Due to internal party wrangling and compromise by the National Headquarters of the All Progressive Congress, the Abia State chapter of the party may not be able to field a governorship candidate.

Two factions of the Abia chapter of the party have conducted two different modes of primaries with each side claiming to be legitimate while the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee of the party is unable to make a decisive intervention due to alleged compromise.

While the faction loyal to the former Minister of State For Mines, Uche Ogah, wanted direct primary to test the popularity of all the aspirants, those loyal to Ikechi Emenike preferred a consensus arrangement where he would be endorsed.

To avoid a deadlock that could ruin the party’s chances in the 2023 election, the national headquarters of the party attempted a mediation which failed.

The failure of the reconciliation effort was mirrored in a letter to the National Secretary of the APC by the party’s National Legal Adviser, Ahmad El-Marzuq, who led the efforts.

In the letter, Marzuq recommended the Direct primary mode for Abia APC so that the most popular candidate could emerge.

Following this recommendation, the national headquarters wrote to the National Chairman of INEC on May 25 informing the commission that the Abia APC would conduct a direct primary to pick its governorship candidate.

INEC, which acknowledged the letter on May 26, went on to monitor the Direct primary conducted at the APC Secretariat, Azikiwe Road, Umuahia, which was won by Ogah.

But Emenike also conducted an Indirect primary at Old Chidiebere Motor Park, Umuagu, Umuahia, where he emerged as the governorship candidate of the party contrary to the party’s directive to INEC.

According to The Whistler, Emenike’s emergence also as a governorship candidate brought confusion which could only be settled by the APC headquarters standing by its directive.

But in a second letter to INEC Chairman which was acknowledged on June 16, nearly two weeks after the deadline for primaries had expired, the APC headquarters said it committed an error in its earlier letter by including Abia among states to conduct primary through the Direct mode.

The letter, signed by Abdullahi Adamu and Iyiola Omisore, National Chairman and Secretary respectively, said Abia State was to adopt the Indirect Mode for its governorship primary.

The U-turn by the national headquarters of the party appeared dubious as the letter was acknowledged by INEC on 16th June—nearly two weeks after the expiration of the deadline for conduct of primaries– while it was dated 26th May.

The Abia APC is in a huge dilemma and is now in danger of not fielding any candidate for the governorship election as the two candidates claiming to be the governorship candidates of the party are legally encumbered.

INEC would not recognize Emenike who was elected through Indirect primary for two reasons. An indirect primary election can only be held where there are elected delegates but Abia APC did not conduct any congress to elect delegates.

This was confirmed in a letter signed by Ayogu Obinna Luke, of Abia INEC to the Commission’s national headquarters which was acknowledged on 2nd June.

The letter informed the Commission’s headquarters that there was no delegates election by Abia APC, and no delegates list to conduct an indirect primary, adding that it was the reason why the national headquarters of the party recommended the direct primary to be adopted for all primary elections in the state.

On the other hand, the APC also did not monitor the Direct primary that produced Ogah, a situation that presents another legal dilemma should the party agree to field him.

By INEC’s timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections released on February 26, parties were to conduct their primaries for nominations of candidates from 4th April to 3rd June 2022. But this was later extended to June 9.

Nominations for governorship and state houses of assembly would end by July 15.


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