By Chidi Nkwopara
There is no doubt that the May 5, 2018, ward congress of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Imo State, completely cut Governor Rochas Okorocha to size.
Okorocha and Madumere
Many of his party men and women readily tell whoever care that “the Governor has been defanged”.
Many careful political watchers saw it coming but the diehard supporters of the governor neither sensed nor smelt the looming defeat. Governor Okorocha called the shots in all sectors.
The build up to last Saturday’s congress result was gradual but consistent. The governor’s alleged failure to appreciate that there is an expiry date for all things, led to his defeat during the congress.
The party’s State Publicity Secretary, Chief Nwabueze Oguchienti, told Vanguard, that “if not for the ward congress, APC would not only have remained a one man show, but would probably have died of internal haemorrhage”. Oguchienti lamented that the Governor was impervious to candid advice, carried on as nothing mattered and readily said all manner of things against anybody, including political bigwigs in the state.
“While he kept bragging that he had retired notable Imo sons from politics, he also said that nobody above 50, will rule the state again! However, the Governor failed woefully to realize that those he claimed to have retired, could effortlessly pull the rug from under his feet”, Oguchienti said.
People were no doubt cowed by the governor, but they remained expectant. The spineless ones joined the bandwagon of those singing the adoption refrain of the governor’s son in-law, Uche Nwosu, and it looked like they were brainwashed into believing that their future political life largely depended on the project.
Okorocha equally forgot that he had consciously created political enmities with the likes Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, Chief Emeka Nwajiuba, Dr. Theodore Ekechi, Chief Allan B. Onyemaechi, Prince Eze Madumere, Senator Osita Izunaso, Sir Jude Ejiogu and a host of other formidable bigwigs in APC.
Some anti-Okorocha groups sprang up within the APC. They later formed a coalition and gave Okorocha a good fight, which he will surely, not forget in a hurry.
This single-minded APC Coalition group held regular meetings, carefully worked out their strategies and issued press statements when necessary.
Another issue that failed Okorocha was the planned and actual “detention” of the election monitors sent from Abuja, in Government House and later, the State Police Command’s Headquarters, Owerri. While the Governor was fighting to get hold of the result sheets, the allied forces of the Coalition group busied themselves with the congress proper.
An obviously mesmerized governor later moved his search team, which also included the former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, to the private residence of the National Organizing Secretary, Senator Osita Izunaso.
One of the biggest dramatic events at this point, was the alleged disappearance of the election official from Abuja, even as the result sheets were also not found in the house.
Unconfirmed stories making the rounds in the state, now has it that Okorocha is begging for harmonization!
It is instructive to note that following the result of the congress, Okorocha who, ordinarily is the leader of Imo APC, has sadly lost that position. And many celebrated it!
Today, the likes of Madumere, Izunaso, Uwajumogu, Uzodinma and Ejiogu have become heroes.
Okorocha made a quick dash to Daura, Katsina State, to complain to President Muhammadu Buhari about the outcome of the congress. It turned out to be a failed trip for a few reasons.
An appeal or complaint can only be made by a candidate who purchased the form and contested for a position in the ward congress. The complaint cannot come from a sitting governor or a gubernatorial aspirant.
The appellant must show proof of APC membership, meet the requirements for contesting for position in the ward congress, state his ward and local government area. The appellant should state reasons for the appeal call witnesses and must also realize that the onus of proving the allegations was entirely his, just like it is in every other election.
There is no room for a sitting governor to bank on hijacking result sheets and use that as a basis to seek cancellation of duly conducted congress. There may be a future internal crisis in Imo APC but for now, what appears to be the major concern of leaders of the Coalition is to completely wrestle the party from the vice grip of Governor Rochas Okorocha.