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[OPINION] APC Parallel Congress In Abia And The Choice Before The Party At The National Headquarter, By Ikechukwu Uzuegbu

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On the 16th of October, 2021 All Progressive Congress, APC, held their  State Congresses across the country. In some of the States it was very peaceful, while  in some others, it was a different kettle of fish.

As expected, Abia State witnessed factionalized Congress with the emergence of two State Executives. Hon Acho Obioma emerged as the Chairman of the faction that derived its power, existence from the pre-existing State Exco chaired by Hon Donatus Nwankpa and supported by some of the leading political heavy weights in the Party in the  State, while one Chief Enyinnaya Harbour emerged as the factional chairman of Chief Ikechi Emenike  Group supported mainly by Sir Friday Nwosu and Hon Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.

Before the State Congress, Ward and Local Government Congresses had already taken place in the State and had produced factionalised leadership which the National Secretariat is presently battling to arrive at a decision that is in compliance with the Party’s Constitution that is supreme.

THE REASON FOR THE CRISIS
The present crisis in Abia APC is self inflicted. It is unfortunate that the National Secretariat presently headed by His Excellency, Mai Mala Buni is heavily implicated. Recall that when Comrade  Adams Oshiomhole, the former Governor of Edo State  was removed as the National Chairman of the Party by the Party’s NEC,  His Exellency Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State was chosen  as Chairman of Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the party.

Those State Executives at the State level were renamed Caretaker Committees in the same vein.

All Progressive Congress State Exco in Abia State  were never dissolved or was there any  time the Executives resigned from their positions.

All correspondences, interactions and invitations were being extended to the State Executive headed by Hon Donatus Nwankpa by the National Secretariat up to the time that Congresses were due to be conducted.

Surprisingly, the National Secretariat in clear breach of APC’s constitution, Election Guidelines, sent Congress Committee officers to Abia State for the Ward, Local Government and even the State Congress and told them to go and conduct the various Congresses without the involvement of the legitimate Caretaker Committee in place in the State.

Few posers here will put things in proper perspective.

1. How is it possible for those few persons sent from the National Secretariat in Abuja  to come into a State and organise a successful Congress in all the Wards, Local Governments Areas in the State without the input and support of the legitimate State Exco on ground? What data did they use if I may ask?

2. Under what provision of the Constitution of APC can the Congress Committee from the National Secretariat conduct the Congresses of the Ward and Local Government without the input of the legitimate State Exco?  Who handed over the various screened contestants to the Congress  Committee that came  from the National Secretariat?

If you are thinking what I am thinking about the answers to the above questions, it becomes clearer by the day that the National Secretariat deliberately for reasons yet to be deciphered, precipitated the present parallel Congresses that have trailed the Ward, Local Government and culminating to the State Congress that produced the present parallel leadership.

Is this posture of the National Secretariat fair to the Party and its teeming members in the State? What does the National Secretariat want to  achieve by handing over the State to a person that has no recognition under the constitution of the party in any of the leadership structures, moreso, when that person has no grassroot followership in the State?

Can three “prominent” members of the Party in the State, in contradiction to hundreds of other prominent members of the party   deliver Abia State from the demonic stranglehold it suffers under the present leadership manning the affairs of the State?

Will Abia be imperiled in perpetuity in bad leadership without deliverance in sight? Why is the party that everyone is looking up to for deliverance, deliberating setting grounds for monumental failure in future elections by entering into a trap set by ITSELF?

WHY THE PARALLEL CONGRESS OF CHIEF IKECHI EMENIKE SHOULD NOT SEE THE LIGHT OF THE DAY.

Following the directive from the Caretaker Extra Ordinary/Covention Planning Committee for State Chapters of the party to hold its State Congress on the 16th of October, 2021, the Abia APC informed members interested in the various executive positions in the State executive to purchase their forms in accordance with the party guidelines.

The State Executive Committee equally  in compliance with the directive of the party set up a Screening Committee that screened all persons who paid and purchased the nomination forms from the party.

At the end of the screening exercise, qualified candidates emerged and ready for the Congress for all the executive positions of the party.
The party also published and posted on the party notice board at the Secretariat the full list of ALL DELEGATES ELECTED AT THE WARD CONGRESS AND  ALSO THE FULL LIST OF ALL STATUTORY DELEGATES.

Sometime in this same October, 2021, the Party held its stakeholders meeting at the State Secretariat and a State Executive Committee meeting wherein the State Secretary was directed to issue a Statutory Notice for the summoning of the State Congress.

The parallel Congress held by Chief Ikechi Emenike in which one Chief Enyinnaya Habour needs a bit of interrogations here for clarity:

1. The delegates that elected him and his fellow Exco are products of which Congress?

2. Was the State Exco that has custody of members of the party at the Ward level part of the process that produced them?

3. The Ward Delegates, the Local Government officers viz chairman and Secretary who were recently elected at the just concluded Congresses, were they part of the people that elected Chief Ikechi Emenike State Exco?

4. Was it right and lawful for the said Chief Enyinnaya Habour to write to INEC, Police and other Agencies and bodies and claimed to be the Chairman of the State Exco when he was not elected through any known Congress before the date of the State Congress?

5. Does this not indicate forgery or impersonation when he claimed to be the Chairman of the State Exco of the party when he was not?

6. Does this impersonation not a proof to the doubting Thomases that the State Exco of the party is a veritable vehicle for the conduct of a successful Congress in any State in the Federation?

If the State Exco is not part of the Congress process as being claimed in some quarters, why then did Chief Enyinnaya Habour claimed to be the State Chairman of APC in the State and performed the role of Hon Donatus Nwankpa before the Congresses?

7. Can any legitimate State Exco of the Party emerge in which the legitimate ward delegates, local government delegates, the State Exco officials who are statutory delegates and the over 30 statutory delegates neither participated nor supported?

Can such State Exco at any time earn legitimacy either by law or logic?

The group that produced Hon Acho Obioma as the Chairman was a product of the DELEGATES elected at the Ward Congress on the 31st July, 2021 and with STATUTORY MEMBERS OF THE PARTY from all levels.

The State Congress took place at indoor Hall at Umuahia Township  Stadium after accreditation of all Delegates.

Six persons who purchased the nomination forms for the chairmanship made themselves available and while the party leaders met and agreed on consensus candidates for all the other positions, it was resolved that the position of the chairmanship will be decided by the ballot. All the six candidates contested for the position of the chairmanship and they were Pastor Dike Nwankwo, Chidi Nwosu, Acho  Obioma, Princewill  Ukaegbu, Sylvanus Nwaji and Goldie Wabara. It was an open secret balloting system. Hon Acho Obioma who scored 298 votes to beat all others was declared winner in the election that was supervised properly in accordance with the Electoral Guidelines of the Party.

THE CHOICE BEFORE THE APC NATIONAL SECRETARIAT

The National Secretariat headed by His Exellency, Mai  Mala Buni has the power and right to make a choice of either promoting harmony and unity of the party at Abia or destroy the party and its chances in 2023 by choosing the leadership that was never elected or chosen in accordance with the Party’s Constitution and Guidelines. Nobody, I repeat, nobody puts something on nothing and expects a good result.

The foundational emergence of leadership at this level of the ruling party at the State level is critical to the success of the party in 2023 elections and should be handled with caution and care. If the foundation be destroyed, the Holy book warns, that there is nothing the righteous can do.

The Party leadership is hereby put on notice that treading the part of legality, caution with wisdom will save the party from the looming doom and explosion that is waiting on the wings to happen. Let the leadership of the party religiously search for the black goat while it is day time!

Again, a word is enough for the wise!

Ikechukwu Uzuegbu Esq.
Abuja Based Legal Practitioner.

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