From Ihenacho Nwosu and Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders in the South-East yesterday ordered to governors in the zone nursing the ambition to join the ruling party to do so now or forget it.
Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha said at the South East APC leaders meeting held in Enugu that the party would no longer tolerate continued prevarication by some governors from the zone who had indicated interest in joining the party.
Okorocha last week revealed that three governors in the region had approached him to join the APC, but he did not disclose the identities of the governors nor their party.
Giving reasons for asking the governors to join APC now, Okorocha explained that the APC in the four states of the region not occupied by the party cannot wait for these governors again as they have to fill up party positions towards taking over the states.
Okorocha regretted that Igbo did not play the right politics in 2015, which led to the systematic marginalisation of the region in the formation of the government at the centre.
He expressed optimism that with the entrance of political heavyweights in the region into APC, they would now take over the zone, saying that if former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo and former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani were in APC, Enugu State would have since been in their kitty.
Okorocha said that the South-East must join in the singing of the new song of change like its counterparts in the South-West and the North who are now reaping the benefits of their support to the party, saying that the Igbo got only the labour and science and technology ministries because the South-East did not do what they were supposed to do.
“We had nobody with us, we were rejected by all and called Boko Haram, but we were determined to get what is due to our people,” he said.
Explaining why he appointed Senator Ken Nnamani the leader of APC in the South-East at their Owerri meeting, the Imo governor said that he had earlier told Dr Ogbonnaya Onu not to accept ministerial appointment for him to remain at the leadership of the party.
He insisted that they needed a strong voice in the region that the other people would rally round to build the party.
Earlier in his welcome address, the APC National Vice Chairman, South-East, Hon Emma Eneukwu said the party would use the forthcoming Anambra governorship election as a litmus test of their strength in the region, saying that “our journey of taking over the South-East Government Houses must start from Anambra State.”
Eneukwu noted that the Enugu meeting afforded both the new and old members of the party the opportunity of sitting together for the first time to discuss party matters of mutual interest in the zone.
“It affords us the opportunity of collectively saying welcome on board to the ruling party to our distinguished political heavyweights who have now joined forces with us to enthrone government of change in the South-East,” he said.
Some of the party leaders from the zone who attended the meeting are former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo; former Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani; Science and Technology Minister, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu; Labour Minister, Dr Chris Ngige; Imo Deputy Governor, Chief Eze Madumere; Senators Ifeanyi Ararume, Osita Izunazo, Uche Ekwunuife, Nkechi Nwaogu, Emma Anosike; and Chief George Moghalu.
Others are former Abia Deputy Governor, Chief Chris Akomas; Chief Ezekiel Izuogu; Chief Gbazueagu Nweke Gbazueagu; Chief Agunwa Anakwe; Enugu APC Chairman, Dr Ben Nwoye; former APC guber candidate in Enugu, Chief Okey Ezea; for Enugu House of Assembly Speaker, Chief Eugene Odoh, among others.