The moves by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to reconcile its members suffered fresh setbacks even as the deadline for the substitution of governorship and House of Assembly candidates as contained in the election timetable ends tomorrow.
According to the schedule of the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), December 1 is the last day for the withdrawal/replacement of candidates which some politicians are trying hard to join other parties. December 1 is also the day for the commencement of campaign for governorship and state assembly seats.
Loyalists of Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun dumped the APC, while those loyal to his Imo State counterpart Rochas Okorocha get set to announce their new party today.
Amosun’s preferred candidate for the Ogun governorship seat Rep. Adekunle Akinlade (Yewa South/Ipokia) dumped the APC for the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and has since obtained the party’s ticket to vie for the governorship seat.
His defection was read on the floor of the House by Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday.
Akinlade had lost the APC ticket to Dapo Abiodun whose name was submitted to INEC by the national leadership of the APC under Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
Back in Ogun, four members of the State House of Assembly also dumped APC for the APM. They include the Majority Leader, Adeyinka Mafe; Chief Whip, Idowu Olowofuja (Abeokuta South 2); Tunde Sanusi (Obafemi-Owode); and Ganiyu Oyedeji (Ifo 2).
The APC chairman in Ogun State, Derin Adebiyi, described the defection Akinlade and the state legislators as shocking.
In Imo State, Okorocha said the current situation in the state chapter of the party makes reconciliation impossible.
Speaking when the Governor Abdullahi Ganduje led Reconciliation Committee visited the state yesterday, Okorocha said he made every effort to get justice for his people but was snubbed, adding that they have decided to move on and nothing would stop them.
Okorocha had on Tuesday said that his son-in-law and preferred gubernatorial candidate, Uche Nwosu, would be contesting the governorship election in another party.
Nwosu had lost the APC ticket to Senator Hope Uzodinma.
At yesterday’s meeting, he said, “We moved from APGA to APC because of the name of President Muhammadu Buhari which is synonymous with integrity. I am a foundation member of the APC; I suggested the name APC.”
Both Nwosu and Uzodinma did not attend the meeting.
Okorocha said Imo people were short-changed, stressing that it was too late in the day for the party to repair the wrong.
Okorocha, however, said he honoured the meeting because of his respect for Governor Ganduje and Senator Goodwill Akpabio.
He said he would remain a loyal and committed member of the party and would also go ahead and contest the Imo West senatorial seat under APC but will not compel any of his aggrieved loyalists to do same.
Ganduje said the first task of the committee had been achieved as they had secured the commitment of Okorocha to work for the reelection of President Buhari in 2019.
He said, “He (Okorocha) has done it before and he will do it again.” Ganduje said that the second leg of the meeting will be a closed door talk with stakeholders of the party.
Justice Muktar Yusha’u of the High Court in Gusau has declined jurisdiction in the case seeking to accept the results of the party’s primaries conducted on October 7.
The Governor Abdulaziz Yari faction of the party had chosen Alhaji Mukhtar Idris as its preferred gubernatorial candidate; while the other faction led by Deputy Governor Ibrahim Wakkala and Senator Kabiru Marafa among others kicked.
Justice Yusha’u said the circumstances surrounding the case would not allow the court to deliver transparent justice.
He, therefore, returned the case file to the chief judge of the state to be reassigned to another judge for determination.
Sanusi Liman Dan Alhaji and 37 other members of the APC had filed the suit asking the court to compel the party and INEC to accept the results of the party’s primaries in the state conducted on October 7, 2018.
The APC primaries in the state were allegedly marred by controversy resulting in INEC barring the party in the state from fielding candidates in the 2019 general elections.
INEC said the APC in the state could not meet the October 7, 2018, deadline to resolve all disputes arising from the primaries.
The national headquarters of the APC had also sued INEC at a Federal High Court in Abuja.