By BONIFACE OKORO
The All Progressive Congress, APC, mega rally finally held Tuesday but with President Muhammadu Buhari conspicuously absent. The rally, which the party boasted it would use to make a statement on its preparedness to take over power in Abia come 2019, was severally postponed because of the insistence by the organisers that the President must be physically present.
There was no official explanation for the President’s absent at the rally.
But a source at the function said Abia APC was satisfied that the President sent his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Political Matters, Gideon Samani, who stood in for him.
Before the rally, an APC insider had hinted that leadership tussle was at the heart of the several postponements of the Abia APC rally.
The source alleged that the Ikechi Emenike faction of Abia APC ha been angling to ease out the Donatus Nwankpa-led executive of the party, adding that Chief Emenike was said to be using his closeness to Buhari to stall his gracing the event.
However, this claim has yet to be confirmed before the rally. Coincidentally, neither the President nor Emenike graced the rally.
But a source in another faction, Dr Frank Osita Chuks, described this claim as untrue.
The former Chairman of Umunneochi Local Government Area gave an insight into the reasons behind the President’s inability to come.
“There has never been a leadership problem. This rally has never been stalled by problem of leadership. It has been a problem of getting a suitable date for Mr President because he has been wanting to be present in this rally. Unfortunately, the first time it was scheduled, he had an important thing to do in ECOWAS. That was responsible for the postponement of the rally.
“The Presidency told us then that if we want to go ahead without the President, that we can go ahead. That was why the rally was put off,” Chuks said.
“And this time around, even the President was involved in putting this thing together and unfortunately, he can’t make it and we said it is better we go ahead since he is going to send a representative.
“And for the President to send a representative in the calibre of his SSA, Political, that means this event has the full backing of the President. And you can see the full structure of APC in the national, zone and in the state are fully here,” he added.