- Gov accused of starving state APC of funds
The National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has expressed worry over the deepening crisis in the party.
Tinubu, who made a stopover to Imo State on his way to Awka, Anambra State, for the burial ceremony of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, last week, had a closed-door meeting with the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha, at the Government House, Owerri, where he complained of the lingering crisis in the party, particularly among chieftains, saying that there was the urgent need to get over them before the elections
WHAT TINUBU, OKOROCHA DISCUSSED
It was gathered at the weekend from a reliable source close to the party in the state that Tinubu, who President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the APC reconciliation committee chairman, told Governor Okorocha to mend ways with Senators Ifeanyi Araraume, Benjamine Uwajumoju, Izu Sinacho and other aggrieved party chieftains in the state, to ensure victory for the APC in the general elections.
Both Araraume and Uwajumogu had been at loggerheads with Okorocha over the governor’s alleged highhandedness in handling party affairs in the state, particularly in terms of starving the party of funds and a believed imposition of his Chief of Staff, who is his son-in-law as proposed successor, among others.
The crisis in Imo APC, it was learnt, degenerated to the level of abandonment of the party, as the secretariat of the party had been moribund over the years, owing to failure to fund party activities.
A chieftain of the party, who pleaded not to be mentioned, disclosed that it was not peculiar to Imo State alone, as most APC governors had not been funding the party. He lamented that the party secretariat in Imo had been abandoned in the last three years, “except, during elections when other political parties are receiving funds from either the Federal Government or Independent National Electoral Commission that we receive too; and as soon as the election is over, the party is left without funding.”
It was reliably gathered that the party members like Senators Araraume and Uwajumogu had been the ones funding the party in the state.
The source also disclosed that APC members at the meeting between Tinubu and Okorocha expressed the need to resolve all intra-party crises in the state before the conduct of party primaries, as failure to do this could deepen the acrimony already existing among members.
EFFECT OF OBJ’S LETTER
It was learnt also, that the letter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari was discussed, as the former Governor of Lagos was said to have told Okorocha not to worry about the letter, adding that the former president was only playing politics with the letter. He reportedly said Obasanjo had access to talk to Buhari on the issues raised in the letter.
It was gathered that most of the APC governors had been entertaining fear over Obasanjo’s letter to Buhari, particularly some of the governors who had been receiving favour and political protection from the
As part of Tinubu’s reconciliation moves, he is said to have been tasked to also reconcile followers of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who, out of some irreconcilable differences with some chieftains of the party, defected to the Peoples Democratic
It was gathered that since the ex-VP’s exit, the leadership of the National Assembly and some governors loyal to Atiku had been inching to leave the APC for the PDP.
Tinubu, it was gathered, also spoke extensively on the welfare of the members.
IMO APC CHAIR EVASIVE
Speaking to our correspondent on Tinubu’s visit and crisis in the party, the APC state chairman, Mr. Hillary Eke, was rather evasive. He said that he was aware that Tinubu stopped over in Imo while on his way to Awka for the burial of former Vice President Ekwueme but that he was not carried along regarding any peace meeting.
“I know that Tinubu made a stopover on his way to Awka and the onus was on us to receive him and accompany him to the burial ceremony. I was not part of the meeting. You know that if such a meeting is going to be held, I will not be part of it,” he said.
However, he noted, “There is no peace on earth, much less in a political party. So if Tinubu came to discuss problems in the party, it is good; if they discussed the welfare of the party, it is also good.
“In political parties, there will always be quarrel, misunderstanding and disagreement and moves will be made to settle these minor issues.”
However, the APC chairman added, rather sarcastically, “Nobody has come to me to report any problem against any person. So, I am not a troublemaker, going to find out if any member is having any problem with another member, until such an aggrieved member reports his case to the party.”
He, however, agreed that, “there is in-house fighting which is normal, but the supremacy of the party is not in doubt.”
“If anybody is offended, there is a channel of communication. The person should report such a matter to the party, but none of these members, Okorocha, Araraume or Uwajumogu has reported any matter or complained of any problem. I am not a troublemaker, going about to find out aggrieved members or if there is a problem in the party,” he replied.
On party funding, the party chairman said that governors could not fund political parties because the money they spend belong to the public, “and the governors cannot use people’s money to fund political parties.”
According to him, parties are funded by INEC and the Federal Government. “And every party has its source of funding, which include party contributions, donations, launching funds, among other. This is in the constitution.”
However, the extent to which Tinubu’s visit would help reconcile the aggrieved persons in Imo APC remains to be seen.