It seems as if the battle line has just been drawn in Imo state as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has suspended the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, from the party for engaging in alleged anti-party activities which boarders with his “romance with the newly formed APC party.
Rising from an emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting Saturday in Abuja, the party said NEC unanimously decided to dissolve the Imo State chapter of the party’s executive, replacing it with a 21-man committee to be appointed to oversee the party until a new congress is held.
“The NEC unanimously resolved to suspend with immediate effect the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okoroacha, from the party, for gross anti-party activities, bordering on his involvement with the All Progressives Congress (APC), contrary to the clear provisions of the APGA constitution.
“The NEC also unanimously resolved to dissolve the Imo State executive committee of APGA with immediate effect. A 21-man caretaker committee shall be appointed to run the affairs of the party in Imo pending the conduct of state congress,” it said.
The party approved APGA’s electoral guidelines for the state governorship primary election for the 2013 poll and afterwards adjoined its sitting till August 31.
Meanwhile, Umeh has debunked insinuations that he received N8 billion from the Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi to enter into the peace pact over the crisis in the party.
Umeh said rather, the July 15 judgement of the Court of Appeal Enugu Division which had upheld his appeal and affirmed him as the national chairman of APGA was the catalyst that brokered the peace.
Umeh spoke when he visited the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and APGA governorship aspirant Uche Ekwunife to commiserate with her over a ghastly motor accident she had in Abuja. The National Vice-Chairman of APGA (South-West), Alhaji Tayo Sowunmi, who read out the resolutions of the NEC meeting said the party leaders discussed preparations for the Anambra governorship election and approved guidelines for the exercise.
He said barely three days after the party invited aspirants to declare interest in the race, 14 persons have already collected the expression of interest form, paying N10 million for men and N5 million for women.
“We have opened the sale of the expression if interest forms from the 29 of July and August 2 and by the close of work on August 2, 14 people have taken the expression of interest forms.
“The people who have taken the expression of interest forms will be expected to pick the nomination forms and will be screened and face the primaries; the forms for the males is N10 million and to encourage women to actively participate, the women will pay N 5 million,” he stated.
Sowumi said the NEC again restated that it is not part of APC as some of their governors have mischievously made it a point of duty to include the APGA logo in their advertorials.
“We had demanded an apology from Fashola and the payment of N20 billion, and Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura repeated the same thing in a national daily and we will be demanding the sum of N5 billion from him,” he said.
“We call on all the parties that are involved in the Anambra State Government to stick to the code of conduct signed with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and shun all acts capable of causing confusion during the elections,” he said.
Speaking shortly after the NEC meeting, National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, said the meeting was summoned to prove that the party’s crisis has come to an end.
He said with return of peace amongst the key stakeholders, APGA will definitely regain the governorship seat in the November 16 election.
“APGA is set to retain the governorship of Anambra State come November 16. We welcome all other parties to engage us in the context but we advise that they avoid acts that will cause problems during the elections,” he said.
Umeh also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a level playing ground for all parties.
“We are calling for a level playing ground and fair-play. It is therefore important that all political parties that are participating in the contest should keep to the code of conduct and avoid anything that will mar the exercise. People should shun brigandage,” he said.
At the NEC meeting Saturday, the Commissioner of Works in Anambra State, Architect Calitus Ilozumba, represented the Governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi.
Umeh said: “I am very happy that I and my brother Governor Obi have reconciled and I want to assure you that this reconciliation is for real and not superficial, we did it for the sake of the state, the people, the party and we believe that there is the need to move the party forward. When I told a woman that you had an accident, she collapsed which goes to show that you live for the people.”
On statements credited to Maxi Okwu that he will not accept the peace , Umeh said: “Well I did not expect anything less from Maxi Okwu and his cohorts. Maxi Okwu is not a member of the party. We had maintained that, he was expelled from the party since 2005, like I said some people wanted to exploit the division between me and my brother to make money and this reconciliation will bring that business to an end.