By Joshua Chibuzo Andrew, Owerri
The Imo State chapter of the Labour Party (LP) may be going into the November 11, 2023 governorship election divided as top stalwarts of the party have distanced themselves from the LP governorship torch bearer, Senator Athan Achonu.
At the inauguration of an 481-member governorship campaign council in Owerri, among those whose absence was noticed include the Imo State Director-General of the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Martin Agbaso, Dr Fabian Ihekweme, another top aide in the Presidential Campaign Council and a former commissioner, and several others. No reason was officially given for their absence.
Another gloomy cloud over the Achonu gubernatorial ambition is the ongoing legal tussle over the governorship ticket as another aspirant, Okechukwu Ukaegbu is challenging the emergence of Achonu in the courts.
Imo LP state Chairman, Mr. Callistus Ihejiagwa, who performed the opening ceremony urged the members not to joke about the “fierce urgency” to rescue the state.
“You have become and Peter Obi in all the nook and crannies of your localities. This is a call to duty, service and selfless sacrifice for the good of Imo,” Ihejiagwa said.
“If we disappoint the people, they will not forgive us. Our children will not forgive us,” he added.
He said the insecurity in the state had forced many to hold traditional events outside the state for fear of possible attacks back home.
“They say LP has no big vehicles and have no structure, but those with big cars and structures are the people with the structure of corruption which Peter Obi has come to eradicate.
“We are hungry for a new Imo and Nigeria.A new Imo and Nigeria are possible and attainable,” he said.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the council, Mr. Chime Nzeribe, described the upcoming election as a struggle to “emancipate Igboland, not only Imo.”
Nzeribe appealed to the council to take their polling booths seriously and ensure that every vote for the party’s candidate counts.
“The reason Obi has problem today is that the party’s mobilisation in the booths was not fantastic and our results were not well guarded. This is something we must work out to ensure that our results are well guarded,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman on occasion and former Commissioner for Finance in Imo, Mr. Nicholas Ndudu, said the change which Nigerians desired would only come from LP.
In an acceptance speech, the Chairman of the council and member representing Owerri Federal Constituency, Mr Tochukwu Okere, pledged to secure victory for Achonu and the party.
Okere urged the Council members to unite and be ready to run an aggressive campaign for the governorship candidate and party.