Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The supremacy battle between the two factions of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State has intensified following a failed bid to suspend the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 general election, Mr. Alex Otti.
The faction of the party led by Rev. Augustine Ehiemere had on July 15 announced the suspension of Otti along with the state chairman of APGA, Hon. Nkem Okoro, citing alleged anti-party activities including Otti’s decision to challenge the outcome of the Abia 2019 governorship poll at the tribunal.
But the Hon. Okoro-led APGA which controls the party secretariat has fired back, saying that the purported suspension of Otti by a factional leadership was a joke taken too far by “impostors”.
In a statement issued by the state publicity secretary of APGA, Hon. Ebere Uzoukwa, the party said that the purported suspension of Otti and Okoro “by some impostors masquerading as executive members of the party in the state” holds no water.
According to the party both Ehiemere and his factional secretary, Sunday Onukwubiri lacked the power to suspend any legitimate leader of Abia APGA as personified by Otti and Okoro.
“The leadership of APGA in Abia State, wishes to reiterate that the duo of Augustine Ehiemere and Sunday Onukwubiri do not belong to the executive of our great party at any level in the state hence they lack powers and authority to suspend Dr. Alex Otti or any other member of our great party.
“It is a public knowledge that Ehiemere, Onukwubiri and a few dissidents from our party regrouped shortly after the 2019 general elections and shamelessly aligned with the Peoples Democratic Party and Government of Abia State to frustrate Dr. Alex Otti’s petition at the Abia State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia,” he said.
The publicity secretary said that Ehiemere and his and his “band of renegades” had indeed “offered themselves as willing tools and surrendered to the whims of our oppressors and enemies of the state to destabilize APGA”.
He alleged that the PPD controlled state government had engaged lawyer to ambush Otti at the tribunal “for the purpose of striking out APGA as the second petitioner in the case filed by Dr. Alex Otti challenging the sham called 2019 Governorship election in Abia”.
However he stated that gainsaying that “the evil plan (to ambush Otti) failed woefully immediately the new APGA leadership under Hon. Nkem Okoro emerged a few months ago”.
Hon Uzoukwa said that having failed to scuttle Otti’s petition, it was not a surprise that “these unscrupulous but political hawks have resorted to yet another wild goose chase still orchestrated to deny Abians the much yearned liberation as championed by Dr. Alex Otti”.
He therefore enjoined APGA members, sympathisers and Nigerians at large to disregard the suspension of Otti and Okoro by “these unmasked political jobbers pay-rolled and funded by the PDP led Government of Abia State to destabilise Abia APGA and derail the wheel of Justice at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal”.