Imo APC guber tussle: Madumere, Araraume, Uwajumogu form coalition against Okorocha

  • Their gang-up’ll collapse, says gov
  • Okorocha losing popularity – Uwajumogu

coalition force has been formed to stop the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, from installing his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as governor of the state in 2019, The Point’s investigations have revealed.

The coalition, made up of in-house opposition groups in the All Progressives Congress, it was gathered, was also formed to strengthen the party, said to have been lying moribund for a long time.

Tell me; is there anywhere in the Constitution where it is stated that a person’s in-law will not succeed him as governor? There is no place it says Nwosu contravenes the Nigerian Constitution… Or did I do a bad thing to have given my daughter to a poor man?

 

The group, which reportedly has as members, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume; a member of the National Working Committee of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso; Imo Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere; the Secretary to the APC National Convention Organising Committee, Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu; and a former Secretary to the State Government under Okorocha, Sir Jude Ejiogu, is said to be determined to present a formidable force that will take absolute control of the party’s affairs in the state.

It was learnt that Araraume, Madumere and Ejiogu were contesting for the governorship ticket while “Uwajumogu is seeking a return ticket for Okigwe senatorial seat.”

CONSENSUS CANDIDATURE

However, it was gathered that there might be a consensus candidate for the governorship ticket, which might likely come from Okigwe, where Araraume hails from, even though the Owerri zone is still opposed to this arrangement.

According to findings, only Owerri zone has not produced a governor for the state.

Orlu zone, from where Governor Okorocha hails, has produced governor for 16 years, and Owerri zone fears that if the governor succeeds in installing his son-in-law, who incidentally is from Orlu, that zone would have succeeded in having power for 32 years, while Okigwe zone would have had only four years.

However, the coalition, in raising a formidable force, may become an obstacle to Governor Okorocha’s dream of making his son in-law, Nwosu, who is the current Chief of Staff, to succeed him.

According to a source close to the coalition, Araraume may contest the governorship primary slot with Okorocha’s son in-law, Nwosu, at the APC primary election; while Ejiogu from Owerri zone, is likely to accept the deputy governor position.

He said Madumere, having been a deputy governor, might settle for the senatorial seat of Owerri zone, while Uwajumogu was primed to retain his senatorial seat for Okigwe zone.

It was learnt that the party’s National Working Committee had confidence in the members of the Araraume and Izunaso group for the primaries and the 2019 electoral contest in the state.

Also, the latest appointment of Senator Uwajumogu as Secretary to the APC National Convention Organising Committee has reportedly unsettled the Okorocha camp.

The present appointment is coming on the heels of the Technical Committee that navigated the ruling party out of the issue of tenure elongation where he (Uwajumogu) served as a member, along with Governor Lalong of Plateau State and Malam Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State.

The announcement of Uwajumogu to the exalted position appears to have balanced the power structure of the party in the state, which was solely left in the hands of Governor Okorocha.

For some reasons, the popularity (of Okorocha) seems to be waning. A lot of people are complaining about being left out of the system. I think the governor needs to rejig his policies and listen to people more

 

The appointment, it was gathered, has changed the game in favour of the opposition kicking against the imposition of candidates on the party as they have agreed to jointly save the sinking ship.

The coalition is said to be at home with the Imo APC Restoration Group, which emerged recently after a meeting in Imerienwe, in the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area, where a former commissioner for Information under Okorocha, T.O.E Ekechi, who steered the campaign committee of President Muhammadu Buhari’s election in 2015, holds sway.

An analyst said that this coalition force, if not managed properly by the party leadership in Abuja, might create a crack that might give opposition parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party, the chance to bounce back in the state in 2019.

In addition, he pointed out that the recent confidence reposed in Uwajumogu by the ruling party’s hierarchy was a signal that it might not be business as usual for the governor’s camp.

COALITION SET TO HIJACK IMO APC

It was gathered that since the official release posted on the news website of APC pronounced members of the convention committee, efforts had been made by Governor Okorocha’s camp to reconcile the governor and Senator Uwajumogu but to no avail.

Recall that not only a cold war exists between Uwajumogu and Okorocha; the senator also belongs to the opposing camp not disposed to the governor in Imo APC. The Okigwe zone senator is a strong ally of Senator Araraume, who is warming up to become governor.

Investigations also revealed that the Okorocha camp is worried about the presence of Uwajumogu as the committee’s scribe, more so as he is in alliance with Araraume.

Though, the Governor of Imo State is a member of the committee, like other APC governors and top chieftains of the party picked across the country, the position of Uwajumogu as the committee’s secretary has unsettled the governor who, it was gathered, reportedly threatened the leadership of the party with his defection, if Uwajumogu was not dropped.

Recall also that Okorocha and Uwajumogu had been involved in verbal war in recent time, which may mean that the congresses and convention could be another ‘warfront’ to test their political supremacy.

The position of Uwajumogu as the Convention Committee Secretary will also resurrect the battle for who controls the structure of the party before the 2019 pre-election primaries, scheduled to hold before the end of the year. Before now, Okorocha and the group Uwajumogu belongs in the Imo APC had been entangled in the battle for the party’s delegate list.

Feelers are rife that Uwajumogu may use his vantage position as committee secretary to checkmate the influence of Okorocha in having his way to produce Exco members of the party from wards and LGAs to state levels.

‘OKOROCHA NO LONGER POPULAR’

Uwajumogu had recently hit Okorocha by criticising some of the governor’s policies, decrying his penchant for not carrying the state party’s stakeholders along in his administration.

“My advice, frankly, is that the governor started very well, especially from 2011 to 2015. Perhaps, outside Mbakwe, I do not think anybody had been as popular as the governor. For some reasons, the popularity seems to be waning. A lot of people are complaining about being left out of the system. I think the governor needs to rejig his policies and listen to people more and be a little more considerate, and if he does that, I believe he will introduce happiness into Imo State,” the senator had urged.

Okorocha did not take the senator’s subtle attack on him lightly, as he now appears to have thrown his weight behind the current Commissioner for Information, Prof. Nnamdi Obiareri, to grab the party’s Okigwe senatorial ticket from Uwajumogu, during the forthcoming primaries.

‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY IN-LAW SUCCEEDING ME?’

Speaking to journalists on Thursday at the Government House, the governor complained bitterly that Uwajumogu, Madumere and Ejiogu were being used by some national leaders to gang up against him.

“There are people fighting Okorocha nationally. But they will not succeed,” the governor said.

He added, “Look at Madumere fighting against me. He never contested for the deputy governor, I appointed him. I never believed that Madumere would one day in this life stand up against me. How will Jude Ejiogu, Araraume and Madumere work? They will not find peace until they come back to their father.

“Tell me; is there anywhere in the Constitution where it is stated that a person’s in-law will not succeed him as governor? There is no place it says Nwosu contravenes the Nigerian Constitution. Bola Tinubu was a governor of Lagos State and his wife is a senator; Daura Local Government area where President Muhammadu Buhari comes from had produced former President Shehu Yar’Adua, yet they could not stop Buhari coming from the same local government with the late Yar’Adua.

“Even in America, President Bush became the president when his son was a governor and his son took over as the president. It is so annoying that in this modern time, people are thinking this way. Let’s get the best, irrespective of where he comes from. Or did I do a bad thing to have given my daughter to a poor man?”