BY ADANNA ONWUKWE
Despite the successful conduct of the state congress of the All Progressive Congress, APC in Imo State, all is not well in the camp of the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma.
Loyalists, political foot-soldiers of the Governor, including some party leaders are divided over the just concluded congress which produced state executives of the party.
Leaders of the party from Okigwe zone are said to be furious with the manner they were completely schemed out in the selection of the State Chairman of the party.
Some top state government functionaries were said to have pushed for a state chairman from Okigwe zone, on the basis that since the governor is from Orlu zone,the deputy governor from Owerri zone, the state party chairman should emerge from Okigwe zone.
Though the Secretary to the State government, Mr Cosmas Iwu and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Paul Emeziem are from Okigwe zone, their functions, sources alleged, were said to have been taken over by the governor’s principal Secretary, one Mrs Irene, who is alleged to be Uzodimma’s relative, and the Deputy Speaker, Amara Iwuanyanwu, who is from Uzodimma’s Orlu zone.
The choice of Matthew Omegara, a one time Senator from Okigwe zone, as State Vice Chairman of the party has not doused the agitation by leaders of Okigwe zone to have the state chairman of the party.
The choice of Mr. Ebere, a native of Owerri municipal in Owerri zone, for the post of party Chairman of the APC by Uzodimma, according to sources privy to the undercurrents which shaped the state congress, was based on his family ties with Governor Uzodimma.
Ebere is alleged to be Governor Uzodimma’s in law. He is also the General Manager, ENTRACO, an agency of the state government responsible for refuse disposal and management in the state.
Despite widespread reports that no one was jostling for the party chairmanship before the state congress was held, this newspaper was informed that about six persons were secretly eying the position of State Chairman, including the caretaker committee chairman, Marcellinus Nlemigbo, who wanted to return to the party chairmanship seat, this time as elected.
The latter was said to have backed out when it became public knowledge that he was not among those considered for the plum job.
“Nlemigbo was however rewarded handsomely by the governor perhaps for his role in stabilizing the party, during the days of turbulence in the APC in Imo State in 2019 when Uzodimma and Okorocha were at war over the governorship ticket of the party” said a chieftain of the APC who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was learnt that of the six contestants, three were from Owerri Federal Constituency, two from Mbaise and another from Okigwe zone. None found favour in the eyes of the governor, except Mr. Ebere.
Though many of the governor’s loyalists are to align with the present political realities in the party and queue behind the new party leadership, there are murmurings by some party leaders who accuse the governor of gradually towing the path of former governor Rochas Okorocha, who considered appointments for family members and in laws ahead of others.
Recall that Okorocha when he served as governor had appointed his son in law, Uche Nwosu, as Commissioner for Lands, later Chief of Staff, Government House, Owerri and wanted Nwosu to succeed him as governor of Imo State.
“With the congress gone, Governor Uzodimma, do have a herculean task to glue his political foot-soldiers and allies together. He has to quench the high level of disaffection among his political foot-soldiers and loyalists. And he needs to do so as quickly as possible. He ought to send clear signals that he is not towing the path of his predecessor who considered family ties as basis for appointments.
“He needs to reconstitute his cabinet as soon as possible. This will surely end the upcoming grievances” said a top leader of the party and die hard follower of the Uzodimma administration.