…chieftains kick against claaimed reconciliation
Immediate-past Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, has insisted that he is the authentic governorship candidate of the party in 2023.
Ogah who spoke through the Spokesman of his Campaign Organisation, Sir Joshua Ogbonna, dismissed the purported reconciliation meeting of APC factions on Saturday at Ikwuano as a gathering of people without electoral values.
At the reconciliation meeting, various gladiators from the two warring camps met and declared cease fire and collapse of their structures into one united APC under the leadership of Dr Kingsley Ononogbu as the state Chairman.
They also recognised Chief Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate of the party in 2023.
Former Chairman of the party, Donatus Nwankpa led some stalwarts in his camp to the reconciliation meeting held at the Oboro country home of Chief Emeka Atuma.
Gladiators from the camp of Chief Emenike-backed Ononogbu-led leadership of the party, were also in attendance.
Both camps have been in the trenches since 2019.
But some notable APC bigwigs including Ogah, Deputy Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North; Senator Nkechi Nwogu who represented Abia Central in the sixth senate; House of Representatives House Committee Chairman on Climate Change, Hon. Sam Onuigbo; former Commissioner for Industry and senatorial aspirant, Chief Henry Ikoh, among others, were conspicuously absent.
Those at the meeting declared cease fire and urged all stakeholders and members of the party to sheath their swords and forge a united front to ensure the victory of the party in 2023.
In a swift reaction, Ogah said that “the so-called meeting had no relevance and can change nothing”, dismissing the attendees as people without electoral values.
Ogah who argued that his emergence as the party’s governorship candidate was in line with the directive of the national leadership of APC, said nobody would snatch his mandate.
He said he remained the popular choice of the masses who participated in the direct primaries that produced him.
” As far as I’m concerned, those people at the said meeting amount to nothing because they are not the grassroots.
“How many of them can win their polling units? Do they have electoral values?
“Ogah emerged from a transparent process and direct primaries as directed by our national leadership. They can’t gather and snatch the people’s mandate just like that.
“Ogah has the support of the grassroots and the masses who want a change in Abia State. His major focus now is on how to win in 2023”.
Similarly, the Secretary of the Hon. Goldie Nwagbara-led leadership of APC that produced Ogah, Perfect Okorie, has also dismissed the purported reconciliation as “a huge joke”.
He said that contrary to the claims by the participants at the meeting, the structure of the party had not collapsed but intact and firm behind their governorship candidate, Dr Ogah.
The Scribe said that statements credited to their former Chairman, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa at the meeting could not have been true.
“I know that Donatus Nwamkpa who is our former chairman will not come out to make such comments.
“APC, Abia under the acting chairmanship of Hon Goldie Nwagbara and myself as secretary is still intact, has not moved, cannot move; has not negotiated with anybody and is not willing to negotiate with anybody to the extent of saying that we are collapsing our structure.
“We know we are the true APC in the state irrespective of the antics that might be playing around. We are the authentic APC”.
Okorie said if there were any structure that was collapsing, it should collapse into their own and not the other way around, adding that “if there is any faction that exists in anybody’s imagination, they should come and collapse into our leadership”.
The Secretary insisted that “Ogah remains the authentic governorship flag bearer of the party in 2023.”
“On May 25, we held our party governorship primary in tandem with the directives of the NWC of our party which was the direct primary.
“But certain persons who believed they cannot stand the test of a fair contest, went and conducted a concocted process which they called indirect primaries.
“Whatever is the outcome, that is there business, but one thing remains very sacrosanct and that is: there can never be any indirect primaries in Abia State, reason being that apart from the letter written by the National Chairman of the party to that effect, it is on record that even INEC noted that Abia APC never conducted any delegates congress to create room for any indirect primary”
Speaking also in an interview, Chief Ikoh, said he supported any effort to re-unite the party but scorned at the claims that Atuma had been declared senatorial candidate of the party for Abia Central.
He dismissed it as ” ridiculous and dead on arrival”.
The former Commissioner said it was an error to declare somebody a candidate in an election he did not participate in.
“How can somebody who contested for the governorship and lost, turn around and claim to be the senatorial candidate in a primary he never participated in?” Ikoh queried.
The contest was between Rep. Sam Onuigbo and Chief Ikoh as Senator Nkechi Nwogu earlier cleared for the race later withdrew citing lack of transparency, while another contestant, Chief Kelvin Ugboaja, did not show up.
Although the party claimed the keenly contested exercise was inconclusive, Onuigbo polled 157 votes while Ikoh got 152 votes.
Reacting also, Rep. Onuigbo said he had long advocated the unification of the party in the interest of all, but noted he was not part of the meeting as no invitation was extended to him.
” I have been talking to our party to come together as one instead of having small-small generals in our communities. But I was not invited to the meeting”.
He, equally dismissed claims that Atuma is the senatorial candidate for Abia Central as a joke taken too far.
The lawmaker said that it was a mockery of the Constitution and the Electoral Act for somebody who never participated in a primary election to be declared candidate.
“Emeka Atuma is not the senatorial candidate, the candidate is Sam Onuigbo.
“Atuma ran to be Governor under Uche Ogah and came third. He also ran under Emenike, and came second. He has been going about claiming to be the authentic governorship candidate.
” I won the senatorial primaries having polled 157 votes ahead of my opponent who got 152 votes. Our national leadership has also issued me with the relevant documents because the panel that came for the exercise in Abia returned with evidence that showed that I won.
“I have been issued with Form EC 9 which is a form given only to successful candidates. I have since filled and returned the form. At the national office my name is there as the candidate for Abia Central; Senator Orji Uzor Kalu for Abia North; and Hon. Blessing Nwagba for Abia South.
” If Atuma is claiming to be the candidate he should know there is a law which says that for somebody to be candidate he must have passed through primary election”.
” It’s either an error or clear case of impunity which must be corrected”.
Onuigbo also refuted speculations that he had been given the House of Representatives ticket, explaining that such could not have been possible as somebody is already holding the ticket.
When contacted also, Senator Nwogu said she was not aware of any reconciliation meeting and could not comment on it.
Some of those at the meeting were the Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon Nkechi Onyejeocha; House Spokesman, Rep. Ben Kalu; APC National Welfare Officer, Chief Friday Nwosu; former Labour Minister, Chief Emeka Nwogu, among others.