Concerned stakeholders in the Imo State chapter of the All Progressive Congress, APC have kicked against certain actions of the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha in the party which include suspension of party members and the proposed mock primaries.
The stakeholders at a press conference in Owerri made their position known in a statement jointly signed by Agunwa Emeka Nzeribe (State Co- Ordinator), Hon. C.Y Onyekwere (Okigwe zonal Co-ordinator), Hon. Raymond Anyanwu (Owerri Zonal Co- ordinator), Barr. Robert Okwuego (Orlu Zonal Co- Ordinator, Comrade Innocent Agunanne (Director of Strategy/ Mobilization), Lady Chinwendu Mbalisi (Director of Women Mobilization).
They maintained that “there are clear-cut procedures stipulated in our Constitution and Manifesto for suspending and/or expelling erring party members or executive officers”
The stakeholders also stated that the the activities and functions of a State Government are quite different from those of a political party, urging the state government to stop interfering with the activities of APC in Imo State, for the simple reason that the functions of the Government and the party are not the same.
On the expulsion of party members, they stated that “ the purported suspension or expulsion of any member of APC by the Imo State Government is ultra vires, null, void and of no consequence whatsoever”
They strongly kicked against the Mock Primaries proposed by the Governor saying “That the so-called “Mock Primaries” as announced by the present Imo State Government is alien to the Constitution and Manifesto of APC, and that the State Government is not empowered by any section of the APC Constitution or Manifesto to schedule modalities for conduct of intra party elections in our party. For the avoidance of doubt, the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC is the only organ/body saddled with such a responsibility, upon ratification by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our party”
“That as a democratic party, any duly registered member wishing to contest any elective position is free to make his or her intention known to party members, in line with the Nigeria Electoral Act. That the Governor has no right to determine who becomes the party candidate at all levels in the state and has no power to stop any aspirant from contesting” they stated
They continued “That any member of the party or any party executive, from Ward to Federal level in Imo State Chapter of APC is free to attend meetings called by any APC party leader and such meetings should not be viewed as “antiparty.”
“That we frown at the unwarranted humiliation, molestation, intimidation; and purported suspension and expulsion of members of our party in Imo State. That the Constitution and Manifesto of APC remain supreme, and members, no matter how highly placed MUST abide by it” they declared
They implored the good people of Imo State not to see Imo State Chapter of APC in the eyes of the misguided actions and activities of the present government in the state, but to rather use other APC controlled states in this country where rule of law, internal democracy and above all, where the tripod cardinal objectives of APC, namely, Security, Economy, and Anti Corruption Crusade are practiced to its fullest as their benchmark.
The group recalled how the APC evolved in the country and the numerous political capital it gained after defeating the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the 2015 elections.
They stated that “APC was formed following the merger of some political parties, namely, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and a faction of like-minded progressives drawn from the PDP”
“Upon formation, APC was welcomed as a big relief from the clutches of PDP; its popularity soared, and it soon gained wide acceptability across the breadth and length of Nigeria. So, it happened that at its very first outing in the 2015 general elections conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the party created a phenomenal upset at the polls by winning the presidential election which forced a sitting African President from office, won some governorship seats across the country, won the majority of National Assembly seats and two thirds of the gubernatorial seats across the country.
They maintained that the “APC as a mega party was able to actualise this uncommon feat through its enthronement of internal democracy which engendered a sense of unity of purpose amongst card-carrying members of the party”