By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Top functionaries of Imo state government and some chieftains of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC close to the Governor, Rochas Okorocha, have spoken of a grand plan by the governor’s faction of the party to dissolve into Action Alliance, AA to enable his Son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, realise his threatened governorship ambition. It is not clear whether the governor who has repeatedly warned that APC faces dire consequences in the South east should his Nwosu be denied the party’s guber ticket, will also immediately declare for AA.
There are also feelers that the Social Democratic Party, SDP is on the card. The Magazine gathered that some of Okorocha’s loyalists are mounting pressure on him to opt for SDP which they consider a better and more marketable platform than AA. The Governor is however, said to be more inclined towards AA but could have a change of heart and settle for SDP if convinced with superior logic. Okorocha’s exit from APC will be the seventh time he has switched parties since 1999.
Credible sources inform that the Imo state number one citizen who is also the APC senatorial candidate for Imo West is weighing two options: Get his faction of APC, loyalists, including members of his cabinet, state lawmakers among others, to move to AA enmass while he stays back in APC to realise his senatorial ambition but at the same time work for the election of Nwosu on AA’s platform, and that of President Muhammadu Buhari, or have a clean break with APC by dropping the party’s senatorial ticket and moving to the AA alongside his camp where he will now run still run for the senate.
The magazine gathered that the move followed the refusal of the APC national leadership to accede to Okorocha’s request that Nwosu be recognised as the authentic Imo APC gubernatorial candidate for next year’s governorship election. Multiple sources close to the APC National Working Committee, NWC confirmed to The Source that in obedience to Court order, the party has validated the candidature of Senator Hope Uzodinma and will accordingly submit his name to the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC as APC governorship flagbearer for Imo.
Imo APC parades two factional governorship candidates – Nwosu and Senator Uzodinma. Senator Uzodinma who represents Imo West in the Senate emerged candidate in a primary conducted by Ahmed Gulak. However, that exercise became a subject of dispute when Okorocha’s faction rejected its outcome, describing it as Kangaroo.
The heat generated by Uzodinma’s victory and Gulak’s alleged partisanship later forced the national leadership of the party to pronounce the primary cancelled and organised a fresh one which all other aspirants, including Uzodinma and the state’s Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere boycotted. Gulak has since denied any partisan role in the exercise but rather accused Okorocha of an attempt to manipulate the process which he resisted.
Dissatisfied by APC’s action, Uzodinma headed to an Abuja High Court where he got a favourable judgement. The Court had asked the party to show cause why his name should not be forwarded to INEC as the duly elected candidate. Apart from his Court victory, Uzodinma’s hand was further strengthened by the decision of all the aspirants who contested the ticket with him to write to the APC national leadership, not only acknowledging that the Senator indeed defeated them at the primary but also to endorsed him as the bonafide candidate.
Okorocha’s last ditch effort to force APC’s hand saw hundreds of his supporters protesting in Owerri, the state capital, on Wednesday, demanding that the Adams Oshiomhole led APC NWC submit Nwosu’s name to INEC.
Meanwhile, Okorocha’s alleged choice of AA as an alternative platform for his Son-in-law, this magazine has been told, was informed by his previous romance with the party. AA was one of the parties Okorocha fraternised with during his political prostitution. A founding member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Okorocha left the party following his failure to grab its gubernatorial ticket for the 1999 Imo governorship election.
In the run up to the 2003 general elections, he berthed in the defunct All People’s Party, APP; contested the party’s presidential ticket but lost to Buhari. Okorocha’s next port of call was the AA where he became almost the sole financier. His presence in the party gave it a semblance of popularity, especially as he had announced he would contest the 2007 presidential election on its platform.
However, many were shocked in late 2006 when Okorocha appeared at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the PDP national convention to select its presidential flag bearer for the 2007 presidential election, as one of the party’s presidential aspirants.
In 2011, the outgoing Imo state governor yet ditched PDP. This time around, he pitched his tent with the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, which at that time, because of its nexus with the late Head of State of the defunct Republic of Biafra, General Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was a mass movement in the South east. In circumstances that are still hazy, Okorocha effortlessly grabbed the APGA gubernatorial ticket, displacing the leader of the party in the state, Chief Martin Agbaso who had also declared interest for the ticket.
Waving Ojukwu’s portraits at every campaign, Okorocha won the 2011 Imo governorship election, defeating the incumbent, PDP’s Ikedi Ohakim. However, in February 2013, he left APGA to join the then fledgling APC.