Posted by News Express | 25 September 2013 | 3,780 times
The reconciliatory moves by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to settle the rift between two leaders of the party in Anambra State, its governorship candidate, Senator Chris Ngige and Senator Annie Okonkwo, have ran into a hitch, according to THISDAY.
“Following the failed effort to reconcile their differences, the party has decided to appoint former chieftain of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Chief George Muoghalu, to lead the APC governorship campaign in the state,” the paper said, adding:
“Some of the conditions given by Okonkwo before he agreed to accept a deal to work with Ngige included securing the post of deputy national chairman, which he relinquished to contest governorship primaries; the right to nominate Ngige’s running mate; the promise that he is going to take over from Ngige; and his senatorial seat if the party wins the governorship election.
He also asked for two slots each for a commissioner and special adviser in the Ngige cabinet.
However, the bone of contention is that Ngige is insisting that anybody being suggested as deputy governorship candidate must meet certain criteria which include the fact the person must come from a neutral area where no governorship candidate from another party came from.
“Also, the Ngige camp is saying that the would-be deputy governorship candidate must have contested and won elections at any level to the extent that he or she should be able to deliver at least his or her local government area in the election.”
THISDAY said it learnt that Okonkwo has so far nominated two persons, one of whom is the APGA governorship aspirant, Chief John Okechukwu Emeka, as possible running mate to Ngige, but the two were rejected by Ngige on the grounds that they did not meet the criteria.
It quoted a source as saying that the Ngige camp was not happy that while the party’s primaries was going on, Okonkwo was busy organising congresses and trying to polarise the party in the state.
The Ngige camp reportedly accused the former APGA bigwig of scheming to have his loyalist take over the party structure in the state, adding that he had gone ahead to appoint local government chairmen and even state chairmen for the party even without the express mandate of the national headquarters of APC.
The paper said it learnt that the decision to leave the deputy governorship slot hanging till October 2 deadline for substitution, was to allow a window of opportunity for peace talks in order to reach consensus on the matter.
It quoted a source as saying: “As far as the national chairman is concerned, the party about 10 or 11 days of grace to see whether the disagreement can be resolved. But everybody was taken unawares at the action of Okonkwo in resigning from Ngige campaign team, ignoring the effort the Chairman made to broker peace. We need him, we want him and we believe that we are going to resolve the matter before Saturday.”
Continuing, the report said: “But in a spirited bid to make the APC win the election, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has said he would relocate to Awka, the Anambra State capital to lead the campaigns for Ngige.
“Okorocha, who spoke yesterday at the Emmaus House in Awka, after being made the leader of the APC national campaign committee for Ngige, said he believed in Ngige’s candidacy being a better brand to sell to the people of the state than all other candidates of other parties and having also proved himself tested and satisfactory in his previous outing as governor of the state for 34 months.
“ ‘All the other candidates of parties for the November 16, governorship election are no match to Ngige. Ngige has proved himself in his first outing that he is a leader of the people, a warrior in the strict sense of it who has made the welfare of the people he leads his concern. He lives his life for the ordinary people and that stands him out,” he said.
“ ‘I will relocate to Anambra State to lead Ngige’s campaign. I will be here and march his opponents eyeball to eyeball. I want to tell them that the day a warrior was born in one community was the day his equal was born in another distant community,” he said rhetorically.
“Later at the event, members of the party donated their widows’ mite towards a successful campaign for Ngige in what was called establishing a covenant with their governorship candidate.”
•Photo shows Senator Ngige.
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