Notable stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia gathered at the party Secretariat on Azikiwe Road, Umuahia Thursday to reaffirm their loyalty to the Acho Obioma-led executive in the state.
The Newsmen reports that the enlarged meeting of stakeholders presided over by the state Deputy Chairman, Goldie Nwagbara, was attended by the executive committees of the party at the ward, local government, zonal and state levels.
Other prominent leaders in attendance included Sen. Chris Adighije (popularly called Papa APC), immediate past state Chairman, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, and former Abia Speaker, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka.
Also at the meeting were former state Chief Judge, Justice Sunday Imo (Rtd.), the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Film Corporation, Jos, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Etigwe Uwa.
In their separate speeches, the chieftains encouraged the stakeholders to remain steadfast and resolute in their loyalty to the Obioma-led executive of the party.
NAN.reports that Abia APC has been polarised into two by protracted leadership tussle.
Both factions held parallel congresses at the ward, local government and state levels and produced two rival executives.
NAN recalls that the group loyal to a chieftain of the party, Chief Ikechi Emenike, produced its ward, local government and state executives, with a retired banker, Dr Kingsley Ononogbu, as the state Chairman.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the party on Feb. 4 issued a Certificate of Return to Ononogbu at a ceremony in Abuja.
However, the Obioma-led faction, which is agitated by the development, insisted that it remained the authentic group.
It claimed to have conducted the congresses from the ward to state in accordance with the party’s constitution.
In a remark, Adighije admonished the stakeholders not to panic but remain firm, confident that victory was imminent.
“What happened is that some people wanted to destroy the party in Abia but God won’t allow it.
“What is happening is good and a test of our faith and commitment to this leadership.
“Those who left were not genuine members. You have all suffered by staying here and God will definitely answer your prayers,” Adighije said.
In a speech, Nwankpa said that all the major party leaders in the state, including the Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, former banker, Dr Alex Otti, Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Chief Uche Ogah, former Deputy Gov. Chris Akomas, and the strongman of Abia politics, Chief BB Apugo, amongst others, were behind Obioma’s leadership.
He assured the stakeholders that they would have victory at the end of the day, saying that the party under his watch complied with the APC Constitution in organising its congresses.
Former chief judge, Imo, and Uwa, in their speeches, said they operated within the confines of the party constitution and had nothing to fear.
Uwa said: “I have read the party constitution from page one to the last and found that where we are is where the law is.
“We have a subsisting case in court so I will not speak much on it but I know that we will prevail at the end and take what belong to us.”
He urged party faithful not to lose hope but gird their loins for the final battle, saying “we are going to fight to the end”.
Imo said: “Looking at the matter from all sides, we have nothing to fear.
“God is on our side. The party constitution is on our side and all the ‘timber and calibre’ in the party in Abia are with us.”
Other speakers, including Nwagbara, who represented the state chairman, Maduekwe and Ohajuruka, reaffirmed their commitment to the struggle for victory.
They said that as foundation members and stalwarts of the party in the state, they would give their all to resist the attempt to shove them aside and hand over the party to one man.
“We started this party in Abia and we shall not fold our hands and watch strangers take the party away from us,” Maduekwe, an aspirant for the 2023 governorship poll, said.
Earlier, the state Secretary, Mr Perfect Okorie, announced that Obioma, Kalu, Otti, Ogah, Akomas, Sen. Nkechi Wogu and former Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, sent in apologies to the meeting for their inability to attend.