By our Special Correspondents
…Mascot Is Not Our Candidate, APC chieftain of Ohafia descent residing in Aba, maintains
All does not seem well in the camp of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State heading to the Aba North/South Federal Constituency bye-election billed to hold on March 27, 2021, as principal actors in the party have expressed strong resentment about how a former Governor of the State, Orji Uzor Kalu had “gone about alienating other leaders of the party in a desperate bid to impose his younger brother as candidate to fly the party’s flag at the forthcoming election”, one of the leaders had said.
Trouble started when Orji Uzor Kalu mobilized his machinery to hijack the national delegates that organised the party’s primary that saw to the emergence of Mascot Uzor Kalu as sole candidate after other candidates were believed to have either been excluded outright or manipulated out of the process with many not able to get nomination forms.
For example, Dr Nwokocha O. Eze, the candidate of a former gubernatorial candidate in Abia State, Alex Otti, was denied the necessary party machinery to pursue his ambition of flying the Party’s flag while several other candidates were blocked from obtaining the party form.
As if that was not enough, Orji Uzor Kalu was believed by the aggrieved leaders of APC in Abia State to have unduly influenced officials who conducted the primaries at a hotel in Aban claiming that his brother alone garnered over 47,000 votes at the primary.
“Where did he get the 47,000 plus votes he caused to be allocated to his brother when we all know that the Enitonia Hotel where the primary was held could not contain more than 500 people at once?
“We kept quiet because that is not where to make him feel the impact of exactly how we feel. We know what to do. We are no fools nor are we political infants to be so treated by one man whose desperate desire to turn our party to his personal fiefdom is nauseating and must be stopped”, one of Alex Otti’s associates said.
Another well known associate of Alex Otti had said, “People are beginning to have grave doubt as to what APC stands for in Abia State.
“Abia APC seems to belong to one man.
“A man who dictates for all. No free thoughts are allowed in APC.
“APC cannot win Aba”, he declared.
He further declared, “In 2003, Orji Uzor Kalu facilitated the election of his younger brother Nnanna into the House of Representatives.
“For four full years, Nnanna neither raised a motion to the benefit of Aba people.
“To further punish Aba people, OUK ensured that he was re-elected in 2007.
“His eight years was a disaster. There are no motions to his name and nobody till today can point out any project he attracted to any part of Aba.
“That OUK now wants to impose another of his younger brother on Aba is a collective insult. Those supporting this, I have no kind words for you.
“If you ever claim to be an activist in search of good governance and you are supporting this, you have failed yourself”, he added.
Another party leader who is close to the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, lamented that the hijack of the party by OUK is ominous and does not bode well for the party in the State.
“No one is consulted in the party anymore. How can you then ask us to support your brother you imposed on the party despite the calibre of people in Abia APC? Worse still, you did not make the process open for all members. One can only imagine this kind of iniquitous impunity at the primary stage. What if OUK’s brother eventually win the main election, that means the rest of us will not breathe in the party. We know he is already planning to impose him as Governor in 2023.
“But I can assure you that such will never happen. We will let it dawn on him that no one man owns the party. APC is too big for any one man to claim its ownership. We are tired of the nonsense already”, he said.
The angst against Orji Uzor Kalu’s antics in the party is not limited to Uche Ogah and Alex Otti’s camps alone as other party leaders like Prince Paul Ikonne is also said to be upset with OUK’s highhandedness in running the affairs of the party in the State.
“This is why you can’t find any of these leaders in Mascot Uzor Kalu’s campaign train. For an election as important as this, one would have expected party leaders to attend campaigns and drum support for Mascot. But the truth is that these leaders who have the ability to make things happen are not interested because they do not see Mascot as APC’s candidate but the candidate of just one man, OUK who has been carrying about like an absolute monarch”, he informed.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Orji Uzor Kalu was said to have perfected plans to engage hoodlums from within and outside the state to disrupt the election, attack voters, INEC officials and cart away ballot materials to rig the election.
According to sources, this was the main agenda in a meeting held at the house of Chief Emeka Wogu during the weekend where it was allegedly agreed to raise N50million to pay the hoodlums, buy weapons for them and also raise another N10m to launch malicious media attacks on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and the PDP Candidate, Hon Chimaobi Ebisike. The media attacks, the our source noted, are expected to be spearheaded by Hon Ben Kalu, while Emeka Wogu and Senator Kalu are alleged to be in charge of recruiting the hoodlums.
Even at that, a chieftain of APC of Ohafia descent, who refused to put his name in print said a caucus meeting a group of APC members from Old Bende held few days ago, failed to endorse Mascot Uzor Kalu as their consensus candidate. “We left that meeting pointing accusing fingers on some of us who clandestinely support Orji Kalu’s move to entrench nepotism in our party in Aba,” he submitted.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.