2023 Elections: APC Stakeholders Shun Tinubu’s Campaign In Enugu

  • APC Candidate assures South East will become an industrial hub

BY ONYEKACHUKWU IBEZIM – The crisis rocking the Enugu chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) further heightened on Wednesday as the Party’s stakeholders in Enugu State openly boycotted the presidential campaign rally of their candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Bola in Enugu State.

Reports indicated that the APC Standard bearer was in the Enugu state capital to address the presidential rally at the Michael Okpara Square but without the participation of key Party leaders in the State, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, and former Governor of the State, Barrister Sullivan Chime.

Also conspicuously missing in action were former Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Eugene Odoh; former Secretary to the Enugu State Government, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani; Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu; immediate past chairman of the Party in the State, Barr. Ben Nwoye; and a presidential aide, Barr. Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku.

Insider sources explained that the aggrieved stakeholders were at the Akanuibiam International Airport Enugu earlier in the day to welcome the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, but immediately disappeared from the scene to Chime’s residence in Enugu as a sign of protest and their unhappiness with the current happenings within the  State chapter of the party.

In a media chat to explain their actions, Barrister Chime told journalists that the stakeholders were at the airport to receive the Presidential candidate but due to the existing internal squabbles with the State Chairman, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, they decided to not appear at the rally venue to express their discontentment with the APC leadership in the state.

According to the former governor, their absence at the rally was to send a clear signal to the APC’s national leadership that something fundamental must be done urgently to resolve the festering crisis in the Enugu State chapter.

Urging the national leadership to quickly address the crisis, Barr Chime said the issues that saw them leading a peaceful protest to the National Secretariat in Abuja still remain unresolved and nobody seems to care about addressing them to the satisfaction of all the contending forces.

The former Enugu state governor further said; “We received our presidential candidate at the Airport. We believe in him, he is the best. However, we are not there at Okpara Square because of the internal crisis rocking the party in Enugu state. The party had been in disarray, since the imposition of someone who is not a member of the party as the chairman.

“Our party leaders went to Abuja, complained but nobody took them seriously, and the issues continued. So, we have to distance ourselves from the local chapter of the party. We will ensure that he (Tinubu) gets more than the required 25 percent. Enugu must be counted” when the victory comes”, he assured.

Also drawing attention to the fact that the APC’s gubernatorial flag bearer and his running mate are from the same senatorial zone, the former governor said such an aberration had never happened since the history of democracy in the state, and must not be tolerated in the overall interest of the State and its peace-loving people.

While assuring that all the stakeholders would work hard to ensure APC’s victory at the general election, he explained that they were left with no option but to distance themselves from such an illegal act.

Speaking on the internal squabbles, former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, who expressed anger over the incident, regretted that the party had been hijacked by an external body from Imo state, even as he alleged the imposed party chairman in the state and the governorship candidate were running the party like sole administrators.

Senator Nnamani said the party leadership in the state has continued to disrespect and ignore APC chieftains in all their activities, noting that the caliber of people they had in the party before Agballa’s intrusion were those who could easily take the party to greater heights and beyond.

Similarly in his comments, former Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Chief Eugene Odo, blamed the rally boycott on the Chairman’s attitude, saying that Governor Hope Uzodinma as the Party’s leader in South East region should ensure its unity rather than deploying mediocre to run the party and cause crisis in Enugu state party.

Meanwhile, at the rally attended by a large crowd, the APC flag bearer, Asiwaju Tinubu solicited South-East support with the assurance that he would make Igboland an industrial hub when elected.

He said Nigeria is a blessed country and that her citizens have no business running to foreign countries for greener pastures, noting that there was no country like Nigeria in entire Africa and as such, he should be supported to renew and rebuild Nigeria.

The former Lagos State Chief Executive, who hinted that people going overseas do face hardship and suffering, urged Nigerians to help to make Nigeria great, adding; “Those who are running to overseas are ‘suffer, suffer’. We have been there. Anybody who tells you that you cannot do something, pray you can do it”, he said.

Further boasting that Lagos as a state was better than most countries in the Western world, Asiwaju Tinubu said Ndigbo’s collaboration with his incoming administration would ensure the South-East zone becomes an industrial hub where things are produced both for export and domestic consumption.

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