The fragile peace accord entered into by the previous two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Enugu state seems to have collapsed.
This is coming as the stakeholders rose from meeting of the expanded caucus of the party on Sunday, held at the Dome Event Centre, Enugu, appealed to the National Working Committee of APC to setup a Caretaker Committee that will manage the affairs of the party.
The two factions of the party were led by Deacon Okey Ogbodo and Dr. Ben Nwoye, respectively. However, Nwoye early last month announced in a press briefing that the factions have reconciliated with a harmonised State Executive committee, which according to him, was adopted by the state party leader and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.
The peace of graveyard was however truncated, on Sunday, when both factions held separate caucus meetings in different venues in Enugu, with Onyeama in attendance at the Okey Ogbodo-led faction while Osita Okechukwu, Director General, Voice of Nigeria was in attendance at Ben Nwoye led faction.
While Onyeama group held their meeting at the Dome Event Centre, Okechukwu group held theirs at the State Party Secretariat.
Those in attendance at Onyeama’s meeting were APC Director of Planning and Strategy, Barth Ugwoke, Ambassador designate, General Chris Ugwu (retd), Federal Commissioner Ginika Tor, Group Captain Joe Orji (retd), four former governorship aspirants among others.
While those in attendance at Dr Nwoye meeting were, former Vice Chairman of APC, South East, Chief Emma Eneukwu; VON DG, Osita Okechukwu; pioneer Deputy chairman, Adolphus Ude and pioneer women leader, Lolo Queen Nwankwo and chairmen of the party in 17 local government Areas of the state including Ward leaders.
The stakeholders at the Onyeama’s meeting were particularly concerned over the existence of two factions in the state chapter which have seriously impeded the progress of the party in the state.
They said that the invitation for the meeting was sent by Dr Ben Nwoye and wondered while he was absent.
Earlier in his remark, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama said he convened the meeting to bring them together to seek ways of resolving the lingering crisis in the party.
He said he was surprised that Nwoye who sent the invitation for the meeting on his instruction was absent.
Onyeama said: “For over five years there have been crises in Enugu APC and I called this meeting because I am the leader. I asked that the war should be over and everyone to forgive one another for the sake of a bigger picture and greater good of the APC.
“I asked Ben Nwoye to reach out to Okey Ogbodo so that the reconciliation will be conclusive but he did not. I asked Okey Ogbodo and he said Ben didn’t reach him. I agreed with Ben that the meeting should take place in the Dome Center in New Haven to accommodate members but he decided to move his own meeting to the party office.”
Ambassador designate, General Ugwu (retd); APC Director of Planning and Strategy, Ugwoke and Group Captain Orji (retd) who spoke separately observed that the party was suffering in the state because of the crises and expressed readiness to resolve the issues that cause the crises.
According to Gen. Ugwu the only way out of the factional crisis was to disolve Nwoye and Ogbodo factions to pave the way for a neutral body to lead the party.
On his part, Ugwoke lamented that some of those who claim to be leaders of the party in the state “are APC members in the day and PDP members in the night”, a situation he said, has seriously hindered the progress of the party in the state.
All the speakers at the meeting Onyeama presided, maintained that since both factions have refused to step down, the only viable option left is to disolve them and setup a Caretaker Committee.
However at the end of the meeting, which ended in the night, Onyeama thanked all the stakeholders for being open minded and profferring solution to the crisis.
He said that consensus at the meeting was that a Caretaker Committee be setup to pilot the affairs of the party, adding that a resolution to be forwarded to the National Leadership of the party will be produced and signed by various stakeholders present at the meeting.
But, Okechukwu deferred with Onyeama, saying that Nwoye led leadership of the party had done well in unifying and bring back aggrieved party members.
Okechukwu who spoke at the Nwoye’s caucus meeting said, “APC has only one executive committee in the state led by Dr. Nwoye and I enjoin members to work to consolidate the new found peace and unity in the party.
“When they told me in Abuja that there is crisis in Enugu, I asked them which Enugu. There is no crisis in Enugu APC,” he maintained.
In his remark, immediate former national vice chairman South East, Chief Eneukwu expressed happiness for the peace initiatives of Dr. Nwoye which he said saw to the reconciliation of aggrieved party members.