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*BY JEFF UMUNNA,KEVIN AMADI, BEN UGWU*
It was drama yesterday in Imo State as the much awaited All Progressive Congress APC ward congress in the State was full of suspense and intrigue.Hundreds of party faithful had thronged the various ward centres across the State and waited in vain for materials and officials to conduct the congress. In the end, separate congresses by separate factions were held.
As they waited in vain, a mild drama was going on at Imo State police headquarters where supporters of Governor Rochas Okorocha and chieftains of “Imo APC Stakeholders” had converged to discuss issues pertaining to swapping of congress officials and disappearance of materials.
After much heated debate, the Imo State Police Commissioner,Chris Ezike, Governor Okorocha and others left for the residence of APC National Organizing Secretary, Osita Izunaso.
Video seen online showed Okorocha, APC National Organizing Secretary, Senator Izunaso and the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, Imo State APC Chairman, Hilary Eke discussing on the issue of swap of congress materials at a location suspected to be the private residence of the senator.
Before then, some unidentified thugs had earlier gone to the Imo APC State Secretariat, Owerri where they reportedly threatened fire on brimstone.
In the ensuing drama reminiscent of a James Bond movie, Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, Senator Benjamin Uwajumuogu, former Secretary to Government of Imo State, Sir Jude Ejiogu escaped attack by thugs at the APC State Secretariat.
This newspaper was informed that the trio had visited the Secretariat to witness the preparation of the congresses only to be swooped on by unidentified thugs.
Two separate press statements later emerged from the two rival camps in the party. Governor Okorocha through a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo, said as at yesterday materials for the ward congresses had not been sighted.
“This is to inform the general public that the materials especially the result sheets for the conduct of the APC Ward Congresses in the State have not been found upto this moment.
“The argument over who is in custody of the materials have been between the man originally posted to the State for the conduct of the Congresses Chief Ini Okorie and the organizing Secretary of the Party, Chief Osita Izunaso.
“While Izunaso said he handed over the materials to Chief Okorie, the man himself said Chief Izunaso didn’t give him the materials.
“And this evening (yesterday) when the Police took Chief Okorie to the residence of Senator Izunaso to resolve the issue of who among them have the materials, the man disappeared in Izunaso’s house”
In a swift reaction, the State Publicity Secretary of the Party, Engr Nwabueze Oguchenti, in a statement Sunday morning saluted the commitment, passion, dedication and above all, the peaceful and diligent comportment of party members during congress.
“ The party is also grateful to the maturity and candour of the ward congress who remained unwearied and focused in spite of the desperate efforts of the State Governor,Rochas Okorocha to hijack the committee through blackmail, intimidation and groundswell financial inducement”
“ By the outcome of the congress and spontaneous outpouring of family love and conviviality, the party and their numerous supporters who had for long longed for extrication from the stronghold of one man and his family have been vindicated” the statement stated.