential’’ aggrieved members of the party in the zone were reconciled with the party, it would be ‘’extremely, if not impossible’’, for APC to make any meaningful in-road to the zone in the coming general election.
Making reference to a situation where Governor Roachas Okorocha of Imo State-led group has its own factions across the zone, especially in Imo State, while side-lining the major group being led by Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume, the embattled deputy governor and Senator Osita Izuanso, the strategic paper noted that ‘’making Governor Okorocha the face of APC in the South-east’’ wouldn’t help President Buhari’s political course in the 2019 general election.
The group made reference to the recent political rally called by Governor Okorocha in Imo State that was attended by the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and boycotted by the party’s leaders in the zone, as very dangerous signal for the APC.
The paper advised President Buhari to prevail on Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) of APC not to do anything that will undermine the prosperity of the party in the zone, especially in Imo for his friend, in order to please his friend, Governor Okorocha.
‘’For example, in Imo State, everything must be done not to allow Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and his group leave the party; from our findings, the group is clearly the soul of APC in Imo State’’, the group advised the president.
The crisis in the zone, especially in the Imo State chapter of APC, has been lingering since the controversial national convention of the party, leading to fictionalisation of the party in the zone, especially in Imo where there are currently two state executives.
Oshiomhole, recently sworn in Daniel Nwafor as the new Imo State chairman of the party, in spite of an order by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, which restrained the party from conducting fresh congresses in Imo State.
The state APC had experienced parallel congresses between Governor Rochas Okorocha’s faction and that loyal to Senator Araraume/Izunaso/deputy governor, Eze Madumere.
The former national leadership of the APC led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, recognized Araraume-led faction led heads by Hillary Eke despite concerns raised by the governor.
Speaking after administering the oath of office to the new state chairman, Mr Oshiomhole charged the chairman to do everything possible to ensure all members irrespective of the side they are on are carried along in the operations of the party, promising that the national leadership will work with Mr Okorocha to ensure that varied interests are also integrated into the new party structure.