All Progressives Grand Alliance suspends Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State for anti-party activities
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Aug. 19, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE move towards peace in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has taken a new twist. On August 3, the party said it had suspened Rochas Okorocha, Imo State governor, after an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting. The state executive committee from the party was also dissolved for engaging in anti-party activities.
Victor Umeh, national chairman of the party, in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, said that APGA unanimously resolved to dissolve the Imo state executive committee of the party and also appoint a 21-man caretaker committee to oversee its affairs in the state until a congress is held. Umeh regretted that a governor elected on the platform of APGA could decide to act contrary to the constitution of the party that voted him into power. According to the communiqué, the party had approved electoral guidelines for the Anambra governorship primaries for 2013 and fixed its next sitting for August 31.
Tayo Sowunmi, national vice chairman of the party in the South-West, who read out the resolutions of the NEC meeting, said the party leaders had discussed preparations for the Anambra gubernatorial election. He said barely three weeks after the party invited aspirants who declared interest in the race, 14 of them had already picked the expression of interest forms.
He said that the party’s male aspirants paid N10 million while the females paid N5 million. He said those who had collected the expression of interest forms were expected to pick the nomination forms and then be screened for the primaries. The communiqué also stated that women were asked to pay N5 million as against the N10 million paid by their male counterparts in order to encourage them to participate actively in politics.
The APGA national vice chairman said the NEC had, again, restated that the party was not part of the APC, adding that some governors had smuggled the logo of APGA into their advertorials. “We demand for an apology from governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos and the payment of N20 billion for doing that. We also demand N5 billion from Gov. Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State for the same offence,” he said.
The communique urged all the parties involved in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election to stick to the code of conduct signed with INEC and shun negative acts. Speaking shortly after the NEC meeting, Umeh said the meeting was summoned to prove that the party’s crisis and other important issues bordering the party had been put to rest. He said that with the return of peace among key stakeholders, APGA would definitely regain the Imo governorship seat in the next election. “APGA is set to retain the governorship of Anambra on Nov. 16. We welcome all other political parties to engage us in the contest. We are calling for a level playing ground because with a level playing ground, we are sure of victory at the end of the day,’’ he said.
The South East All Progressives Congress has described the suspension of Okorocha, as the final phase of a possible merger of the party with the ruling People’s Democratic Party. Osita Okechukwu, South East zonal publicity secretary of the party, said that the first phase to merge APGA with the PDP started with the South East zonal rally of the PDP before the 2011 general elections, where APGA publicly declared support for the PDP. He lamented that Umeh, who fought gallantly against this unholy merger, has finally capitulated.
“With the exit of Dim Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Dikedioramma Ndigbo, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State has commenced the final phase of the merger. Let’s not forget that our revered leader, Dim Ojukwu was first BoT chairman of the All Peoples Party and if he was alive, he would have been the first Igbo man to embrace the APC. We regret that the APGA national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, who fought gallantly against this unholy merger, capitulated lately. It is the considered view of the APC South East zone that 14 years down the line, Ndigbo gave an unalloyed support to the PDP without any commensurate result; hence it will be foolhardy to continue.
“In 1999, the PDP promised and repeatedly before 2003, 2007, 2011 elections, the dualisation of Abakaliki-Enugu, Abia-Akwa-Ibom, Kogi-Anambra roads, the reconstruction of Port Harcourt-Enugu, Onitsha-Enugu roads, Enugu Coal-Fired-Plant, the 2nd Niger Bridge, Onitsha Port etc. The rest they say is history, as we are yet to see any ship berthing at the Onitsha Sea Port launched with fanfare by President Goodluck Jonathan nor where the second Niger Bridge is located in any federal budget. What we saw is patching of roads,” he said.
Okorocha has reacted to his suspension, by insisting that he joined APC because the future of Ndigbo was bright in the new party. Speaking in Atlanta, United States, at a town hall meeting of Imo State Congress of America 2013 national convention, he said: “APC remains the best vehicle to promote the interest of our people. The PDP has marginalised the South East and has nothing to show for all its years in power,” he said.
He urged all Igbos to join the APC, which he noted, guarantees equity and political opportunities denied them by the ruling party. “The purported action of a faction of APGA is of little political consequence as the party lacks the national spread to ensure that the Igbo make a significant headway in the political leadership of the nation.”