Imo North: Drama as APC election panel conducts parallel primaries

…Accuses each other of sharp practices

By Ezeocha Nzeh

The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo state has continued to fester with last week’s conduct of the party’s primary election to pick its candidate for the October 31, Imo North Senatorial District bye election

The crisis wore a new face, when the primary election team sent to Imo State conducted the exercise in Okigwe, headquarters of the Senatorial District, split into two and submitted different reports with different winners to the APC national secretariat

Chairman and Secretary of the seven-member team, Senator Surajudeen Bashiru and Samuel Ogbuku respectively and two other members, Senator Jibrin Gada and Bello Kumo announced Frank Ibezim as the winner of their own primary

However, three other members of the team, Alhaji Umar Gana, Mohammed Saba and Godfrey Ejim, submitted a separate report, which declared Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as the winner of the same contest.

Senator Bashiru, who briefed the media after submitting his team’s report said “I am the Chairman of the APC Election Committee for Imo North Senatorial District. I have with me Honourable Kumo, a ranking member of the House of Representatives.

“Although we have a seven-man committee, since Thursday afternoon, I’ve not set my eyes on three of the members and as you know, the rule of the committee is based on a simple majority.”

“At the end of the day, the aspirant that got the highest votes is Frank Ibezim and he is the person declared as the winner in my capacity as the chairman of the election committee and his name was submitted to the organising secretary of our party a moment ago,” he added.

Few minutes after Bashiru and his team had left, the three other members, led by Umar Gana, arrived at the secretariat and also submitted a separate report to the National Organising Secretary

Gana, who also briefed the media after submitting his reports, accused Senator Bashir and his team of abandoning the job that was assigned to them by the APC, on the influence of Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state

“After all these exercise, Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Ararume emerged as the winner of the primary election. We went to the field, so other people will claim they have done this or that, but in life whatever you do there is a judgement. And the judgement day you speak the truth even though they say politicians are these or that but that is not true, politics is a truth game, it is only we that assume that politics is not a truth game.

“We went there and we did the right judgement, so anybody that is short of this is not being fair to the APC and he doesn’t want the APC to grow into a stronger party.

When asked why the panel split to conduct parallel primary, Umar alleged that the committee chairman divided the committee, when he took only four members to have a secret meeting with Governor Uzodimma, adding that the other committee members decided to abandon the assignment and remained in their hotels where he alleged they wrote the results they submitted to the party

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