A chieftain and founding member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Ikechi Emenike, has assured supporters of the sanctity of his candidacy in the 2019 Abia governorship election. Emenike stated that the controversy trailing the APC’s governorship primary in the state would be resolved in his favour either by the party leadership or the court of law.
Emenike was declared winner (Obidikee1) of the APC governorship primaries held on September 30 by Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe’s faction of Abia State’s APC. Prof. Okezie Abariukwu, Chief Returning Officer, announced in Umuahia that Emenike received a total of 274,133 votes to defeat other six contenders in the party’s governorship primary election. His name was, however, omitted from the list the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He described the list of candidates forwarded to INEC as Adams Oshiomhole’s “private list” that would not stand the test of the law. (Oshiomhole is the National Chairman of APC). “I believe strongly that that list is, perhaps at best, Governor Oshiomhole’s ‘private list,’ which he used his office to forward to INEC. And I’m reassuring the vast supporters of the APC that it will not be the final list at the end of the day,” Emenike said.
He regretted that the APC was saddled with a national chairman that shows disdain for court orders and pronouncements. “Ultimately, we have to wait and see how it pans out. A lot of us who are governorship candidates are in court. And as long as Nigeria is a country governed by the rule of law and practices constitutional democracy, the antics of one man cannot prevail. So, I believe quite frankly that the list is not going to be final,” Emenike said.
Notwithstanding the temporary setback on realising his governorship aspiration, has called on aggrieved members not to leave the party because of the antics of Oshiomhole.“The bottom line, like we tell our members, is to still remain in the party. And that is the good news because, before, virtually everybody would have jumped out of the party. But the attitude is that we are the pioneer members of the party and should not leave the party we founded and nurtured for new entrants to take over,” Emenike said.
He expressed optimism that APC would recover all the grounds it lost due to the controversy that trailed the party governorship primaries and the forwarding of Oshiomhole’s “private list” of candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The good news, according to him, is that all the candidates are in the field campaigning for victory without waiting for the final list to come out. “I have visited all the 17 local governments in Abia State twice and have embarked on another round of campaign since November 12. So, we are not waiting for the list of INEC to come out. We are hopeful that at the end of the day justice will prevail,” he said.
The chieftain of APC has also urged his party members to ensure that the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 presidential election. “I believe that the challenge is for all APC people to believe in the party very strongly and work hard to guarantee the re-election of President Buhari for a second term in office in 2019,” Emenike said.
Eminike decried as unfortunate that APC should have a party chairman who liked to dwell on impunity at a time when it was preparing to go all out for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates of the party.
He, however, disagreed with those calling for the removal of Oshiomhole as the national chairman of the party. “I do not think that calling for the removal of anybody, especially the national chairman of the party, at this particular time should be the way to go. But it is just unfortunate that at this point in the history of the APC when we are going for the first re-election of our president and officers of the party, that we should have a chairman who dwells on impunity. Who feels that he can do anything and get away with it and wants to restructure or print the party to meet preconceived image,” he said, adding that “calling for the removal of Oshiomhole may not be the solution. It will give too much weight to what some people think one man can do.”
Emenike said that he would rather encourage members of the party to work harder and demonstrate to Oshiomhole and his like mind that there is a limit to impunity. “That certainly this party is beyond one man. And that is what we are out to demonstrate moving forward. Because the bottom line is that what is worth doing is worth doing well,” he said.