Immediate-past Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, declared on Monday that he is still the authentic governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State for the 2023 poll.
According to the spokesman of his Campaign Organisation, Abia Rejoice 2023, Sir Joshua Ogbonnaya, the purported reconciliation meeting of all APC factions in the state on Saturday at Ikwuano was a gathering of “people without electoral values”.
It will be recalled that at the reconciliation meeting, various gladiators from the two warring factions declared a cease fire and collapsed of their structures into one united APC under the leadership of Dr. Kingsley Ononogbu as the state chairman.
The APC therefore recognized Chief Ikechi Emenike as the governorship candidate of the party in 2023 even as the former Chairman of the party, Donatus Nwankpa led some stalwarts in his camp to the reconciliation meeting held at the Oboro country home of a chieftain of the party, Chief Emeka Atuma.
Gladiators from the camp of Chief Emenike-backed Ononogbu-led leadership of the party were also in attendance. There has been a remarkable disagreement between the two factions since 2019.
But some notable APC bigwigs including Ogah, Deputy Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu representing Abia North; Senator Nkechi Nwogu who represented Abia Central in the sixth senate; House of Representatives House Committee Chairman on Climate Change, Hon. Sam Onuigbo; former Commissioner for Industry and senatorial aspirant, Chief Henry Ikoh, among others, were conspicuously absent.
Those at the meeting declared cease fire and urged all stakeholders and members of the party to sheath their swords and forge a united front to ensure the victory of the party in 2023.
However, in a swift reaction, the former minister said that “the so-called meeting had no relevance and can change nothing”, saying that he did not believe in it.
Ogah who argued that his emergence as the party’s governorship candidate was in line with the directive of the national leadership of APC, said nobody would snatch his mandate, adding that he remained the popular choice of the masses who participated in the direct primaries that produced him.
His spokesman said, “As far as I’m concerned, those people at the said meeting amount to nothing because they are not the grass root. How many of them can win their polling units? Do they have electoral values?
“Ogah emerged from a transparent process and direct primaries as directed by our national leadership. They can’t gather and snatch the people’s mandate just like that.
Ogah has the support of the grass root and the masses who want a change in Abia State. His major focus now is on how to win in 2023″.
Similarly, the Secretary of the Hon. Goldie Nwagbara-led leadership of APC that produced Ogah, Perfect Okorie, has also dismissed the purported reconciliation as “a huge joke”.
He said that contrary to the claims by the participants at the meeting, the structure of the party had not collapsed but intact and firm behind their governorship candidate, Dr Ogah.
According to him, statements credited to their former Chairman, Hon. Donatus Nwankpa at the meeting could not have been true, insisting “I know that Donatus Nwamkpa who is our former chairman will not come out to make such comments.
“APC, Abia under the acting chairmanship of Hon Goldie Nwagbara and myself as secretary is still intact, has not moved, cannot move; has not negotiated with anybody and is not willing to negotiate with anybody to the extent of saying that we are collapsing our structure.
“We know we are the true APC in the state irrespective of the antics that might be playing around. We are the authentic APC”.
Okorie further argued that if there were any structure that was collapsing, it should collapse into their own and not the other way round, adding that “if there is any faction that exists in anybody’s imagination, they should come and collapse into our leadership”.
The Secretary insisted that “Ogah remains the authentic governorship flag bearer of the party in 2023.”
“On May 25, we held our party governorship primary in tandem with the directives of the NWC of our party which was the direct primary. But certain persons who believed they cannot stand the test of a fair contest, went and conducted a concocted process which they called indirect primaries.
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.