*BY BEN UGWU *
SEPARATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF
The drama that trailed the All Progressive Congress, APC in Imo State has continued to generate much drama and suspense. Uncertainty, gloom seem to stare on the faces of losers mostly Okorocha’s political followers as the crisis that trailed the conduct of the ward congress in Imo State intensifies.
This newspaper observed that except urgent political and remedial actions are taken, political foot-soldiers of the Governor may develop cold feet and possibly seek political refuge elsewhere.This is coming in the wake of tough actions taken by the Governor to weed out those in his government suspected to have played one ignoble role or the other during the exercise. A day after the ward congress whose victory was claimed by top APC chieftains known as the “Allied Forces”, some top aides in Okorocha’s government have continued to receive the boot. First to be axed was the Ehime Mbano Transition Committee Chairman, Stanley Onwuchuruba .
Next to receive the sledge hammer is the Secretary of Mbaitoli Local Government Area, Mr. Chinagorom Christopher. This newspaper was informed that there may be more sack in the days to come following reports of “political sabotage” by some members of the Rescue group.
OKOROCHA’S MEN STRANDED?
It was gathered that most political appointees who are nursing one ambition or the other including some members of the Imo State House of Assembly are loosing sleep over the outcome of the ward congresses which favoured the “Allied Forces” in Imo APC. It was not verified if some of them will quit the Rescue Mission camp and seek political refuge elsewhere. A source said the fact that the national leadership of the party is yet to take action on the ward congress up till this moment further confirm worries that all may not be well.
The local government congress which is scheduled to come up on Saturday may just be the deciding factor for those already developing cold feet on the manner the ward congress issue is being handled except Governor Okorocha comes up with a”remedial action” that would rekindle the confidence of his political foot-soldiers. Some of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said they are worried over the situation which may eclipse their political ambitions in the APC if nothing is done to salvage it.
“If Okorocha’s trip to President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura was a fruitful one, perhaps by now the ward congress should have been cancelled and fresh ward congresses ordered” said a worried Rescue mission official who does not want his name mentioned .
He continued “Redeploying the Imo State Commissioner of Police is not a political solution to the ward congress issue in Imo State. Will he arrest the “Allied forces” members when the party leadership has insisted that all those who are aggrieved should go the Appeal Committee? And if he arrests them, what next? Will the outcome of a Police investigation influence the party to nullify the congress which seem to have been accepted by the party leadership judging from its lukewarm attitude towards the matter since the Congress was held last Saturday in the State
“Is party affair a matter for the Police? Has the party leadership suspended the local government congress that is coming up at the weekend in the State to raise our hopes that the ward congress was a sham and may be re- conducted. Who has the power to order fresh ward congresses. Is it not the party” he said
Another concerned official said “No decisive action has been taken against the Congress. Rather what we hear is redeployment of a Police Commissioner, arrest of Electoral Committee members in Abuja. It is not enough. We talking about a congress that did not hold but seem to be enjoying the approval of the party. Except something otherwise happens between now and Saturday when the LGA congresses come up, then there is an indication that we may have to either leave the APC and paddle our political boat elsewhere”
ALLIED FORCES AND THE JOURNEY AHEAD.
Despite calls for cancellation of the ward congress in Imo State, the “Allied forces in Imo APC who overwhelmed Governor Rochas Okorocha at the ward congress have relocated back to Abuja.
The group had said the ward congresses were successful and peaceful in the State. Imo State Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere had told newsmen that the exercise was peaceful.The Allied forces are united by a common agenda for now- take over the party structure from Okorocha- as a prelude to stop his desire to have Uche Nwosu on the governorship ticket of the party.
And if they succeed in their mission, what next for the “Allied Forces” who at the moment parade more than four governorship aspirants in their fold. Can they bury their ambitions for one another? If they get Okorocha out of the party structure now, does it guarantee political cohesion amongst them when the chips are down?
APPEAL PANEL AND POSSIBILITY OF HARMONIZATION?
It was gathered that the Appeal Panel have arrived Owerri and were received by the State APC Chairman, Hilary Eke to receive petitions and complaints from those aggrieved.
However,questions have been raging if a harmonization may be in the offing just to balance the equation in the party in the State.
“That is dependent on several factors in the party and interplay of political variables which seem to be tilting in the way of the Allied Forces” said Jude Ekwemba, a political analyst based in Owerri