Many politicians who few months ago would not near General Muhammadu Buhari are beating one another to get an audience with the president-elect. The competition to be Buhari’s friend is stoking crisis in state chapters of the All Progressives Congress, APC
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
It was perhaps an act of providence that Chief Adolo Okotie-Eboh who was recently returned as the Delta State chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC missed his flight from Lagos to Abuja last Wednesday. Only few would have imagined what would have happened had he caught up with the convoy of party stakeholders from his state had he met them before they were bussed from the Transcorp Hilton Hotel for the scheduled meeting with the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Okotie-Eboh’s miss, inadvertently prevented a possible embarrassing showdown between him and Olorogun Otega Emerhor, the man running the affairs of the party in the state.
Both men are indeed steeped in their positions as “victims of injustice.” While Okotie-Eboh is alleging that he is being denied his due by the national secretariat of the party, Emerhor who was the party’s governorship candidate in the recent elections is claiming that the elections were rigged against him.
Publicity secretary of the Okotie-Eboh faction of the party, Alex Eyengho confirming the bad blood in the state chapter of the party told Vanguard yesterday: “Whether anyone likes it or not, APC in Delta State is highly, factionalised. We have three major factions. The Otega/Prophet Jones Erue faction, the Adolo Okotie Eboh faction which has secured the court judgment dissolving the Erue executive, and also, the Temi Harriman, Okpozo, Alex Ideh faction. The group that went to Abuja was just Otega’s group.”
The factional visit was reflective of the deep divisions in the party in the state which is yet to recover after the Jones faction, a month ago, caused to be published advertorials on the alleged expulsion of some major stakeholders from the party.
The announcement which was denounced by major national and state stakeholders was, ironically, quickly disowned by Jones. Temi Harriman, the state coordinator for General Muhammdu Buhari and Dr. Alex Ideh, who was the secretary of the APC National Convention Committee, NCC have largely been indifferent to the Jones faction.
The crisis in Delta according to stakeholders, was instigated to smear the pair of Harriman and Ideh who were prominent in the national campaign from possible rewards in the Buhari government.
Conspicuous by their absence in the visit to Buhari were APC leaders like Dr. Pat Utomi, Chief Hyacinth Enuha, Chief LJ Esigie, Harriman, Ideh and DIG Donald Ugbaja (rtd.)
The APC in Enugu State is also having its own internal convulsion following what the state chapter of the party alleged on Wednesday as plans by two former ministers, Senator Jim Nwobodo and Prof. Bath Nnaji to secretly enter the party.
State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mrs. Kate Offor, briefing newsmen on the issue described the alleged action of the two men as “medicine after death.”
“At an enlarged meeting of the State Executive Committee of Enugu State Chapter of APC, we unequivocally resolved that the membership drive aimed at enlisting Prof. Barth Nnaji, Chief Jim Nwobodo and co into our great party be stopped forthwith.
“For us, it is medicine after death, given the shameful result we recorded in the presidential election, and governorship where we got less than three per cent and 10 per cent of the total votes cast in Enugu State respectively.
The Enugu APC officials were apparently not happy that Nwobodo went ahead of them to pay Buhari a visit.
Another solidarity visit to General Buhari by some political stakeholders from Akwa Ibom State has also drawn the ire of APC leaders from that state.
The delegation from Akwa Ibom State led by the immediate past governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah had paid a solidarity visit to Buhari during which they lamented the conduct of the last elections in the state saying that the elections were rigged against the APC.
The trouble for the APC local government chairmen in the state, however, is that Attah is yet to formally cross over from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the APC.
The APC local government chairmen in a joint statement rejected the delegation as that of the APC saying that “Commendable as the visit was in apprising the president-elect of his immediate challenge in office regarding Akwa Ibom State,” that the group “lied to the president-elect and Nigerians by trying to pass their delegation as that of the stakeholders of the APC Akwa Ibom State, a development that could confuse the president-elect or at least mislead him.”
The divisions in Delta, Enugu and Akwa Ibom are, however, apparently missing in Rivers State, ironically, one of the major strongholds of the party in the South-South region.
Receiving a delegation of party officials from the state also on Wednesday, Buhari had pledged that the persecutions suffered by APC members would not be swept under the carpet.
He spoke in reference to alleged acts of harassment by security men in collaboration with another political party in the state.
“We will confront them with facts and figures. We will not forgive and we will not forget those who perpetrated killings and arson in Rivers State during the elections. At least this is the much we owe Nigerians.”