Sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s (PMB) vehement opposition to the extension of the tenure of all categories of the executive committees of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Wards, LGAs and National levels, a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party was held on Monday, April 9, 2018, to harmonise the disagreements.
Part of the resolutions adopted at the meeting was that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party should conduct the next Congresses and National Convention where new executive committee members or party officials would be elected.
The elective Congresses and National Convention are expected to commence at the ward level through the LGA and state congresses before a consummate National Convention where the fate of the embattled National Chairman and Edo state born John Oyegun would be finally determined.
You recall that Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and National leader of the APC, had fiercely canvassed for the immediate replacement of Oyegun. According to TInubu, this is the only condition for his continued support and membership of APC.
A source at the NEC meeting also explained that the waiver granted to the National Working Committee (NWC) members is such that they are not to resign from their positions but to remain in office even while recontesting, if they so desire.
This decision, though, did not go down well with Senator Tinubu, who had no other option than to accept it nevertheless did a very devastating blow to the boastings of Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who had since compiled a list of new state executives and care-taker committee to take over from the Dr Hilary Eke led state leadership of the party.
The development goes to confirm the preference of most party chieftains that only a soft landing for Oyegun, and his team, will save the party from imminent collapse and disintegration.
The implication of the latest resolution to allow the party officials across board, to remain in office and recontest their positions or any position of their choice is that the 23 APC governors have once more demonstrated that rejection of Owelle Rochas Okorocha as their Chairman and alter ego. The 24 governors led by Okorocha had earlier in a meeting with President Buhari resolved that all the officials of the APC must resign, to make way for elective congresses and convention.
At yesterday’s NEC meeting that all but Rochas Okorocha objected to their blanket resignation or removal from office ahead of the congresses and convention is more of a vote of no confidence on Okorocha. Another fall out of the NEC meeting is that Senator Osita Izunaso, the National Organizing Secretary of APC would not vacate his office, a position Okorocha has been targeting to replace with one of his cohorts to enable him push through his preference and endorsement of his son-inlaw as the APC governorship candidate in Imo State.
Besides that, Izunaso would be on hand to roll out the programme and timetable for the congresses and National convention as well as supervise same all to Governor Okorocha’s discomfiture.
The action of the 23 APC governors to once again disagree with Rochas in the back, is coming on the heels of a similar but previous action when they resolved that all substantive officers must resign but at the NEC meeting they distanced from such resolution leaving Rochas Okorocha as the only governor who defiantly opposed the one year tenure extension granted to the NEC and other categories of party officials. With the new development which has put a nail on the coffin of Okorocha’s plan against some party executives, he has lost total grip of the party and in accordance with Distinguished Senator Ifeanyi Araraume’s prediction, is on the verge of being forced out of the party with ignominy.
Unlike before when outcomes of APC NEC meetings excited Okorocha’s camp who usually celebrate such on the social and print media, the governor and his supporters are said to be in a rude shock, with shivers sent down their spines and nerves.
According to an Imo government house source, “with the unfolding scenario, and the glaring fact that Senator Osita Izunaso will supervise the Ward, LGA, and State Congresses, like before, the governor and his unrepentant loyalists are now very jittery, destabilized so much that having failed woefully in their bid to hijack the party structures and manipulate the process, they are already tinkering with dumping the APC for SDP, which is the platform of Obasanjo’s third force coalition”.
Penultimate week, Uche Nwosu, who is the governors son inlaw and ultimate choice for governorship, was speculated to have visited the SDP National Secretariat in Abuja to fine tune strategies for inducing the National leadership into conceding the governorship ticket to him but met a brick wall.
Okorocha and his son inlaw are not alone in this charade. Some of his acolytes in the National Assembly who have kept the presidency and PMB on the edge are expected to troop in to the SDP having lost out shamefully in the political chess board, and intrigues.
According to an APC stalwart who doesn’t want his name in print, “we will be happy if Okorocha leaves APC for us. He has destroyed the party here. When this happens, internal democracy and level playing ground will return to the APC for the first time since 2014 when Okorocha abandoned APGA to hijack the mega party claiming he wants to take the Igbos to the central government where they were for 16 years but had nothing to show for it except for unfulfilled promises and rhetorics”.