The All Progressive Congress, APC, in Imo State, catapulted itself to become the ruling party in the State, via the Supreme Court judgement of January 17, 2020 which removed Governor Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The apex court had replaced Ihedioha with Senator Hope Uzodinma of the APC.
Before Uzodinma was proclaimed Governor of Imo State by the nation’s apex court, the party had its share of growing problems which has now germinated into much bigger, ‘unsolvable’ crisis.
At the moment, the APC in Imo State is polarized with more than three or four factions springing up.
The battle for the soul of the party is clearly fought between Governor Hope Uzodinma backed Marcellinus Nlemigbo led caretaker committee, and the Rochas Okorocha sponsored Dan Nwafor led faction.
Last week, the intensity of the crisis, assumed a newer dimension, when the two factions in the party, obtained legal backing to operate as the authentic state executives of the party.
An Abuja Federal High Court had struck out a motion for stay of execution brought before it by the Marcellinus Nlemigbo Caretaker Commitee of the party against the Nwafor faction.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Musa recalled that in July 2018, he had given a judgment which barred any organ of the party from tampering with the tenure of the duly elected leadership of the party.
Barely 72 hours after the court ruling, the Nlemigbo group, showcased a Federal High Court Order, Abuja which granted an injunction restraining Daniel Nwafor and others from parading themselves as leaders of the APC in the State.
The legal fireworks add to the underground political maneuverings in the party which had pitched stakeholders against each other.
Nlemigbo at a press conference in Owerri, said Nwafor and Okorocha’s son in law, Uche Nwosu, are no members of the APC but of the Action Alliance, AA who worked against the APC during the 2019 governorship election.
Aside the Nlemigbo and Nwafor factions battling for legitimacy, the party is also plagued by the existence of other groups all jostling for relevance and recognition within the party.
They are aggrieved that they have been left out in the spoils of power since Uzodinma emerged Governor of Imo State, alleging that only members of the Governor’s political family, CAMP HOPE, are enjoying and cornering all juicy positions in Uzodinma’s administration.
Those grumbling are the APC Coalition made up of former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere, and others, the Destiny group loyal to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
This development has led to a non cohesive party which despite its status as the ruling party in the State; it is still entangled in internal wranglings.
The intensity of the crisis is expected to increase as congresses to elect party officials draws near. The seeming division in the party has also trickled down to the local governments where members of the Governor’s political camp, CAMP HOPE, are excluding other political groups from the affairs.of the party.
Political analysts contend that even after the congresses, and no reconciliation in place, the APC may go into the 2023 election highly fragmented.
Mr Kenneth Ufondu, a chieftain of the party expressed worry over the “ballooning problems” in the party.
He said if the problems plaguing the party at the moment is not resolved early enough, it may snowball into a bigger crisis with serious consequences for the party in 2023.
Ufondu said “Though in big political parties there are bound to be problems, but I believe it is incumbent on Governor Hope Uzodinma, as leader of the APC in the State, to unite the party. Every APC member in Imo State celebrated his victory at the Supreme Court; he should bury the hatchet and unite the party. That is his responsibility.
Another chieftain of the party, Hon Chris Nwokeji, said the crisis rocking the party at the moment will not be resolved because “non of the contending forces will budge”
“Even after the congress, unless the Governor extends the spoils of power to other camps within the party, the APC will be in crisis up to the 2023 elections. The process of healing and rebuilding the party is now” he stated.
“Political analysts contend that even after the congresses, and no reconciliation in place, the APC may go into the 2023 election highly fragmented”