By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
The faction of the coalition forces of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo state on Monday tightened their grip on the party following a successful conduct of the rescheduled local government areas congress of the party in the state.
This was just as the government’s faction of the party boycotted the exercise with the police taking over the state secretariat of the party, located at the Imo State University (IMSU) Junction.
The coaltion forces is a combination of political stakeholders led by the deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Senator Osita Izunaso, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, Senator Hope Uzodinma, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, Sir Jude Ejiogu, Hon. Jasper Azuatalam, Chief Tony Chukwu, amongst others.
Orient Daily correspondent who monitored the exercise, observed that the exercise took place peacefully in many local government areas while in some others like in Njaba and Owerri West council areas, some thugs made belated attempts to disrupt the congress.
According to information available to Orient Daily from the APC, the Congress Commitee assigned with the task of conducting the exercise in Imo state was led by Barr. Gabriel Tsenye who, alongside Deputy Chairman of Imo APC, Prince Ugochukwu Nzekwe, supervised the distribution of materials to the 27 local governments in the state.
In a statement signed by the state publicity secretary of the APC, Nwabueze Oguchienti, the party said the exercise went very peacefully and successfully.
While commending the state chairman of the party, Hilary Ekeh and members of the local government Congress Committee posted to the state for conducting a peaceful and successful congress, the party also appreciated the unity, maturity and commitment shown by the delegates and all party faithful in maintaining peace throughout the period of the exercise.
“Having successfully conducted the congress and winners emerged, we congratulate all the officers who were elected to lead our great party for another four years in their various local government areas and wish them a successful tenure.
“No doubt, with the success already recorded in the ward and local government congresses, it is our hope that the State Congress which is scheduled for Saturday, 19th May would follow the same pattern”, the party said.
Also the deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere commended “the gloriously successful” and peaceful conduct of the LGA congress.
In a message sent out through his Facebook page, the deputy governor said “There has not been any case of violence as everyone seems to be interested in ensuring the party is re-invigorated for the task ahead. In Mbaitoli, my local government, it was also very fair, free and peaceful. I commend everyone who participated and other party faithful across the twenty-seven local government for successful local government congresses. This is the change we promised – to make the electoral process open and all-inclusive and not just the sole prerogative of those with executive powers”.
However, Governor Okorocha, whose loyalists stayed away from the exercise, in a statement, said a new date for the ward and local government congresses would be announced by the National Working Committee (NWC), urging members of the party in the state to relax.
“The ward and local government congresses of the party must hold and in open fields and not in hotels, so that people can test their popularity”, a statement signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo stated.
It continued, “Action speaks louder than words. Those who think they are popular could not have stolen result sheets and would not have gone into hotels to write non-existent results.
“With the unfolding scenarios and incontrovertible evidences, Nigerians have seen that the sensitive materials meant for the ward congresses of the party in Imo were stolen in actual fact and thereby making the exercise not to take place on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
“The national chairman of the party, Chief John Oyegun had also told Nigerians that the local government congresses of the party will be on hold pending the outcome of the report of the appeal panel on Imo ward congresses.
“And since that public statement by the national chairman, he has not made any additional statement to that effect or any other statement in the contrary. So, all the rumours being posted on the social media on the conduct of local government congress in the state are neither here nor there.
“All these deceits will soon come to an and. Governor Okorocha brought APC in the South-East and nurtured it to this level and he has decided to take the party to the next level. In Imo, he dwarfed all the other political parties and won his elections in 2011 and 2015 and he is still Rochas Okorocha.. All these noise will soon evaporate and men will be separated from noise makers.
APC members in the state are responsible people. Imo people are responsible. And they know these unusual characters. After all the noise, we shall place them where they should be. The governor has refused to be provoked as a leader and as a father, and he will continue to be all that”.