APC moves to capture south-east


AHEAD of fears that it may lose Bayelsa State to the rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reportedly revived an earlier plan to capture more states in the South East zone of the country.
The leadership of the party led by its national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was said to have given approval after its poor outing in the December 5,2015 gubernatorial election in which incumbent Governor Sierake Dickson trounced Chief Timipre Sylva of APC in six out of seven local governments where results were declared.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had cancelled the result of the ‎eight local government, Southern Ijaw and ordered supplementary poll which held on Saturday, January 9, with Dickson having a comfortable lead at press time.
Following the outcome of the 2015 general elections, the APC had expressed desire to capture additional states in the South South and South East where it performed poorly against the PDP which won most of the elective seats in the two zones.
The party was therefore said to have expressed optimism that Sylva, would defeat Dickson and give the APC a foothold in one of the major oil producing states. They were therefore disappointed that the effort was lame and off the mark.
National Daily learnt that it was in the light of the foregoing that the plot to make an effective in road into the South East was hatched, the result of which has already started manifesting.
Although the APC is in control of Imo State, a key state in the South East‎, it was said to have resolved to explore possibility of taking over additional two states out of the four outside it’s grip, thus enabling it to be in charge of three out of the five states in the zone.
Two states identified for possible take over are Abia and Anambra, with a significant rating in Enugu state. ” No effort is‎ to be spared to get these states” confided our source.
Details of the plan remains hazy even as there’s excitement of steady progress and seeming victory by the APC in the identified areas.
Signs that the plan may have started yielding results, according to our source, is the outcome of the Court of Appeal verdict on the Abia gubernatorial election ‎and the defection of two political giants from the PDP to the APC in one week.
Nigerians were jolted by the Court of Appeal’s ruling declaring Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) winner of the governorship election and that incumbent Governor Okezie Ikpeazu should vacate his seat in the circumstance.
But those familiar with the import of the ruling disclosed that the APC may have played a role in the outcome of the litigation, revealing that Otti is expected to defect to the ruling party soon after taking the oath of office as governor.
Notwithstanding the wide condemnation of the verdict of the appellate court said to have been predicated on his having won in three local governments, the APC was said to have given assurances that the ruling would be upheld by the Supreme Court.
A former minister of information, and governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, on Friday defected to the All Progressive Congress.
Nwobodo, a former Senator and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, attended an APC meeting, reportedly convened by Foreign Affairs minister, Dr. Jeffrey Onyeama, in Enugu.
He declared his membership of the party at the meeting, to the surprise of most of the APC members present at the event
The former governor was interestingly indicted for collecting N100 million from the $2.1billion arms fund disbursed by former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, a revelation that may have resulted in Nwobodo being invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for questioning. Dumping PDP for APC may have also earned the former Chairman of defunct Savannah Bank‎ a freedom ticket.
A former PDP senator from Enugu State, Chief Fidelis Okoro, also defected to the APC at the meeting.
Okoro was in the Senate between 1999 and 2007.
There were indications that the former PDP bigwigs’ defection did not go down well with the some APC members, who openly voiced their dissatisfaction with the development at the meeting.
The party faithful could not hide their surprise, and shock, when Nwobodo arrived at the venue of the meeting in company with Okoro.
Some APC members, who apparently understood the duo’s mission at the meeting, voiced their disapproval.
Chairman of the party in Enugu State, Dr. Ben Nwoye, who appeared to have prior knowledge of the defection, got the aggrieved party members to calm down before Nwobodo made his declaration speech.
In his declaration speech, Nwobodo had harsh words for his old party, PDP.
Nwobodo condemned the PDP, and blamed the party’s leadership for allowing five governors to leave for the APC in the build up to the 2015 general elections.
According to him, he is joining the APC to move the people of Enugu State into the mainstream at the federal level.
Drawing from his experience as a governor, he said it was not good being in the opposition.
He said members of the APC in Enugu State should not to be discouraged by the electoral losses they suffered in the state in the past.
“You must always lose, what matters is the ability to rise again.
“I must condemn our former party, PDP I know we had problems.
“I told our former chairman, how come did we allow five governors to leave the party?
“I am not looking for a job, I am talking because I want peace.
“I want our people to be part of the Federal Government at the centre.
“I had a problem being an opposition governor.
“I am not coming into APC because I want anything.
“I want our people to be reintegrated and have our own share of the Federal Government resources,” Nwobodo said.
Nwobodo recalled that while he was in PDP, his wife had always been an active member of the APC.
He pointed out that the slogan “change” did not start now with the APC.
According to him, it started in 1983, when he was an opposition governor.
Also last week, a former Chieftain of the PDP, Senator Uche Ekwunife crossed to the APC to secure the party’s ticket for the Senate and to enable run against Chief Victor Umeh of APGA. She had been barred by the Court of Appeal in Enugu which ruled that she was not validly nominated in the election that took her to the upper legislative chamber.
But, it was learnt that Ekwunife’s defection was a prelude to APC’s plot to take over Anambra State, given her popularity and large following in the state. She’s expected to ensure that Labour Minister, Dr Chris Ngige becomes Governor in 2019 thereby foreclosing ‎hope of incumbent Governor Willie Obiano to have a second term.