Federal appointments spew more trouble for Enugu APC
The internal crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State becomes more turbulent with a new wave of federal appointments which a section of the party alleged were given to non-members.
There are strong signals that the gloomy future staring the Enugu State branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the face because of internal squabble may take longer time to be over going by current drumbeats of war emanating from within the party over recent board appointments.
A list of appointments into the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) released by the presidency has two indigenes of the state, Chief Loretta Aniagolu and Engr Chukwunwike Uzor as board members.
Since the appointments were made public penultimate week, the lines of animosity in the party have deepened as members now point towards the presidency as part of the problems and challenges the APC in Enugu must overcome to win elections and remain vibrant.
Factional Chairman of the party in the state, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who addressed reporters in Enugu last week, disclosed what he alleged to be a plot to stifle the state chapter and ensure that it remained politically docile and unproductive in the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari by the way members who worked for the party are relegated for those who opposed the party. He stated that the APC government at the centre has raised opposition against its Enugu State chapter.
Expressing their displeasure and opposition to the appointments, he stated that except that of Osita Okechukwu, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) all appointments that have come to the state since the assumption of office of President Buhari have been for non-APC members. He added that such appointments have also continued to follow similar pattern of persons from same electoral ward or local government.
He said, “Appointments are not done in a nepotistic fashion, if it is done, the system, the fabric of the society will be left for destruction. Loretta Anígolu is not a member of APC; she currently serves in the advisory council of PDP government in Enugu state. She is currently championing the development of Enugu’s HELIU city. Loretta Aniagolu funds PDP in Enugu state, she campaigned and fought against us in Enugu state, and she aided and abetted those who wanted to see the destruction of APC in Enugu state.
“With regard to Engr. Uzor, he is the immediate younger brother of past Chief of Staff in Enugu state, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo. We have come a long way in our democracy where we can no longer fold our arms and allow things go wrong. Enugu State does not belong to certain segment of people, it belongs to all of us and we all must stand up and defend the cause of the state.”
Nwoye stated that Dr Joseph Ilo, a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), appointed from the state recently was not a member of the APC, adding that Aniagolu, Uzor, Ilo, Onyeama, Ibekaku and Okechukwu are from the same electoral ward and Udi local government area of the state.
“All these appointees are from Eke ward in Udi local government and except Okechukwu, all others are not members of the party. They were not here during the campaigns, many of them fought us in this state and now they are using the same money they get from APC government to continue to fight us. How can a party advance when its nucleus is devoid of opportunities that will make them contribute to its growth and development? This is not how democracy is run,” Nwoye said.
While disclosing that the party would petition the President and Senate President on the development, he added that earlier, a retired Judge, Justice Pearl Enejere had been appointed board chairman of the Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, when she was never a member of the party, alleging that “she has continually used resources paid to her from the job to fight our party in Igboeze South council.”
Lending further credence to the alleged stifling of the party and marginalization of its members in the state, Nwoye held that while other governorship candidates of the party during the 2015 general elections had been rewarded with federal appointments, the one from Enugu State (Okechukwu Ezea) remains the only person that has not been considered for appointment. He added that it was worse that the party was not consulted or carried along in appointments.
“With this level of rejection, how will anybody be happy working for the APC? I have a feeling that those making these recommendations don’t like the president and they are not interested in the growth of the party. We have three senatorial districts and seventeen local governments in the state, but so far one electoral ward, Eke in Udi local government is getting everything. I think it is greed. You don’t build a party this way. This is a party angling to take over Enugu Government House in 2019, instead of empowering her members, you are busy empowering their opponents and people of same lineage,” he stressed.
But other top sources close to the party leadership in Abuja where the appointments emanated from, said Nwoye was not saying “the whole truth” concerning the new appointments as many criteria “that would in the long run be beneficial to the party” were considered, accusing him of fanning embers of discord instead of supporting efforts to build the party.
According to one of the new entrants into the party who craved anonymity, “what the Abuja leadership of the party is doing is to expand the base of the party by not only bringing new members in, but to also give them a sense of belonging so that the party can be able to contest and win elections.
“What those complaining against the appointments don’t know is that the national headquarters of the party is keeping tabs on the contributions of individuals to the party and are rewarding them adequately.
“Many of the people they are complaining about have contributed immensely to the growth of the party even though many of these acts may be in the background without public knowledge. And we should also not forget that some appointments have to be made based on the quality of the character of the appointee like in the case of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, a top technocrat.”
Another source also picked a hole in the opposition to the appointment of the REC, which he said is not a party affair, as the electoral umpire must not be seen to have affiliation to any political platform when the Buhari administration is sanitizing the country’s electoral system.
According to him, “What the law says is that every state must produce a Resident Electoral Commissioner and in the appointment, the political party has no role whatsoever. It is the prerogative of the president to pick somebody of integrity that will not compromise the non-partisanship of his appointment.”
As the allegations and counter-allegations continued among the factions that claim control of the party in the state, not much attention has been paid to the November 4 local government council election. Although the party claims it has conducted its primary and elected those who would vie for offices in the 17 local government councils of the state, there is little on ground to show that APC in Enugu is really working to be part of the election next month.
While the PDP has kicked off its statewide campaigns for the exercise as well as painted the state with campaign posters of its candidates, those of the APC are still in the incubator, perhaps confused about what to do. In fact, the only place where APC campaign posters could be noticed presently is at the state secretariat of the party bearing the candidate for Enugu north local government, yet the two factions have continued to claim that the party will do well in the election.
The development has become worrisome to many who had hoped that the APC would capitalize on its claim of being the largest opposition party in the state to make inroad into governance and break the hegemony and political dominance of the PDP. It appears the members are saying that would be for another election.
Is there still hope for APC and its members in Enugu before 2019? Are those making the appointments really interested in the growth of the party or empowerment of their relatives and covertly working for the PDP in the state as is being insinuated in certain quarters? What does the future hold for Enugu APC? Only time will indeed address the questions.
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