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The Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is engulfed in a major leadership crisis ahead of 2019 general election.
While the state chairman of the party, Dr Ben Nwoye leads a group, the spearhead of the other faction, which is labelled the minority, is said to be Mrs Juliet Ibekaku, the Special Adviser to President Muhammed Buahri, on Judicial Reforms.
According to reliable sources, the crisis might be connected with the 2019 Enugu-West Senatorial race, as each of the figures in the squabbles want to control the party’s structure to advance their ambitions.
Already, the caucus of Enugu APC has stepped into the crisis. The highest decision-making body of the party in the state last weekend approved the suspension of the state deputy chairman of the party, Adolphu Udeh, over alleged anti-party activities.
Rising from their meeting at Nike-Lake, Enugu, the chairman of the party’s Reconciliatory Committee, Group Captain Joe Orji (retd) told journalists that they condemned in strong terms the invasion of the party office by the suspended deputy chairman and his group on July 3, 2017.
The APC leaders also reaffirmed Dr Nwonye as the state chairman of the party, adding that they had directed that the deputy state chairman and other suspended party members involved in the crisis be invited to the next meeting of the caucus.
“We recognised that Dr Nwonye remains the state chairman of the party. There is room for fair hearing and that is why there is a directive that state deputy chairman and the other suspended party members involved are invited to the next meeting of the caucus,” the APC leader stated.
We are not unmindful of the local government election coming up, but there is need for discipline in our party. That is part of the change we want,” he added.
The chairman, Dr Nwonye, said in a statement in Enugu that Mrs. Ibekaku was suspended alongside 19 others over the alleged misconduct and violation of the party’s constitution.
But the group loyal to the Ibekaku led by Comrade Adolphus Ude has denied allegations that his faction was acting script of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu to destabilize the state chapter of the party from constituting a credible opposition to the PDP,which is the ruling party in the state.
Meanwhile, members of APC, Enugu chapter have warned that if the political crisis rocking the state was not immediately addressed, the party may lose to the opposition in the forthcoming 2019 election.
The party chieftains under the aegis of Concerned Enugu APC Stakeholders said except the presidency and top party leaders waded into the crisis, APC might lose the state to the opposition party as it did in 2015.
A former House of Representatives candidate in the 2015 election, Honourable Ejike Njeze addressing newsmen on Saturday in Abuja said that the national secretariat of the party as well as the zonal office had earlier petitioned the group on the leadership tussle between chairman, Dr Nwoye and south zonal chairman, Mr Emmanuel Eneukwu
Ejike maintained that there had been no response from the party leadership at the national level.