By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—THE crisis rocking Abia state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, deepened weekend, with the factions still laying claims to the leadership of the party in the state.
Also, the two factions have embarked on gale of suspension of members from the opposing camps.
While the Chief Ikechi Emenike faction led by Dr. Emmanuel Ndukwe who secured court order last week to run the party announced the suspension of some members of the party including, the erstwhile state chairman, Donatus Nwankpa and six others over alleged anti party activities; the Nwankpa group also claimed that Chief Emenike has been suspended by the party in his ward.
The two factions had press briefings weekend at different venues in Umuahia. Speaking to news men, the state publicity secretary of the Chief Ikechi Emenike group, Dr. Chris Ugochukwu announced the suspension of some notable members of the party including, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa, Hon. Acho Obioma, Chief Sam Nkire, the 2015 governorship candidate of the party, Anyim Nyerere, Ben Godson, Merechi Onuoha and John Ogumka indefinitely.
“For continually parading themselves as party officials despite court order which had restrained them from doing such, they are suspended from their political wards to the state level”, Ugochukwu said.
He said the national leadership of the party recognized their leadership, hence the chairman, Dr. Emma Ndukwe attended the last National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja.
Ugochukwu explained that by their suspension, they should stop parading themselves as Abia APC party officials and warned that further violation of the court order would lead to decisive steps taken against them.
He called on APC members in the state to join hands with them to rebuild the party to take over the governance of Abia State in 2019.
In his own briefing, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa insisted that he remains the state chairman of the party and told other parties in the state not to rejoice over the current dispute in the party, saying that disagreement does not mean disintegration.
“For some time, the media have been awash with some comments with regard to the leadership of the party in the state. Yes, we must be honest to ourselves, there was a court action, an order was given by the court at Okpuala Ngwa in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area presided by Justice C.U. Okoroafor.”
On who is in control, Nwankpa claimed that “there is no tussle, there is no controversy, there is no question in respect to the true leadership of the APC in Abia State. So, there is no dispute about it. I am still the chairman of the party until the congress re-elects me or removes me.”
“In spite of the irregularities, abuse of process and other illegal impunity that almost characterized the system which got to a level of judicial rascality, but because the party is law abiding and because we believe that the judge may have been misinformed, knowing the pedigree of Justice Okoroafor, we took the process accordingly and that was by approaching the same court, appealing to the same court not only vacate the order; even though we are going to raise some criminal charges in respect to some forgery and some documentations that was placed there inappropriately.
“But the party being a law abiding party, we immediately appealed to the court, because the order that was given to us; that was brought before the court was not an Experte Motion. It was motion on notice and since it was a motion on notice, all steps of service and all processes must have been followed, unfortunately the court was deceived”, Nwankpa said.
“The matter in the court is about restructuring of the party. The matter in the court is about harmonization. It is not that everyone is accusing each other and I want to remind you that the party has conflict resolution instruments, at the appropriate time, the matter will be resolved just as every family matter is being resolved.
“People should not misconstrue our disagreement to mean disintegration. This disagreement is getting us better because we are trying to resolve areas of weaknesses and get improved for the forthcoming election. For us to move to government house, we must disagree and agree and that is what is in the process.”