By Dayo Benson & Chris Ochayi
ABUJA â€” THE factional crisis rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, deepened yesterday as the faction led by Chief Victor Umeh announced in Abuja, yesterday, the commencement of sale of governorship nomination forms for next Februaryâ€™s election in Anambra State.
Okorie’s faction sells guber form for N5m
The development came on the heels of a similar announcement by the Chief Chekwas Okorie faction which asked aspirants to pick the partyâ€™s governorship nomination form for N5 million
Umeh’s faction sells form forÂ N4.5m
Umehâ€™s faction of the party which pegged its own form at N4.5 million after a meeting of the National Working Committee, described Okorieâ€™s action as illegal, having been expelled from the party just as Governor Peter Obi stressed that he would swim or sink with Umeh.
Chief Umeh, who said female aspirants wishing to participate in the governorship election could obtain the form free of charge, noted that aspirants wishing to obtain the nomination form should come with their APGA membership cards with letters of introduction from their ward chairmen. He added the aspirants must present their Tax Clearance Certificate for the past three years.
Umeh citing the verdicts of two FCT courts which, he said, affirmed the expulsion of Okorie from the party, said â€œOkorie is an impostor who is relying on illegal action taken by INEC.
â€œWe wish to use this opportunity to call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State by strictly adhering to the rule of law to avoid bungling the exercise.â€
INEC, he warned, â€œmust obey all court decisions/judgements particularly as they affect APGA leadershipâ€, adding â€œINEC must be a neutral umpire and make this election transparent, credible, free and fairâ€.
On the factions in the party, he said, â€œwhat makes a party? Is it one individual? One individual cannot make a party.
The APGA all of you know has remained one APGA since we expelled Chekwas Okorie. We worked with him, most of the party officials here present worked with him. We worked under him and we are still together.
â€œSo the party has remained together. The only reason why you give APGA attention and why you have come to cover this press conference is to know whether Mr. Peter Obi, the Governor of Anambra State would be part of the election, thatâ€™s the only thing that brought you here.
â€œAnd itâ€™s because Governor Peter Obi is with this leadership of the APGA. That is the only government APGA is running in Nigeria. Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu who is the pillar of our party is with this leadership of this APGA. So how will Okorie will be a factor in a governorship election in Anambra State?
And he is from Abia State; he is not from Anambra State and he has nothing to contribute.â€
However, the decision of the Umeh faction to sell nomination forms appeared contradictory having earlier adopted Obi as its candidate, but he said it was to fulfil all righteousness as required by INEC
APGA supports Obi for 2nd term, says Umeh
According to him, â€œIt is to fulfill all righteousness. You know INEC has to come and watch state congress where a candidate is adopted, so that is why we have to do it.â€
When asked why anybody should bother to buy the nomination form when Governor Obi had already been adopted, he said, â€œanybody who thinks he can beat him can come forward, but the whole party is behind him (Obi).â€