SPECIAL REPORT: BY GREG IWU
The All Progressive Congress, APC, Imo State chapter has continued to tear to shreds. The reasons are not far fetched. Several factors are responsible for this anomaly.
Chief among these factors are plans by Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha to have his son-in law and Chief Of Staff, Uche Nwosu succeed him in 2019. Okorocha, according to the aggrieved APC leaders is also planing to install his wife, Nneoma Rochas as Senator to represent Imo West Senatorial Seat in 2019. Also the governor is alleged to be scheming for his in- law, Chuks Ololo have the Owerri Federal Constituency seat.
Many APC leaders in the State are not comfortable with the manner Okorocha runs the APC administration in the State filing key positions of government with his family members. His In- law, Anthony Anwuka, is the Minister of State, Education. Several other key positions in his government are also run by his relatives.
This has become intoreable for the aggrieved APC stakeholders in the State who are regrouping to battle Okorocha for the APC governorship ticket in 2019. Majority of them are based in Abuja with extensive and far reaching political contacts and networks within and outside the ruling party.
A former House of Reps member, Uche Onyeagocha is the most vocal of the pack of Imo State Abuja based political warlords in the APC from the State. Recently, he resigned as a member of the State Development Council SDC. He accused the governor of deliberately creating the SDC to serve as a political platform for Uche Nwosu’s governorship ambition in 2019. Onyeagocha also accused Okorocha of stifling the State workforce by deducting pensioners pay by over 50% and deducting workers salaries.
The former lawmaker said he is doubtful if the governor is truly an APC member considering the manner he has abandoned the party in the State. He said the State headquarters of the party is not befitting for a governing party and landlords of party secretariats across the local governments in the state have confiscated the buildings for lack of payment of rents.
Others in this category are Chief Uzoma Obiyo, who owns a multi million naria communications outfit. Obiyo had joined Onyeagocha to fire salvos at Okorocha at a news conference. Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba, who heads Federal Government TETFUND is also based in Abuja.He has not only criticized Okorocha’s government but close sources said he may be in contention for the guber ticket of the party in 2019.
He has not made any public comment against Okorocha government yet but he is known to be behind the formation of Grassroot Liberation Movement, a political machinery geared towards oiling his governorship ambition.
Senator Osita Izunaso is the National Organizing Secretary of the APC in Abuja. He is alleged to be in alliance with Senator Ifeanyi Arararume who is widely believed to be running for Imo governorship contest in 2019. Izunaso is said to be interested in Orlu senatorial seat, a position Okorocha has allegedly scheduled for his wife.This could be Izunaso’s grouse with the governor and may be the reason why he may have aligned with anti Okorocha forces based in Abuja.
Senator Ifeanyi Araraume is the most visible APC leader who has not hidden his desire to succeed the governor. He has a formidable political structure that has seen him vie for the contest more than twice in the past. He was reported to have aided Okorocha’s return to Government House, Owerri in 2015 on the condition that he will hand over to him in 2019.
Despite appointing Arararume’s son as a commissioner, the senator still has his sights on the governorship seat and this is believed to be a sticking point between the governor and him.
Recently, Araraume who belongs to the Abuja group and the Okorocha camp flexed some muscles when the governor forcefully appointed a new Chairman loyal to him in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area.
Isiala Mbano is the home of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume. In a surprise twist, the Abuja camp upturned the appointment compelling the national secretariat to restore Araraume’s loyalist.
These undercurrents are likely to implode in Imo APC before the primaries and definitely set the stage for a bitter political war in the party in 2019.