From the directives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, days stipulated for conduct of party primaries to select candidates for 2019 election ended on the 8th of October, 2018.
In Imo State, a potpourri of mixed reactions have continued to trail the exercises which saw the leading parties witness a sour taste of action.
Worst hit was the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Among the little known parties was Labour party where the aggrieved governorship ticket seekers bolted out of the venue for the primaries.
In APC, confusion still reigns in the party over those entitled to the party tickets after INEC deadline for conduct of primaries has elapsed.
Danger signals that the party primaries would be marred by skirmishes appeared early when the two major factions involved in the battle for the soul of the party; the Rescue Mission and Coalition, adopted different methods for the conduct.
While the Rescue Mission backed by state governor, Rochas Okorocha wanted indirect primaries method, the Coalition who met at the campaign office of Senator Hope Uzodinma along Okigwe road, Owerri for Direct Method. The National Working Committee, NWC, in its decision danced to the tune of the Coalition for a Direct Method for conduct of all primaries.
October 1, 2018 mapped out for the governorship primaries was the D day for the show of strength and supremacy battle. Before the committee with the mandate to conduct the primaries arrived Owerri, suspected fake results from the media egoons of aspirants started flying.
The committee chairman, Ahmed Gulak who spoke to journalists later that evening in one of the popular Owerri hotels dismissed any other result without his knowledge.
A tinge of drama commenced the next day when an alarm was raised that Gulak and few committee members had disappeared into thin air. Later, the former Presidential Adviser to Goodluck Jonathan on politics was spotted at the national secretariat of APC where he submitted the result claiming that Uzodinma won the primaries after he escaped being abducted by some forces in Owerri.
Meanwhile, the group he left behind in Owerri led by the committee secretary however came out to declare, Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s son in-law and adopted candidate of the Rescue Mission as winner.
Apparently irked by the developments, the national party chairman, Adams Oshiomole described the two contrasting results as fake and went further to dissolve the Gulak committee with a promise that a new one will be set up.
With the hands of the clock ticking towards INEC deadline for conduct of primaries, fresh reports emerged that a new team had landed Owerri for fresh primaries of APC not only for Governorship but also for other available positions ranging from Senate, House of Reps and House of Assembly.
A day to the date of the rescheduled governorship primaries, about six governorship aspirants of the party at a press conference in Abuja declared their support to the emergence of Uzodinma as winner of the governorship primaries by insisting in the October 1st exercise which Gulak reported the Orlu zone Senator as winner. The pro Uzodinma aspirants committee made their stand in writing and forwarded same to the national chairman and APC. Before then, Uzodinma had gone to court to obtain an order restraining a fresh conduct of the governorship primaries.
The position of the pro Uzodinma aspirants and court order didn’t stop the new committee to organize a fresh governorship primaries where Nwosu was declared winner.
Again, controversy could not be averted in the second exercise as one of the contestants and another in-law to Okorocha raised the alarm alleging that it was manipulated. The aspirant, Chuks Ololo alleged that results were merely allocated to others after Nwosu was handed the highest number of votes to emerge winner.
As at the time finishing touches were being put to the commentary, news of the authentic person whose name is on APC list as candidate for governorship, who emerged after the primaries can’t be ascertained.
Indications are rife that for now the identity is shrouded in secrecy.
By next week, this commentary will go further in the review hoping that the true picture of the APC and APGA winners would have been clearer.
For PDP, the contest of one of the losers, Sam Daddy Anyanwu that there was alleged over voting and manipulation of delegate list appears to be relaxing as his allegation could be described as sheer outburst related to the cries of a loser. There is no report to show Anyanwu has approached any court for redress.
Till Next Week .