By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state says he is still the senatorial candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) despite the suspension by the party last week.
In the list of senatorial candidates published by the INEC, the governor’s name is among the candidates of the APC in Imo state that will contest the February 16 2019 National Assembly election.
Okorocha, who is the chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, an assemblage of APC governors in Nigeria, was Thursday night suspended for anti-party activities by the state chapter of the APC.
The chairman of the state chapter of the party, Prince Marcellinus Nlemigbo, in a release, said the action was taken, after a report from the disciplinary committee set up to investigate allegations of anti-party activities against the governor.
The disciplinary committee, headed by former member of House of Representatives, Matthew Omegara, had earlier last week, summoned the governor and six others to appear before the committee for anti-party activities and for allegedly bringing the party to disrepute and ridicule.
The party, at the national level, following the activities of the governor and state executives, dissolved the state executives, noting that they could not be trusted to work for the good of the party. It thereafter, set up a caretaker committee, headed by Nlemigbo.
Nlemigbo listed the action of the governor that constituted anti-party activities to include; sponsorship of a rival political party, Action Alliance (AA), in Imo state and its governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu, as well as open denunciation of APC and its governorship candidate, Hope Uzodimma, in the state.
The caretaker committee said its action is in line with Article 21 (B) I-VI of the APC constitution as amended in 2014.
Reacting to the news of his suspension, Governor Okorocha through his chief press secretary, Sam Onwuemeodo, said APC cannot suspend him because the party has no reason to do so. He said never at any time was he suspended or expelled from the party as the APC never contemplated doing that and would not have any reason to think about that.
Okorocha, who obviously does not recognise Nlemigbo’s caretaker committee leadership of the party in the state, insisted that there was no faction in Imo APC as only one APC exists and led by Hon. Daniel Nwafor as chairman and himself as leader of the party.
“Any other group claiming to be a faction of Imo APC must obviously be a gang of 419ers or league of fraudsters who are experts in issuance of dud cheques and collecting billions for jobs not done.
“The only contentious issue in Imo APC is that the national chairman of the party, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole imposed a known PDP member and a known character in the state on the party as its governorship candidate, and by so doing, pushing the party and its members to a very tight corner especially when it comes to the issue of marketing a candidate.
“If Mr. Oshiomhole didn’t want the preferred candidate of members of the party in the state, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, for any reason, and if he actually meant well for Imo APC, he would have taken one of the guber aspirants that formed the coalition who are known members of the party, and who are also from Owerri zone since that was the reason some of them in the coalition claimed that made them to leave the government”, the statement reads in part.
The governor accused the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomole of imposing a candidate on the party.
“Aside this problem, Oshiomhole also told his audience that he has dissolved the EXCOs of the party from the state to the wards in total disregard of a ruling by Hon. Justice O.A. Musa of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Bwari Abuja, delivered on August 14, 2018 in Suit No: FCT/HC/BW/CV/103/2018.
“In the ruling, Justice Musa stated; ‘An order of perpetual injunction is hereby made restraining the 1st and 2nd Defendants either by themselves, the National Working Committee, or National Executive Committee from either removing, substituting, replacing, suspending or interfering with the tenure of the 3rd Defendant/Claimant, his executive and all elected officers of the 1st Defendant contained in exhibits A, B, C and D from their elected offices’.
“And to the best of our knowledge, Justice Musa’s ruling has neither been appealed against nor quashed. In other words, Mr. Oshiomhole decided to urinate on the High Court ruling when he said he has dissolved the Daniel Nwafor EXCO and has set up the M.O. Nlemigbo Caretaker Committee. One therefore does not need to be a SAN to know that the national chairman’s action was null, void and of no effect. It was effort in futility and that is why a contempt charge has been filed against him”.