Who Even Started Automatic Tickets Syndrome In Imo APC

Posted by on Oct 31st, 2018 and filed under AgwodInuju. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


Monday, the 22nd of October, 2018 was a regular opening day of a working week in Owerri. As usual, residents of the state capital early in the day, jumped onto available motorable roads to undertake various engagements.

But before mid day, an obstruction had ensued at major roads barring easy movements. Road users couldn’t move or operate again, especially for those who wanted to use the popular Assumpta Avenue spreading to Bank Road, Okigwe Road and Whetheral Road were worst hit as a circle formed by a group of protesters at the Government House Roundabout caused serious gridlock.

A witness in a social media post I copied has this to say about the incident;

“Coming back from World Bank Owerri earlier today, at Bank Road, I saw some guys smoking cigarettes and weed walking around the main road. As I enquired to know what was happening I saw another set of youths carrying placards with inscription “No …, No APC”.

The testimony continued, “at this point, I was anxious to know what was happening, inside the Mini bus people started saying Okorocha and his people are doing protest and the hold-up was so much that I had to come down from the car to know what was happening, to my surprise I saw speakers numbering like 30 mounted around Okigwe Road roundabout.

“One man was speaking and urging APC national chairman and NWC to reverse the names of Uche Nwosu, Uju Kingsley, Nnamdi Obiaraeri, Paschal Obi and Simeon Iwunze as authentic flag bearer’s of APC in Imo, I saw those guys smoking earlier with APC flag chanting “them no go gree oo” them no go gree ”

“After watching what happened today, I started asking myself, is this end of the emperor? A sitting governor taking his Party to court, a sitting governor mobilizing touts to cause traffic in Owerri in the name of protest, very shameful” end of the story.

The account of the witness was part of the nightmarish experience residents underwent that uneventful Monday.

Reports have it that apparently irked over the absence of some names from the list, the All Progressives Congress, APC, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, sympathizers of the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha took to the road for a protest against the party leadership in Abuja. Okorocha had earlier picked and endorsed for National Assembly elective positions, certain profiled politicians either serving in his cabinet or his soul mates in the Rescue Mission political platform.

From the final list submitted to the INEC by APC secretariat before the October 18, deadline, crucial names from the governor’s political camp, otherwise known as the Rescue Mission could not make it. The development precipitated a spontaneous street protest in Owerri with sympathizers of Governor Okorocha trooped out en masse for the street show.

The crux of the matter centered on the inability of those the state governor had unilaterally picked and endorsed to fly APC tickets for the 2019 election not finally getting the nod of the NWC to be party’s candidate. Okorocha had in the past selected acolytes for each of the positions ranging from that of Governorship to Senate of the three senatorial zones. Also, those for House of Reps and State House of Assembly were also handpicked for onward advance to the national party secretariat as candidates.

But the turnout of events became awry for the Okorocha’s followers after the Thursday, October 18 deadline INEC gave parties for submission of National Assembly candidates, when it was discovered that names of the supposed anointed persons from his camp could not sail through.

Therefore, one of the highlights of the Government House, Owerri, Roundabout showpiece was the lamentations of the Rescue Missionaries as the Okorocha’s followers are fondly called.

The anti Oshiomole protesters asked that the APC, NWC must quickly reverse its automatic ticket caveat to National Assembly incumbent members of the party so that their own adopted nominees made up of Nnamdi Obiaraeri, a university don, Uju Kingsley Chima, Paschal Obi and Simon Iwunze dropped appointees of the state government who earlier got the nod of Okorocha for the positions should be handed the tickets. While Obaraeri and Uju lost the tickets for the Senate of Okigwe Zone and Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta and Oru West Federal constituency to Benjamin Uwajumogu and Goodluck Nanah Opiah respectively, another incumbent, Austin Chukwukere didn’t allow another anointed candidate of Okorocha for his Ideato Federal constituency; Paschal Obi, get a ticket. Similarly, another crony of the governor, Simeon Iwunze, failed to have his name in the final list after initial signal that he had the ticket, as a woman, Mirian Onuaha, was successful.

Feelers from the organizers of the Owerri protests are that it was not only intended to persuade the NWC of APC recognize the apostles of Rescue Mission faction of Imo APC seeking for tickets with an impression that it is the popular camp, but also frown at the new style of which brings to the fore the issue of Automatic Ticket in Imo APC.

Oshiomole mulled the Automatic Ticket idea when quantum of defections hit the APC in the National Assembly. Following the departure of the party’s National Assembly members from APC to other rival parties, the NWC opted for a free Second Term ticket as a means of keeping hold of the remaining party members willing to show interest with the broom party.

It wasn’t surprising that Uwajumogu, Opiah, Chukwukere, Raphael Nnanah Igbokwe and Chike Okafor got a back-to- back ticket of APC to the National Assembly as serving lawmakers.

While this commentary has no intention to dwell on the processes leading to the emergence of the candidates and how the APC chose to arrive at the names submitted to the INEC since the party has constitution guiding its operations, it amounts to dissimulation on the part of Okorocha and his followers to raise eyebrows about Automatic Ticket if the manner leading to the emergence of those they had wanted their names listed to INEC as authentic candidates is considered. Moreover, Okorocha’s knack for disregard to due process, rule of law and flagrant abuse of laid down procedures in choosing the said persons and others from his camp for elective positions remain an aberration to democracy. There is no gainsaying the fact that Okorocha is the architect of the “automatic ticket” his followers protested against on the said day.

Except the Rescue Mission followers are exponents of hypocrisy, their reasons for calling the NWC members unprintable names in the Imo case may not be unconnected to the fact that few of the beneficiaries of the APC National Assembly tickets were not part of the Okorocha’s Automatic Ticket bonanza he had earlier applied in picking his candidates.

Going memory lane, all the 2015 election candidates of APC were those the governor penned down in line with the policy his associates are kicking against today. More pronounced was the case of governorship ticket of the party. Four years ago, watchers of politics in the state can vividly recall that no primaries was held for the election of any candidate for the governorship. Okorocha who was the beneficiary had put his eyes on presidency race with no one contesting the party’s ticket for governorship at the home front. It was left open without a contestant. Ironically, the moment Okorocha lost the ticket to Buhari, news filtered in minutes later that APC Guber primaries has held and son in-law to the governor, Uche Nwosu emerged winner. The next second was the breaking news that Nwosu surrendered the ticket to Okorocha to run for the plum position for a second time. Meanwhile, the contest for the primaries was not a public one and not even open to APC members and die hard followers of the governor. The end result was granting of an automatic ticket to Okorocha through subtle means. Perhaps, Nwosu who had no challenger then because of the obtuse tactics applied in the drama had to surrender the ticket afterall.

As the build up to the 2019 elections commenced, indications that Okorocha is favourably disposed to his cherished automatic ticket pattern emerged when he created factions in Imo APC family by inventing “Agburu” brand of politics which initiated rancour and associated schisms within the rank and file of the party. The governor allegedly attempted to exclude those opposed to his desire to pocket the soul of the party and even went further to boast of “retiring” egg heads of the APC in Imo because of differences in the battle for the control of the party structures.

At the various meetings of the Agburu Rochas political camp also known as the Rescue Mission faction of APC, the outcome, it was gathered, was governor’s unilateral decision to handpick anointed aspirants among the lot seeking for elective positions ahead 2019 elections. Such practice dominated proceedings. Some of those whose names finally made the list of APC to INEC are also products of the Okorocha’s automatic ticket policy. Those who missed were unlucky. Had it been there names were among, no one in Imo state would have had his movement disrupted because of protests against Oshiomole, and the partisan spirited “prayer warriors” unleashed on the road would have also reduced their “holy ghost” fire chants within the church enclave.

For instance, as part of the game plan to entice and hook his second in command, the Deputy Governor, Eze Madumere into backing the attempt to have his son in-law become next governor of Imo State, Okorocha promised an automatic ticket of Owerri Zone senatorial to him (Madumere).

Addressing journalists at a press parley concerning those opposed to his desire to allegedly “colonize” Imo State chapter of APC and make products of his Automatic Ticket candidates of APC, the governor revealed how he promised to make Madumere, Owerri Zone senator, through APC platform. If that plot had worked, doesn’t it amount to Automatic Ticket because no chance would have been available for others to challenge the Deputy Governor. After that failed attempt, one of his commissioners, Emma Ojinere received Okorocha’s automatic ticket anointment for the Imo East Senate. Today, Ojinere’s name and others adopted in the Okorocha’s Agburu camp made it in confirmation that the origin of automatic ticket in Imo APC is traceable to the governor.

Impeccable sources have it that in one of such meetings preceding the collection of nomination forms, Okorocha reeled out names of the beneficiaries of his supposed automatic ticket. In most cases he was reported to have bluntly asked some of the aspirants to drop their ambitions for the benefit of the anointed ones the tickets have been reserved for in the APC system.

For the Owerri Federal Constituency race, three loyalists of the Governor; Obinna Mbata, Chukwuemeka ILoyd and Umezuruike showed interest but Mbata emerged through the automatic ticket principle in his camp after he was asked to leave the House of Assembly ticket of Owerri to the incumbent, Lugard Osuji. Mbata and Osuji were initially locked in a war over the Assembly ticket of Owerri Municipal. That action displaced others in the camp of the governor (Lolyd and Umezurike) from the race. Majority of House of Reps aspirants Okorocha backed were products of automatic tickets in the Rescue Mission camp of the governor.

Details of how members of the Agburu political camp were asked to abandon their return ticket ambitions to the Imo State House of Assembly are still fresh. In the spirit of automatic tickets, the likes of Emmanuel Orie ( Ohaji/Egbema), Uche Ejiogu (Ihittee/Uboma) Chinedu Offor (Onuimo) Chika Madumere (Nkwerre) Marx Odunze (Orlu) Onyewuchi Ikonne (Owerri West) who had earlier gotten firm promises that they had no challengers were asked to quit and allow Okorocha’s automatic ticket holders run the race.

I will liken the Rescue Missionaries and their heads as blatant hypocrites judging from the recent development in Imo APC. They share same ideology with acclaimed communist oriented governments who condemn oppression and uphold themselves as “Liberators” and champions of justice” and yet communist regimes have been the most oppressive in all of history. No other regimes have imprisoned as many people, executed as many victims, deliberately starved so many millions, erected huge institutions of oppression, etc, than it.

This commentary can’t end without recalling one of the famous quotes of Francos de la Roche Foucauld, a French thinker of the old who came up during his time to state that “Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue”

Kelechi Mejuobi, a regular columnist is an Owerri based Journalist. Repeat


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