Anambra APC crisis deepens as Ngige, Uba lock horns


The crisis rocking the Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is worsening despite several interventions by relevant authorities of the ruling party. Assistant Editor, ‘Dare Odufowokan, reports that the crisis is threatening to tear the APC apart in the state.

The crisis rocking the Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (ÀPC) has taken a turn for the worse with the two factions of the party refusing to work together in spite of efforts by the national leadership of the party to reconcile the gladiators ahead of the 2023 general elections. Checks by The Nation revealed that a struggle for the control of the party between the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and the governorship candidate of ÀPC in the November poll, Andy Uba, is at the centre of the renewed crisis.

A new twist was introduced into the crisis when the faction of the party loyal to Uba on Sunday, returned embattled Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Basil Ejidike as substantive state Chairman of the party, amidst opposition to his choice by many party chieftains, especially those in the Senator Chris Ngige faction. Prior to the State Congress, the party had conducted its ward and Council congresses last Tuesday and Wednesday under the supervision of the state Local Organizing Committee (LOC), headed by Ralph Okeke.

But all the congresses in the state have been rejected by the Ngige group. Okelo Madukaife, the Publicity Secretary of the faction, said ward congresses by the faction loyal to Senator Uba are fraudulent. The party spokes person had warned leaders of the party against being tricked into believing that the congresses held by the Uba faction are acceptable to the members of the party in Anambra state. According to him, majority of the party’s members are not in agreement with the developments.

Factional state Secretary of the party, Chukwuma Agufugo, said “I’m not surprised to hear that some people conducted a purported state congress last Sunday, because there has been this desperation by some individuals in the party to concoct what seems like a congress. There was no congress in the state. There is a subsisting order and ruling by the state High Court and the Court of Appeal respectively.  Emeka Ibe secured the judgement directing that the status quo should be maintained, where the former party Chairman, Ibe, was return as the state chairman of the party.

“That order was duly served on us and to the national secretariat of the party. I particularly wrote a memo to the national secretariat requesting its directive and intervention to that effect, and up until now, we have not received any reply. I do not believe that the party would be blind to that judgement. Of course you know that no matter how big or small a court order is, it is meant to be obeyed.”

Nonetheless, Ejidike was declared as the winner in the voice vote conducted by the Chairman of the seven-man APC Congress Committee. A former representative of Oyi and Anyamelum Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Chiedu Eluemumoh, moved the motion that ÀPC members in the state accept Ejidike as the new state Chairman through a voice vote. Representative of Anaocha 1 Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Charles Ezeani, seconded the motion.

Among those elected with Ejidike were Ifeanyi Osegbue, deputy chairman, Augustine Muomife, Zonal Chairman, Anambra Central, Ezenwa Egwuatu Zonal Chairman, Anambra North, Izuchukwu Okeke Zonal Chairman, Anambra South, Chidi Orji, secretary, Chukwunonso Chinwuba, legal adviser, Joe Obidike, Assistant Secretary, Joseph Chukwudi Okeke, Organising Secretary, Chukwudi Aniony, Auditor, and Calister Nwachukwu, treasurer.

Members of the Congress Committee are Francis Nwosu, Hon. Baja (Secretary), Leo Ugochukwu Ndubuka Uruakpa, Sidi Ali Ibrahim, Adamu Siddiki and Abubakar Siddiki. Baja said the team was the only one recognised by the national leadership of the party to conduct the party congress in the state, insisting that any other congress in the state before now was illegal, null and void. He said the congresses were conducted without any imposition of leaders at the wards, local and state levels. He described Uba as the leader of the party in the state.

More trouble

But rather than end the protracted crisis in the state, the conduct of congresses in Anambra state appears to have created more troubles for the APC ahead of the next general elections.  Aside rejecting the outcome of the congresses from Wrd, Local Government to the State level, a faction of the party in the state has vowed to drag Senator Uba, and Ejidike to court. The Senator Ngige-led faction insisted that Uba and Ejidike conducted a state con gress in contravention of a state High Court judgment stopping them from going on with the exercise.

The faction also debunked claims that Uba is the leader of the party in the state, describing him as a mere tenant in Anambra APC. The group also insisted that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Ngige, remains the authentic leader of APC in Anambra state. State Secretary of the party, Agufugo, recalled how the Uba faction conducted the state congress in contravention of the High Court judgment and an Appeal Court order, which sacked Ejidike and installed a former Chairman of the party, Emeka Ibe as chairman.

“The APC in Anambra State is under siege. Some anti-democratic forces have taken over the party in the state, but we will not allow them. We hold this press conference today to dispel some information that enemies of the party have been dishing out to unsuspecting members of the public. The problem of the party started during the last governorship primary election, which was meant to elect and not select a flag bearer. Unfortunately, Uba sidelined every other aspirant of the party and imposed himself as the flag bearer, leading to a woeful outing by the party,” he lamented.

Speaking further on the unending crisis within the party, Agufugo added that, “That election registered a very devastating outcome and it is the worst election our party ever had since 2013 when the party was formed. The truth is that those who led the party to such a poor outing should have long resigned, but they still carry on, purporting to be leaders of the party. They ignored the resolution of the party to install Emeka Ibe as chairman and blatantly refused to obey the Appeal Court order, which removed Ejidike and installed Emeka Ibe. Our members, who instituted that court case, are here, and we have advised them to go to court and apply for forms 48 and 49 against both Uba and Ejidike. The law is no respecter of man; they have run afoul of the order of court and that is contempt; they must pay for it.”

Speaking on recent developments within the party, Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and governorship aspirant of the APC in the last Anambra governorship election, Dr. George Moghalu affirmed Ngige as the leader of the party in the State. “People follow who they have seen their lifestyle. There is nothing like leader in the APC constitution. The highest political office holder in a State where there is no governor is usually the leader of the party in a State. Ngige is a statesman, a former governor, a former Senator, a minister.

All these positions held by Ngige are not in contest and the circumstances have conferred on him that position of a leader of the party in the State. The people claiming to be leaders in the party today are people who joined us after we have laboured. They were the same people who called us northern party, Boko Haram party and all. What should concern me now is looking at factors that led to a poor outing in the last election and correcting them. People can’t come from nowhere and lord things over us in the party,” he said.

But Ejidike said he has accepted to chair the executive committee of the party in the state under the leadership of Senator Uba in spite of growing opposition to his election. Observers of the politics of the state say the crisis within the party may escalate in coming days. “I’m overwhelmed by joy on the decision to make us your leaders. We accept the daunting task, we will not betray the confidence bestowed on us. The essence of political party is to win election and advance the cause of their environment. We know this and we must put heads together to win election.

“We will begin another round of electioneering soon, and it is a wake-up call for us to lead our party to victory and dominate the national assembly with our members from the state. Today we have emerged as one firm family and ready to surmount every obstacle. Let’s bury our hatchet of yesterday and achieve the best for us. We thank our new leader in the state, Senator Andy Uba. He has rescued and repositioned our party in Anambra State. I unequivocally thank you for your uncommon commitment towards moving the party forward,” Ejidike said.

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