The leadership crisis rocking the Anambra State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) took a new twist weekend following plot to suspend the duo of Minister for Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige and the Managing Director/Director General of National Inland Water Ways (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu from the party.
It would be recalled that the state Caretaker Committee Chairman, Mr. Basil Ejidike had announced that a panel of inquiry would be set up to investigate those involved in his suspension as chairman, adding that those found guilty would be disciplined in line with the relevant sections of the party’s constitution.
He also accused Sen. Ngige and Moghalu of sponsoring the recent crisis in the party along with some other members. It was alleged that about N150 million is being canvassed as funds to perfect the alleged suspension plot which would be made available to the would be panel of enquiry and after executing the plot, the national leadership of the party would be made to ratify the panel’s findings and resolutions.
But the duo of the party State Secretary Mr. Chukwuma Agufugo and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Okelo Madukife dismissed the plot, contending that the Caretaker Committee Chairman has stepped aside as was agreed upon by the members of the Committee, hence has no locus to suspend Ngige and Moghalu, noting that the recent Enugu Appeal Court judgement has sacked him.
Madukife said: “The state executive has not said anything about suspension of anybody but for the setting up of an investigation panel and that is why the State Secretary is the Coordinating person and you already know that from the statement of the Secretary, the chairman has stepped aside.
“You also know that there is no petition against Ngige and Moghalu to the effect of suspending anybody and the two are members of the party who are subjects to the Constitution of the party.” But Ejidike contended that he never stepped aside, adding that those that suspended him were not members of the party but those who left the party after the primary election to join another party.
He added that there was never a State Executive Committee meeting where he was asked to step down. He noted that the party executive members are intact as no member is against the executive committee let alone asking him to step down.
Similarly, the All Progressive Congress Integrity Forum led by Mr. Paulinus Ezenwankwo contended that the plot to suspend the duo is a game plan by some individuals being sponsored by those who joined the party through the backdoor to disorganise the party ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“What is happening now is as a result of the fact that some people played God during our primary election and when they failed to replicate same at the governorship election, they decided to cause trouble by trying to shake the table and create anarchy in the party. “Where were they when Sen Chris Ngige and Chief George Moghalu were building the party?
“They were in other political parties and had no input in the formation and capacity building of the party and they came in and hijacked the party without the structures laid on ground by the likes of Ngige and Moghalu. “We urge the national leadership of the party not to take them serious and distance themselves from the evil machinations of these people who have no stake in the party.
“We also wish to warn some elements who claim to own the party in Abuja that His Excellency. President Muhammadu Bihari does not treat kindly to any act aimed at disrupting the party as the full wrath of the law would be on then at the end of the day.
“We the members of the party had accepted the outcome of the Anambra governorship election and do not support whatever is going on at the Election Petition Tribunal because we in the first instance had no candidate for the election but a product of a charade,” he said.
Meanwhile, the embattled APC caretaker chairman, Chief Basil Ejidike has said that there was no crisis in the Ananbra State chapter of the party. He said his purported suspension which according to him was spearheaded “by some none APC members who decamped from the party after the Anambra governorship primary election like Barr. Uchenna Okonkwo Okom and one Okelo former State Publicity Secretary lacks merit.”
Chief Ejidike contended that they are not members of APC, neither was they members of the Ward, Local Government or State Executives as provided by the APC party constitution and as such lack the powers and locus to suspend any party member not to talk about the executives.
Ejidike said: “I am surprise that some leaders of the party will descend so low. Right now, l am attending a meeting of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja, where the committee has approved the replacement of the vacant positions in Anambra State Exco and as soon as I’m back from Abuja, we will fill the positions and move ahead.”
He dismissed with a wave of hands “the gang up as unconstitutional” even as he contended that the mischief makers who impersonated the party’s spokesperson at the press briefing in Awka couldn’t mention his offence and the claimed insubordination to the leader of the party, President Muhammadu Buhari “I still remain the Caretaker Chairman of the party in the State and nobody can remove me illegally, only the NWC of our great party can remove me in line with the party constitution.”
It could be recalled that a faction of the party members had few days ago leveled allegations against the party caretaker chairman and endorsed his suspension. The faction claimed that Chief Ejidike has been suspended as a result of insubordination and disrespect to President Muhammadu Buhari. This is coming three weeks after the party lost the gubernatorial election in the state .
The spokesman of the faction during the press briefing, Barr Okonkwo Okom gave a matching order to the Minister for Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who is the leader of the party in the State 14 days to discuss the modalities for strengthening and repositioning of the party which came third in the last governorship election in the State.
The Statements reads in parts “As a result of the refusal, neglect or inability of the Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Anambra State, Mr. Basil Ejidike to convene a meeting of the State Executive Committee or State Congress of the party to tackle pressing and urgent party matters, despite repeated statutory demands to that effect as stipulated.
The All Progressive Congress Anambra State chapter jointly convened by not less than two thirds of the members of the State Executive Committee and not less than two third of the 21 local government area Chairman in the APC with the mandate of the 326 Ward Chairmen in Anambra State held at Finotel Hotels Awka on Sunday Nov,21, the following resolutions were duly proposed and unanimously passed.
“That Mr. Basil Ejidike be and hereby suspended forthwith from office as Caretaker chairman of All Progressive Congress APC in Anambra State pending his appearance before a Disciplinary/ Fact Finding Committee of the party.
“That the next most senior available official of the party in the state is mandated to convene an emergency meeting of the State Executive Committee in consultation with the Leader of the party in Anambra State, His Excellency, Dr. Chris Ngige within the next 14 days from the date of hereof, to discuss modalities for strengthening and repositioning the APC and to move the party forward in Anambra State.
“That Mr. Ejidike shall be referred to the Disciplinary/ Fact Finding Committee of the party in the state as prescribed by the APC Constitution to answer to charges of abuse of power of office, diversion and conversion of party property, flagrant sabotage, subversion and breach of party’s constitution, insubordination and disrespect to the office of the person of Mr. President Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, embezzlement and misappropriation of party funds among others”.