-There wasn’t congresses in Imo—Okorocha
—We convinced VP that congresses held–Okorocha’s ex-Commissioner
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE peace meeting brokered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to resolve the crisis in the Imo State All Progressives Congress, APC, as a result of the last week’s contentious ward congresses ended up in a deadlock.
The Vice President had Thursday in his trouble shooting efforts, met behind closed-doors separately with Governor Rochas Okorocha and his camp and some political heavyweights including the deputy governor, Prince Eze Madumere, but his efforts yielded no result as the different camps held tightly to their positions.
Governor Okorocha who spoke to the State House correspondents after the marathon meeting insisted that there was no congress held last Saturday, and that there will be a new Congress, while his estranged deputy, Madumere, said they have been able to convince Prof. Osinbajo with documentary evidence that congress indeed held.
The first group to meet with the Vice President was the political stakeholders led by Madumere, which had in attendance, Senators Ifeanyi Ararume, Osita Izunaso and Benjamin Umajumogu, Okorocha’s former Commissioner for Information, Theodore Ekechi, among others.
Then Okorocha in company of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who he had endorsed as his would-be APC governorship candidate in the 2019 election came nearly an hour later, after the meeting with Madumere camp had commenced.
Recall that Governor Okorocha who is Chairman of the APC’s Governors Forum had last Sunday, rushed to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State alongside, Chairman of Nigeria’s Governors Forum and Katsina State governor, Abdulaziz Yari to complain about his disappointment with those mandated to conduct the congress.
Speaking to journalists last night, Okorocha said, “There will be new Congress, there was no Congress at all in Imo State. And it is very clear that even the supporting documents and videos show that there was no Congress. INEC has confirmed no Congress, security agencies have confirmed no Congress, the party leadership has confirmed no Congress, the party chairman has spoken no Congress. And, nobody came to the field, the result sheets was missing and it was traceable to the national organizing secretary’s house and all of a sudden the chairman of the panel disappeared from his house at 6pm in the evening, how could there have been Congress? The matter is being investigated by the security agencies.
Asked why he still came for the meeting if it was established that there were no congresses, Okorocha, “I didn’t come with them, I came for different thing all together. I didn’t come for this meeting.”
When reminded that the chairman of the APC in the state said there was Congress, the Governor said, “Okay, we can also give you a video showing clearly where he said there was no Congress on that day. You know, these are manipulations that will not yield any result, they know the truth.”
Asked when the new Congress will hold, he said, “Well, it will be announced by the party.”
He said he had no idea that his deputy and others were in the villa.
But countering the governor, his former commissioner for information and strategy, Theodore Ekechi, said they were able to show documentary evidence that the congress did hold.
He said, “As you can clearly see, both from our faces and demeanor, we just had what we may call a very eventful meeting with the Vice President. We are grateful for the opportunity and privilege to tell the other side of the story. I think by our presentations we have successfully deflated all the lies that have been peddled all over the country and within the state.
“I think by our presentation today, we have been able to state clearly that Congress clearly and really held. What did not take place in Imo state last Saturday was simply that we resisted the temptation, the intimidation, the blackmail to write the result of the congress in the Government House Owerri.
“What did not take place last week is that we said the old has passed away and things are going to be done anew in Imo State. In other words, not one man determine the results of the congresses in the 305 wards of the state. It is very clear that APC has returned to the owners of the party, that is the people.
“You saw all those who came with the Governor, his son-in law, former errand boy and newly recruited commissioner. But here you are, this is Imo State.
“Here we have the deputy governor of the state, the only elected senator of the south east under APC, former speaker house of assembly, Imo state, another former speaker house of assembly, Imo state, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, the immediate past Secretary to the State Government and immediate past chief of staff, former commissioner for information and strategy, chairman of the party and deputy chairman of the party, you have 25 local governments chairmen of the party in the state on this side, who then is left in Imo State.”