Hon. Daniel Nwafor is the Imo state chairman of the APC. His state executive committee was this week dissolved by the national leadership of the party headed by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. In this interview conducted by GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, he calls Oshiomhole a reckless rascal for daring to ignore a valid court order restraining him from tampering with the state structure of the party.
How do you react to the dissolution of the entire Imo APC state executives by the national leadership of your party?
We have been inundated with calls from across the country and we also read on the pages of newspaper comments attributed to the National Working Committee of our party headed by Mr. Adams Oshiomhole pointing to the fact that the entire party structure in the state has been dissolved. And we find it very laughable because it is either Adams Oshiomhole is ignorant of the events or he chooses to be reckless in the handling of the office of the National Chairman, which we all elected him to be. It is on record that the party structure in Imo was duly and validly elected, constituted and I was inaugurated by the National Working Committee as the state chairman of the party, likewise the entire party structure in the state.
It is important to refresh our memory on how we got where we are now. After the congresses of July 23, executives emerged and started working for the party to the buildup of the primaries. We conducted primaries in Imo and winners emerged. The committee that was sent by the NWC led by Brig-Gen Ibrahim Agbabiaka came where and conducted primaries. It was a direct primaries and the whole world witnessed it including the press. When we emerged, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole unilaterally decided to remove some names of some winners and replaced them with his cronies. As a party that is built on the rule of law we called the attention of NWC to this and warned that if this act of imposition, exclusion, illegal removal continues that the party will be badly damaged.
As a party in the state we met, which includes the 27 LGA chairmen and the 305 ward chairmen and we wrote to the NWC to desist from this imposition and to allow the winners of the October 6 primaries to enjoy their mandates. Personally I put calls across to the National Chairman and urged him not to destroy this party and allow the winners of this election to stand. But the National Chairman true to type having a parochial personal interest went ahead to illegally substitute the names of winners of the primary elections and those persons are in court challenging this mandate.
The position of Imo APC is that the winners of the primaries should be allowed to stand , that those who won should be allowed to enjoy their mandate and those who lost should be large hearted enough to accept defeat and continue to work with the party. But the National Chairman went ahead to substitute names and that was the beginning of the problem in the party, which we have been trying to manage because we know that the party is going into a big election. Imo state is the only APC state in the southeast that has a sitting governor. But we have been managing this matter discreetly in order not to cause more rancors.
Two weeks ago, the governorship candidate of our party, Sen. Hope Uzodinma in connivance with Adams Oshiomhole requested that the state exco, the LGA and ward executives of the party should be dissolved. Sen. Hope Uzodinma said that he could not win elections in the state with the present party structure and requested Adams Oshiomhole to dissolve the party structure. At that meeting with candidates, state chairmen and state secretaries I also warned that if he grants the requests of Sen. Uzodinma in dissolving the entire state structure that he will taking the Imo APC 15 steps backwards. But as usual the National Chairman having already formed an alliance with Sen. Uzodinma, there are a lot of allegations of money changing hands, which I think the security agencies should investigate. It was at that meeting he admitted that he was going to dissolve the party structure in Imo state.
Are you going to challenge the latest action of the party leadership in court?
Now the good news is that the Imo APC is unperturbed, we take the announcement of the dissolution with a pinch of salt and as usual knowing the person of Adams Oshiomhole and his executive rascality we won’t lose sleep over his decision. We have a valid court order by the Abuja high court which had granted us a perpetual injunction which expressly stated that the NWC or NEC or their agents should not tamper, substitute, replace, remove, and dissolve the Imo state APC. It is a clear judgment from a competent court of jurisdiction of the land. And I do not think that any man should place himself above the laws of the land. As a party in the state, we have candidates to deliver. We have President Muhammadu Buhari, we have three senatorial candidates, 10 House of Representatives candidates and we also have the governorship candidate, Sen Hope Uzodinma in spite of his shortcomings we will work for our party. So, we are very busy with the task of giving victory to President Buhari and all other candidates of our party. We state very clearly that Adams Oshiomhole does not have the right, power to disobey a judgment of a competent court. So, we will seek further interpretation from the court. I want to reiterate that the Imo APC is intact; yesterday we rose from a meeting with the 305 ward chairmen with their secretaries, the 27 LGA chairmen with their secretaries and the 36 state executive committee members who were validly elected by the people of Imo state who belong to this party. We are concerned that Adams Oshiomhole may have been paid to destabilize this party in the southeast.
Every reasonable politician should understand that Imo state is the only state in the entire southeast where there is an APC governor and government. Before primaries, there were divergent interests but after the primaries it is the duty of the national chairman and NWC to reconcile all aggrieved persons and not to be partisan and begin to play the role of campaign managers for certain governorship candidates. So, we are totally not discouraged and will continue to push. The plans of Oshiomhole for the party to lose in the state and south east will fail because we are committed to the re-election of President Buhari and all other candidates of this party. So, the Imo APC is intact under my leadership and we will continue to work to ensure that the party wins all elections. We urge the public and all Nigerians to disregard the reckless statements saying that the executive of our party has been dissolved until a court of competent jurisdiction overrules the subsisting judgment, we are the validly constituted party structure in the state. We did not join this party because of Adams Oshiomhole.
It was alleged that since Sen. Hope Uzodinma emerged the party’s governorship candidate, you have not invited him to any party meeting?
I have called a press conference here sometime ago and said that Hope Uzodinma is not a member of our party. But because the party needed to move forward, we allowed certain things and rules to go . Hope Uzodinma we also challenge him now is not a member of this party . However, we have to allow certain things to be in the interest of peace in the party. I think they are not appreciating the efforts of the state structure of this party.
It has also been alleged that you are working for the governorship candidate of another party?
Of course, it is obvious lie, those are just gimmicks. They are trying to give a dog a bad name just to hang it. I have said it severally that everybody running for governorship in Imo state is one way or the other close to me but does not mean that I will leave my party and work for them. I swore an oath to defend and protect the party’s interest. And I have said it severally that I will win all the elections in the state. Anybody saying that I am working for one party or the other is not in touch with the realities of the time.
The court judgment you are referring to, did you obtain it before the dissolution order or after?
This is a perpetual injunction given on the 14th of August, 2018 by a federal high court sitting in Owerri and those who are lawyers will understand what this judgment means. This judgment was given when Mr. Evans Enwerem who contested the state chairman with me took me to court to challenge my election and defendants in this matter were All Progressives Congress , Mr. Adams Oshiomhole and Mr. Daniel Nwafor. We defeated Evans Enwerem in court and got this perpetual injunction, which affirmed that the congresses of July 21, 22 and 23 were validly organized and to also say that our executives were validly constituted and since the 14th of August, the order has not been challenged. Evans Enwerem after losing the matter in court we spoke to him and he allowed the matter to rest. So anybody parading himself as a caretaker is making a mistake and Adams Oshiomhole is misleading them because I am sure he knows there’s a court judgment in which he was a defendant. But as usual he is reckless. We call on President Buhari to look into the activities of Adams Oshiomhole and there a lot of signs that he is an agent probably paid by some persons to make sure that the party loses election especially in the southeast because no sane politician will literally wake up less than two months to a presidential election to illegally dissolve a validly constituted state executive. President Buhari must call Adams Oshiomhole and his cohorts to order. Anyways, Adams Oshiomhole is already in contempt of the court and our legal team knows what to do.