The national leadership of Action Alliance (AA) has denied withdrawing its petition before the governorship election tribunal in Owerri, Imo state, saying those who announced its withdrawal had since been dismissed from the party.
The party said its national chairman, Chief Kenneth Udeze and the National Secretary, Vernimbe James remained suspended since June 14, 2019 due to their penchant for anti-party activities.
But in a separate interview with our correspondent, the AA National Chairman, Kenneth Udeze, while dismissing the claims, also lamented that the candidates that contested elections in Imo state on the party platform are still indebted to it four months after the conclusions of the 2019 general elections.
At a news briefing addressed by the National Vice Chairman, North West, Alhaji Jibril Aminu and National Publicity Secretary, Charles Chukwuemeka, the AA said; “we are in support of all our cases at the tribunal including that of Ugwumba Uche Nwosu in Imo state.”
Others who were present at the briefing were the National Youth Leader, Michael Madu; National Legal Adviser Anaukyaa Mnenge Peter among others.
On his part, Chairman of the party in Imo state, Chief Anthony Uchendu said the party is in full support of Uche Nwosu’s ambition to “reclaim his governorship mandate in the state.”
He said; “It is so unfortunate what is happening today especially in my state, Imo. Only God knows how he does his things, that a very vibrant and astute politician of Imo state extraction came into the party with a whole lot of credentials. We won comfortably 8 Houses of Assembly and two federal constituency seats. However, we have other cases in court like in Okigwe, Imo North, we are hopeful where INEC is yet to declare a winner and we are very close to victory.
“In all this, our former national chairman in person of Kenneth Udeze who ab initio was not helpful to the party in the state and didn’t do anything for us, we kept faith believing he will have a change of mind but it came to a height where he connived with the PDP in Imo state to deny us of our victory. And he said we won’t have a headway with Uche Nwosu at the tribunal. It is very disheartening that a man who claims to be learned will go on air to say that the party has withdrawn from the case which is still before the tribunal. I want to assure Nigerians that the purported sack of Imo state executive and those of other states is a nullity because he (Udeze) had since been suspended earlier in June”, he added.
Meanwhile, the AA has written the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to convey its suspension of Messrs Udeze and James accusing them of sundry allegations including anti-party activities and an indictment by the police following investigation of party operations.
In the letter dated June 17, 2019, the party named its Deputy National Chairman, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar as acting Chairman, and Deputy National Secretary, Raphael Onakorere as its acting National Secretary.
It also requested INEC to audit the finances of the party from April 2017 to June 2019 in line with relevant electoral guidelines.
Speaking in an interview Udeze said the party had given out party tickets on trust to the governorship candidate, Uche Nwosu and the 27 candidates for the House of Assembly after Nwosu promised that he would pay his nomination fee of N4million as well as nomination fees for those of House of Assembly candidates.
He stated that Nwosu only paid the sum of N7.9 million into the party’s account saying that if the sum of N4million being his own nomination fee is subtracted from the amount, it meant that he is still owing for the 27 House of Assembly candidates whose nomination fee is N500,000 per person.
“In Imo state they are still owing our party, the candidates that we gave tickets are still owing the party. If you look at the guideline approved by the party, the price of governorship nomination form is N4 million.
“When the party was assured that they (candidates) were going to make the payments, what we saw in the party account was N7.9million which did not even cover the 27 House of Assembly members of Imo state.
“But we have done that, we did it on trust, believing we were dealing with gentlemen but up till now, our party is being owed. For the mere fact that he (Uche Nwosu) gave the party the impression that he was the one paying for every other member who ran on the platform, he is still owing the party.”
The AA national chairman who described the former Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha as the enemy of the party noted that the ex-governor being a founding member had absconded to the PDP in 2006/2007 and later to the APC while other founding members like himself remained to build the party.
On the people dividing the AA, Udeze alleged that it was the national youth leader, one Mike Madu, who he identified as a businessman and the national publicity secretary, Chukwuemeka Okoli a senior civil servant.
He stated that while Madu is occupied by his chemist business and hardly has time for the party, he alleged that Okoli the publicity secretary was elected in error noting that he is a civil servant who cannot combine his job and that of party administration.
“Talking about those opposing us, they are inconsequential. Can a national youth leader of the party fight the national leadership of the party, the national chairman and national secretary and other members of the party? It’s not possible.
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“For Emeka Okoli, the party has noted recently that he is a civil servant, a very senior civil servant and he has been hiding his identity. You cannot work as a civil servant and at the same time handle administration. So we have cautioned him. It’s either he chooses from being a civil servant or being a national publicity secretary of the party,” the AA chairman said