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With its dismal performance in the 2019 elections in Imo State, political analysts say that the All Progressive Congress, APC in the State risk going into political oblivion if key actors in the party fail to take proactive measures to revive it as a vibrant opposition party before the next political dispensation.
The APC in Imo suffered crushing defeat during the last elections. It failed to deliver its presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar recorded victory in the State.
The party also lost the governorship election with its candidate, Senator Hope Uzodinma placing a distant fourth in the contest. It was also unable to win a single House of Assembly seat though it won some federal Reps seats. Hon.Chike Okafor, House Committee Chairman on Health won re election to the House.
Two factions exist in Imo APC, an offshoot of a fierce, bitter political skirmishes between Governor Rochas Okorocha and the Imo APC Coalition. They fought for the soul of the party leaving on its trail huge losses for the party.
The Coalition made up of Okorocha’s Deputy, Eze Madumere, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume (who later left for APGA), Senator Benjamin Uwajumuogu, T.E.O.Ekechi and others.
Governor Rochas Okorocha’s preferred candidate, Uche Nwosu and others joined the Action Alliance, AA, a move which earned Okorocha suspension from the APC by the National Working Committee, NWC of the party. The move was predicated on the fact that the Coalition had gained the upper hand when Senator Hope Uzodinma was handed the governorship ticket of the party as the NWC roundly opposed Uche Nwosu’s candidature.
They also installed a Caretaker Commitee led by Marcellinus Nlemigbo whose loyalty was with Uzodinma and co after sacking the Okorocha backed Daniel Nwafor led State Executives.
The party went into the election in the State a divided house.And like in a battlefield, the warriors at the warfront brandished their swords of war till d day. In the end, both factions and their political warlords suffered losses.
Governor Rochas Okorocha vied for Imo West senatorial seat and claimed he won, but currently in court challenging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for denying him his Certificate of Return.
Uzodinma lost the governorship election to eventual winner, Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, he also came behind Senator Ifeanyi Araraume (APGA) and Uche Nwosu (AA).
The 27 House of Assembly seats went the way of APGA which won six seats, Action Alliance (8) and the PDP (13), the APC had none. It also lost Owerri Senatorial seat while struggling to retain Okigwe Senatorial seat where its candidate, Benjamin Uwajumuogu is up against fierce opposition.
The outcome of the election in the State indeed perforated the morale of party members who attribute the embarrassing outing of the APC at the polls to internal strife, in fighting and also sabotage.
Senator Uzodinma is yet to issue an official statement on the election though he has not congratulated the winner of the polls, Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
Governor Rochas Okorocha’s fate in the party still hangs in the balance as the APC is enforcing its suspension order and recently announced its unwillingness to help him secure his certificate of Return from INEC.
APC Publicity Secretary, Lanre Isa Onilu, had said Okorocha never reported his ordeal to the party and therefore on his own.
This newspaper gathered that picking up the bits and pieces of the party in the State which suffered devastating bruises during the elections has become a thorny issue among key stakeholders.
Newspaper reports in Owerri had speculated that there is a cold war between Senator Uzodinma and the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere on who takes charge of the party structure in the State after its loss in the elections.
Madumere had last week said the APC did not loose Imo State but it was Governor Rochas Okorocha that lost.
He said “The truth is that we did not lose any election. Posterity will remember us well because we said no to bad leadership. We are on the side of the people.
“Our people surely will be appreciative of our effort in the journey to liberate our state from hands of Emperor. It is true that we are not on the saddle but we are rest assured that our people would always remember what we had to do to ensure they are not perennially enslaved and that their spirits are conquered by whims and caprices of just one man with his family.”
Sources said Senator Uzodinma is taking measured steps after losing the election and in a matter days will unveil his next line of action in a party so fragmented and hugely battered during the elections.
How the party rise from the ashes of defeat and reposition for its opposition status in Imo State will be a huge task considering the various layers of political discord which rocked the party during the elections with no end in sight even after the polls.
” Repositioning the party after the elections is the key to its survival. This is no longer the time to bicker. This is not the time to point accusing fingers why the party fell so flat during the elections.
“The leadership of the party must reconcile all. Mistakes have been made and it is time to correct them. If we continue this way, the APC will just evaporate in Imo. This will be most unfortunate for a party that had a sitting Governor, more than 5 federal lawmakers, two senators and 23 House of Assembly members before the elections” said Chief Okechukwu Nwaneri, a chieftain of the party in Imo State.