BY JEFF UMUNNA#
Ahead of the expected congress to elect party officers at all levels in Imo State chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC next month, a cold war is brewing with desperate schemings by party stakeholders mainly governorship hopefuls to take control of the party structure before the guber Primary.
If available reports to this medium are anything to by, one can understand why the intensity of the cold war is so.
It was gathered that party officers from the ward to the state levels will constitute the bulk of delegates that will elect the governorship candidate of the party. This implies any of the major contending forces in Imo APC that succeeds in ensuring their loyalists emerge as elected party officers, then it is as good as emerging the party’s governorship candidate at the Primary.
Last week, reports indicated that some Local Government party chairmen feared to be loyal to a front-line politician in the party, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, may have been marked for ouster from the party structure by the Rescue Mission Group ahead of the February congress. This is coming against the backdrop of alleged allegiance of more than 15 LGA party chairmen to the senator.
In November last year, Governor Rochas Okorocha had alleged that some local government party chairmen took an oath of allegiance for a governorship aspirant in exchange for their loyalty. Senator Araraume promptly denied the allegations.
It was observed that since Okorocha made the allegation public, most of the party LGA chairmen have exited from the Rescue mission camp of the Governor and now working for the Senator. In some Local Governments, “interim LGA party chairmen” were appointed to replace the non conformist chairmen.
The validity of such act is questionable as the party leadership is yet to ratify such actio because only congresses or vote of no confidence by majority of elected members passed on such a party official can remove such an elected party officer from his or her position.
With Congress fast approaching and baring last minute changes, the thinking in both Okorocha and Araraume camps is to posses the party structure before the Governorship Primary which is the key to appear on the ballot next year. This has heightened tension in the party lately as several nocturnal meetings have been ongoing in the two camps aimed at fine-tuning strategies for a successful outing at the congress.
While Araraume is reported to be gaining the upper hand in the party cornering both the high and low party members and securing a good chunk of the”Special Delegates” a list which has not been released by the party leadership, some LGA party chairmen in the State suspected to be loyal to him may face renewed political hostility from the Rescue Camp as either they face impeachment on “cooked up allegations” or a vote of confidence passed on them by their members before the congress to pave way for a pro Rescue Mission Chairman
This scenario has left many party stalwarts to keep sealed lips on the on the unfolding developments in the party in the state. A top party chieftain told this newspaper ” this is time to talk less and watch the scenario.
“The Congress is crucial not only to the big shots but a every serious party member. And because of the peculiar situation in Imo APC, this is the time to watch and see” he said.