With waiver granted to party executives to seek re- election into leadership positions of the All Progressive Congress, the battle for the soul of Imo State APC now lies between three major stakeholders- Governor Rochas Okorocha, serial governorship aspirant, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and APC National Organizing Secretary, Osita Izunaso.
This newspaper gathered that Izunaso’s camp have been in jubilant mood since the option of waiver was dangled at party executives in the party at NEC meeting held in Abuja. The APC National Organizing Secretary who is said to be interested in the Imo governorship contest is banking on the fact that he will remain a national officer of the party and supervise the conduct of Congresses.
This places him in a vintage position to organize, monitor and supervise the congresses and oversee how party officers from his home State of Imo will emerge. This may not be too comfortable for other stakeholders in the party including that of the Governor whose camp is alleged to have expressed mixed feelings on the outcome of the NEC meeting that granted waiver to party executives at all levels.
A top source in the party had hinted this newspaper last night that APC Governors which Okorocha leads as Chairman had expected a clean sweep of party executives from the national to ward levels at the end of their tenure in June which would have given them the opportunity to have total control of the party in their respective States.
The source said “The Governors had craved for total control of the party in their various States. This did not go the way they expected. With the waiver, it provides a level playing ground for all stakeholders”
With waiver given to party executives for the coming Convention and Congresses, It does not confer control on any the party leader including the Governor.Reports had filtered to this newspaper that a prepared list of party officers was taken to Abuja on the hope that they will be appointed to serve in interim capacity before Congresses hold.
Mr. Charles Amadi (Chavon), a known ally of Governor Okorocha was reported to have been penciled down as Chairman of Imo APC to replace Hilary Eke who was alleged to have switched allegiance to another governorship aspirant.
For Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, the waiver for party executives also entails that he has to work hard to ensure his political loyalists find their way into the party executives at the Ward and State levels in order to smoothen his governorship ambition. There are speculations that he may resort to back some party executives who are positively disposed to his ambition to take advantage of the waiver and seek re- election.
He is said to have the support of 16 Local Government Party Chairmen, a situation which has made some governorship aspirants and Okorocha’s camp a bit uncomfortable. How events unfold in the party from now till Congresses will hugely influence who picks the governorship ticket of the party.