*Say Stanley Amuchie is APGA guber candidate
The Oracle Today had last week published a story that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had rejected the alleged nomination of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Imo State for the 2019 governorship election.
Documents from the electoral commission now indicate that Senator Ifeanyi Araraume who has been running for the governorship position of the state since 2007 is not APGA’s governorship candidate in Imo State, but the former staff of Zenith bank, Mr. Amuchie Stanley.
According to the documents which were obtained by The Oracle Today, INEC in a report titled “Report on the Imo State All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship primary election scheduled for Friday 5th October 2018”, signed by the Deputy Director Legal Services, S.O. Ibrahim Esq, noted that APGA had notified it that they would hold their governorship primary election nationwide on Friday, October 5th 2018 by 8:30am, and that on the day it sent a “team of monitors” which “visited the proposed venue of the exercise in Imo State, Aladimma Mall”.
The electoral commission in the report also stated that “The delegates were there but all through the day nothing happened”. The report added that “the next day Saturday, 6th October the APGA Imo State National Organizing Committee members for the primary election paid a courtesy call to the REC about 11:00am and announced that they have rescheduled the election for same day at same venue. Again we were there with the team from our national headquarters Abuja but nothing happened”.
INEC also said that the party’s guideline for the conduct of the governorship primary election and the list of party delegates were not provided as require by the commission. The commission concluded that APGA did not hold its governorship primary election in Imo State on the two dates.
“From the late evening of Sunday 7th October 2018, the Head, Election and Political Party Monitoring received numerous calls from members of the national leadership of the party telling him that the gubernatorial primary election was about to hold at Kanu Nwankwo Sports Complex and requesting him to send staff to go and observe the process . He politely declined and informed that he had no such directive from the REC. He was later to learn that the REC was similarly persuaded”, said INEC.
In another report on October 8, 2018 titled: “Report of the state congress and governorship election in Imo State on 7th of October 2018 for All Progressives Grand Alliance”, signed by Suleiman Tanko from the INEC headquarters Abuja, the electoral commission said: “On the 7th October 2018 a team of monitors were notified for the primaries which took place at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri”.
INEC added that: “In like note a call was received about another primary which took place afterwards with no presence of the monitoring team. The primary at the Concorde Hotel was peaceful. The delegates were present and committee members as well but only one gubernatorial candidate participated. Votes were being cast and they went according to the guidelines of congress and primaries of the commission.
“In conclusion, Mr. Amuchie Stanley Chiedozim emerged with a vote of 638 and returned as the governorship candidate”.
However, a report from the police dated October 19, 2018, said that “The governorship primary election of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State was held on the 7th day of October, 2018, at Concorde Hotels, Owerri. After the primary election, members of the Special State Congress Electoral Committee, Imo State, of the party led by Engr. Charles Nwoye submitted the report of the election to our office”.
The police report which was signed by DCP Rabiu Hassaini, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations, State headquarters, Owerri, said that “From the said report, one Amuchie Stanley Chidozim emerged as the winner, having polled a total of 638 votes.”
The reports from the Police and INEC have created confusion in APGA in Imo State. Sources in the party told The Oracle on Monday that the state chairman of the party, Barr Peter Ezeobi, said that members of the state executive committee of the party should keep sealed lips on the matter and watch the development.
The sources also said that though Araraume had kicked off his campaigns on Sunday, there is palpable fear in his camp as he laments how he was ripped off by the national leadership of the party only to sell out on him.
Efforts to reach Araraume have not succeeded. But it could be recalled that crisis erupted in the party APGA after it was alleged that Senator Araraume emerged the governorship candidate of the party in the state amidst what party members, leaders, 15 governorship aspirants, state and national assembly aspirants described as a shared, a kangaroo and a Ponzi scheme.
The said emergence of Araraume had split the party in the state, leading to the emergence of a faction of the party called the New APGA (N-APGA) with the Barr Ike Ibe as the national chairman. Also, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim and 12 other governorship aspirants had dragged the party, Araraume and INEC to court, praying the court for a declaration that there was no governorship primary election, and that as a result the party does not have a governorship candidate.
About 12 of the aggrieved governorship aspirants and several legislative seat aspirants who felt shortchanged with the developments in the party have since joined other parties where they are now running for election. Mr. Okey Ezeh who was one of the frontrunners for APGA governorship ticket has joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) where he has emerged as its governorship candidate.
Also, Barr Humphery Anumudu who was running for APGA governorship ticket has joined the Zenith Labour Party and became its governorship candidate while Dr. Ikedi Ohakim has since joined the Accord Party where he is now running for governorship, amongst others.
In a press release on October 29, 2019, Ohakim described APGA as a Ponzi scheme, saying that “the travesty that happened in APGA must not be tolerated because it is anathema to Igbo culture and idealism. This is why Igbo people feel ashamed that despite the Ponzi scheme APGA has become under Oye and Governor Obiano, the leadership of the party now wants to hide under any shade or hold on to any available straw just to stay afloat. Sadly, the party has drowned beyond rescuing”.
Ohakim said that “APGA died the day the leadership carried out a coup against it on October 7 when without holding the governorship primary election they announced a winner. Though this matter is currently in court, Nigerians are assured that we are well armed with evidences to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there was no primary election.
We will go the whole length to see the end of this desecration of Igbo land by the same party Igbo people held as theirs, because the travesty that happened in APGA has exposed Igbo people to the fact that there are still canker worms among us. This charade has also shown that all along what APGA leadership was doing was a Ponzi scheme, a scam of the highest order to defraud fellow Igbo men and women of their hard earned money”.