How APC made itself a laughing stock in Imo

Imo APC Governorship Aspirant, Uche Nwosu.<br />Photo: Twitter/ Ugwumba Uche Nwosu

It was a catalogue of woes for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as its attempt to organise governorship primaries in some states ended up stoking fresh controversies and confusion.

In Imo, the exercise, which was slated to hold yesterday, began on a note of suspense and worry as the whereabouts of the head of the primary election committee Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, could not be ascertained.

While the search for Gulak lasted, allegations began to mount that he must have disappeared to write favourable but fictitious results for the Senator representing Imo West Senatorial district, Hope Uzodimma, a development which culminated in members of the committee announcing Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son-in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu, as the winner of the primary.

The state chairman of the party, Mr. Daniel Nwafor, raised the alarm over the disappearance of Gulak, a former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters.

The inability of the party to contact the chairman of the primary election committee was cited as reason for the inability to conduct the primary, just as the materials for the exercise were said to be in the office of the state Commissioner of Police, Dasuki Galadinma. 

Some persons have also accused the committee chairman, Gulak, of declaring Senator Uzodinma as the party’s governorship standard bearer in the state, alleging that he retired to a secret location to declare the fictitious result in which the deputy governor, Eze Madumere, was placed second.

In a statement jointly signed by the state publicity secretary, Onwuasoanya F.C. Jones and chairman, Nwafor, the party disclosed that when the officials went to Gulak’s hotel room at Rock View Hotels, Owerri, in the morning to ascertain the level of preparations for the primary, rescheduled to hold on Tuesday from the earlier date of Mondaythey could not find him.

The Imo APC executive stated: “Party members are hereby alerted that the whereabouts of the chairman of Imo APC governorship primary election committee, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, is at this moment unknown.”

They narrated how, on arrival from Abuja, the committee chairman and his members were lodged at the Rockview Hotel, Owerri, stressing that materials for the election were handed over to the Commissioner of Police for safekeeping.

“But this morning, the state chairman went to the hotel to ascertain the level of preparedness of the committee for the exercise and get the committee to retrieve the materials and begin the process of conducting the primary only to realise that the chairman was no longer in the room,” the state officials said.

They said while other members could not find their chairman to conduct direct primary in the 27 local councils as directed by the national leadership of the party, they were confused as to what step to take, adding: “The direct governorship primary election, which was supposed to hold yesterday was shifted to today as a result of late arrival of materials and personnel for the conduct of the exercise.”

While urging all party members to remain calm and await further directives, the party officials assured APC members that “the process of electing our party’s governorship candidate shall be transparent, free and fair, in line with our party’s philosophy of changing from the old order of impunity, corruption and brigandage and progressing to a new order of discipline, transparency and prosperity for all.”

The state executive expressed the party’s commitment to the belief that the people are the most valuable kingmakers in a democracy, maintaining, “we shall not condone any act that deprived the people of their righ to freely select who governs them at any level and at any point in time.”

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 9, was said to be holding meeting with other members of the committee before they could address the members of the party and journalists on the way forward.

However, in what appeared like a page out of a comic thriller, other members of the Imo APC governorship primary election, after getting wind of their chairman’s (Gulak) declaration of Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the governorship standard bearer, proceeded in turn to declare Okorocha’s son-in-law, Nwosu, the winner of the contest.

The remaining primary election committee members, led by its Secretary of the 12 – member committee, Henry Idaghbon, while announcing its own result, said Nwosu polled 455,655 votes to defeat nine other contestants.

The scribe of the committee also expressed shock that the decision to keep the sensitive materials at the office of the state Commissioner of Police was not adhered to, wondering why Gulak left for Abuja immediately he declared Uzodinma as winner.

While expressing joy over the declaration of his preferred candidate as winner of the APC governorship primary in the state, Okorocha commended members of the committee for doing a thorough job and congratulated Nwsou on his victory.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, after the declaration, he said: “The governor has commended members of the state governorship primary election committee for doing a thorough job and described them as patriotic Nigerians and lovers of the democratic culture of one man, one vote.”

Okorocha praised APC members for coming out in their large numbers to vote for Uche Nwosu in the primary, adding that the candidate would not disappoit the party, its members and Imo people in general.

The governor said politicians that are always afraid of proper voting in an election should better quit, stressing that the unfortunate act of snatching ballot boxes and stealing result sheets to write non-existent results won’t flourish in APC.

Secretary of the committee, Idahagbon, who announced Nwosu as winner, was flanked by seven other members including, Hon. Kashim Mohammed, Alhaji Sadique Gebe, Mr. Joseph Enyiukpo, Hon. Yakassai Muktar, Dr. Ahmed Aminu, Chief Charles Nwabueze and Engr. Forte Dike.

But while most party men thought the drama was over, National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, announced the disbandment of the Gulak-led committee.

While speaking to State House correspondents after conferring with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Oshiomhole explained that he came to brief the president on developments in the party and also to receive inputs from him as the leader of the party.

The chairman declared that what was being paraded as the result of the Imo governorship primaries was fake adding that the party had since disbanded the committee and would set up another one immediately so that the process would be completed before the end of the week.

He ruled out the possibility of honouring parallel results on the primaries from states, stressing that no matter how highly placed a member may be, such a person must subject himself to the party’s Constitution.

Oshiomhole said: “The president is the overall leader of APC and I am privileged to be the chairman.

It is normal that from time to time I update the President with what I am doing and what roles he is expected to play and, of course, compare notes so that at any point in time, Mr. President is abreast of what the party is doing and we have the benefit of his own input, his own experience and his own thinking.”

Also reacting to concerns about how to reconcile states like Rivers, Delta and Cross River with parallel primaries and candidates, Oshiomhole stressed that everything must be done according to the rules of the party.

“There is no parallel,” he said. We are not amorphous organisation; we are a structured organisation, governed by rules that represent the contract among members of APC as clearly stated in our construction.

“It is the source of our authority and power and also obligations and duties to do what we have to do to ensure that the affairs of the party are conducted not according to the whims and caprices of any individual but based on the decisions of organs of the party and based on the rules of the party.

“The case of Imo State is not too good news for today, but not surprising; they have to learn to begin to comply with rules. They have two fake results and we won’t adopt both two fake results.

None of them is genuine and we will disband and we will appoint a fresh Electoral Panel that will conduct a transparent direct primaries that reflect the will of members of APC in the state regardless of the interest and the powers that are behind any of the groups.

“The truth does not require supporters club to stand; it has its legs, and it has its head and we will do just that.”

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