By Tony Edike
ENUGU â€” IKEMBA Nnewi and leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu said yesterday that by according recognition to Chief Chekwas Okorie as National Chairman of the party against subsisting court orders, the INEC Chairman, Maurice Iwu is walking his way into jail.
Speaking with newsmen at his GRA residence in Enugu, Ojukwu who was the presidential candidate of APGA in the 2007 election said the attitude of the INEC chairman, particularly as exhibited in the illegal recognition of Okorie, has rubbished President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s stance on the rule of law.
He wondered why the Presidency should continue to watch Iwu violate orders of competent courts in the land regarding electoral and political issues, saying the ugly trend, if not urgently checked, could create the impression to the entire world that Nigeria was not serious with democracy and the rule of law.
Ojukwu was reacting to the recent recognition of Chief Okorie as APGA National Chairman by INEC which hinged its action on the fact that the Chief Victor Umeh-led National Executive of the party has not conducted the partyâ€™s national convention to ratify the expulsion of Okorie, who was the founding chairman, from the party.
The Ikemba Nnewi observed that Iwuâ€™s action was borne out of â€œmischiefâ€, saying â€œit is unfair that Nigeria is going through this kind of thing.â€
He said: â€œI am the leader of the party and I have made it categorically clear that Chief Victor Umeh remains the National Chairman of APGA. There is no doubt about that. We are watching Iwu walking into jail for disobeying court order and according Okorie recognition to cause confusion in the party.â€
According to Ojukwu, the expelled founding chairman with the backing of Iwu had caused serious distractions in the party but added that APGA which, he said, enjoys the support of a great number of Ndigbo, has remained focused.
â€œAs far as any intelligent Nigerian knows, Chekwas has no locus in this matter. Any time the matter is raised, he has no justification. I am not shy about my headship of APGA.
APGA is supported by a great number of Ndigbo and I am the leader of Ndigbo in Nigeria. It is a statement of fact. I will remain loyal to Ndigbo throughout my days. Ndigbo should therefore not allow this to derail the cause we have charted, which is peace in Nigeria,â€ said Ojukwu.
He insisted that he would never support the position taken by Okorie on the APGA leadership rift, declaring that â€œhe (Okorie) is not a member of APGA and he can never be until he changes his position.â€
Ojukwu, however, called on the leadership and members of the party to remain steadfast and resist any attempt by mischievous persons and enemies of the party to cause confusion within their ranks.