By Eric Elezuo
Before November 9 finally came, expectations were rife as regards the names that will eventually feature on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s list for the representatives of various parties for the governorship and House of Assembly seats in compliance with Section 31 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
The release by the electoral body clearly showed that the Chairman of the All Progressives Congres (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, called the bluff of some of his detractors, chiefly among them the governors of Ogun and Imo states, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Owelle Rochas Okorocha respectively.
While billionaire oil and gas businessman, Mr. Dapo Abiodun emerged the candidate of the party in spite of Amosun and his candidate, Akinlade, the space for the governorship position for the party in Imo State remained blank; neither Okorocha’s anointed candidate, Uche Nwosu nor the candidate declared winner by the party, Hope Uzodinma, was in the list. The explanation remains that both disputing parties were still playing their trump cards.
In recent times, Imo and Ogun states have remained dicey for APC following a soured relationship between Oshiomhole and Governors Okorocha and Amosun. Okorocha’s failure to install his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, as the governorship candidate of the APC in Imo, has led the governor to predict doom for the party, which, in his estimation, may lose five million votes nationwide in the 2019 polls.
For Amosun, his grouse with the leadership of the APC is his refusal to hand over Ogun to “a gang of expansionists,” a statement that elicited anger from Oshiomhole. The party National Chairman has accused Amosun of going against the National Working Committee’s resolution which he (Amosun) was privy to act unilateral in handpicking a group of people he referred to as gang of expansionists.
Amosun has according to Oshiomhole selected who will be governor, deputy, members of the National and state assembly, and termed them consensus to the chagrin of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). The NEC has reacted through agreed direct primaries where Amosun’s governorship candidate lost among others. The development ever since put a clog of enmity in the wheels of the party leadership. Amosun reacted angrily, heaping blames of dictatorship on the party’s ntional leadership. He did not spare the once respected Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who he accused of writing results for the party.
Oshiomhole failed to massage their ego in the face of the loss, but went ahead to suggest that they were bad losers, especially Amosun whom he addressed directly. He accused Amosun of behaving like an emperor, saying that “Our constitution does not recognize emperors. There are no emperors in the APC. If anybody attempts to invent himself as an emperor, it will be an enterprise in futility.”
And for Okorocha, he said: “What I am not able to do for Okorocha is to assist him with the instrument of the APC to help him to build a political dynasty. We have prepared the name of Senator Hope Uzodinma and submitted to INEC.
“If Governor Okorocha chose to relocate to the villa and use the grounds of Villa to intimidate me to create a dynasty, I won’t accept it. I will uphold the truth in the best interest of the APC members and indeed of the APC people in Imo State.”
The battle of wits among the three took a dramatic turn when on Sunday, November 4, the Department of State Services (DSS) reportedly detained and questioned Oshiomhole over the fallout of the APC primaries. He was alleged to have taken bribes from contestants from the party. Rattled, Oshiomhole stole way to the United States, and has not returned till date.
However, Gov Amosun of Ogun State has dismissed rumours that he and Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo are behind the alleged detention and grilling of the National Chairman, saying he did not have such capacity.
“I think you are giving me an oversight role.
“I am not a security person; so, clearly, that question will probably not be for me.
“I don’t hide under a finger and fight; if there is need for me to put my views across, you know by now, I will do it.”
Okorocha has lashed out at Oshiomhole while condemning Tinubu for standing on the side of Oshiomhole, saying he knows not half of what the chairman did or was capable of.
Recalled that the Boss carried a lead story about two weeks ago detailing the factors that may work against the national chairman, adding that Oshiomhole’s case is like that of a piece of furniture, which is being given away on a ‘going, going gone basis!
Observers are closely watching to see whether the present impasse will consume Oshiomhole or any of the feuding party as none is blinking yet. By November 18, a more comprehensive list will be released, and then the die is cast.