Imo State Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peter Ezeobi, at the weekend, said that the party’s choice of Senator Ifeanyi Godwin Ararume as the governorship standard bearer of the party in the state was a landmark decision collectively taken to ensure the party emerges victorious in next year’s poll.
Also, elders of Imo State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under the aegis of Imo State Elders Committee of PDP, rose from its meeting at the party’s secretariat, Owerri, and announced their endorsement of Chief Emeka Ihedioha, as the governorship standard bearer of the party in the state.
Ezeobi, who spoke during a formal presentation of the party’s flag to Ararume at the party’s secretariat in Owerri, also stated that the petitions from the aggrieved aspirants were being looked into by the national leadership of the party.
In his speech at the occasion, when his supporters thronged Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport to welcome him, Senator Ararume, who moved in a motorcade to the party’s secretariat, pleaded with the aggrieved aspirants numbering over 15 to join him and work for victory next year.
While urging journalists to be objective in their reportage of political events, the APGA gubernatorial candidate said: “For us members of APGA, our women, our youths, at the end of the day, the victory would be ours.
My advice is for us to be our brothers’ keepers; this situation we have on our hands is of no victor, no vanquished. My brothers who aspired meant well. They see me well. All of us should work as one.”
It would be recalled that other aspirants faulted the process that led to Ararume’s emergence, which threw up a group known as New All Progressives Grand Alliance (N-APGA), with one of the governorship aspirants, Ike C. Ibe, as its national chairman.
Arrowheads of the renegade party said the political association would be registered with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a result of perceived injustice by APGA for not allowing thorough primaries to take place in Imo.
Their national office is located on 186 Whetheral Road, Owerri, even as they demanded the refund of N4 billion paid by various aspirants from APGA leadership alongside the threat of inviting the anti-corruption and security agencies to take necessary actions.
Meanwhile, National Reconciliation Committee (NRC) has been raised by APGA National Working Committee (NWC) to reconcile the aspirants and other differences that arose from the just concluded primaries.
The committee, led by Chief Jerry Chukwueke, indicated in a statement on its arrival in the state that they would work for seven days.
On their part, the Imo PDP elders ratified the primaries that produced Ihedioha, pleading that the rift that led to the disapproval of an aspirant, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, should be resolved outside the legal challenge he threw up.
Chaired by a frontline politician, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the committee which membership includes two former deputy governors in the state, Dr. Douglas Acholonu and Mr. Ebere Udeagu, among others, hailed the PDP primaries, insisting that they were transparent, free, fair and credible, adding that Ihedioha should be supported to win next year’s polls.
One of the aspirants in the governorship primary and a former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Prof. Jude Njoku, corroborated the credibility of the primaries, saying that he witnessed the faultless process.
Njoku said: “I contested the governorship primaries in 2014. Despite the outcome I remained loyal to the party. This time around, I can attest to the free and transparent processes during our primaries and I want to assure that I will work to deliver the party at all levels in next year’s election. I urge all our brothers to come together for the collective interest of the party and the state at large.”
Part of the committee’s resolution is as follows: “Those who won should be magnanimous in their victory and reach out to their colleagues who lost. In a bid to ensure cohesion within the party, it is resolved that a committee be set up in every Federal Constituency in liaison with Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to reconcile all the aspirants where there are issues.”
Members affirmed support for the leadership of Chief Iwuanyanwu-led of the committee, urging him to work harder to solve the vexed issues arising from the just ended primaries by the party.
Those who attended the meeting included Ihedioha, Chief Ambrose Ejiogu, former deputy governors of Imo State, Dr. Douglas Acholonu, and Ebere Udeagu, Secretary of the Elders Committee, Chief Peter Mgbenwelu, former Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Maxwell Duru, some party stalwarts, Dr. Josiah Odunna, Chief Hillary Udumukwu, Chief Mrs. Akuruka, Prof. Jude Njoku, Hon. Ezenwa Onyewuchi, Owerri Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Bon Unachukwu, the party’s state Secretary, Nze Ray Emeana, Okigwe Zonal Chairman of the party, Chief Silas Onyeiwu, a member of Imo State House of Assembly, Mike Iheanetu and state Publicity Secretary, Damian Opara, among other members of the State Working Committee.