Citing poor leadership by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and a loss of confidence in the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), supporters of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume have called on him to quit the ruling party.
The stakeholders made up of professionals, students, town unions and the clergy took the decision after a meeting at the weekend.
Araraume, who want to be governor, was advised to get another platform to contest because “he cannot get justice in the ongoing efforts to resolve the crisis in the Imo APC.”
The coalition, which met through representatives in Owerri, said Araraume needed a credible platform through which the people could ensure the type of governance they envisage in 2019.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the participants noted that the people had become “completely disenchanted” with the party as a result of Okorocha’s “repressive and unresponsive” leadership style.
They noted that the call on Araraume to seek for another party was further informed by the fact that the people had long before now identified the former senator as possessing qualities that would enable him “recover and rebuild the state from the ruins it has been left in for close to eight years now”.
Spokesman Apostle Jonas Ihejirika noted that they worried that even if the senator secured the ticket of the APC to run for the election, he will be unlikely secure the people’s mandate because Okorocha has “completely demarketed” the party.
He listed some of their grievances against the Okorocha administration to include brazen impunity, which manifests mostly in the governor’s “utter disdain for the rule of law, high handedness/insensitivity to the yearnings of the people, deceit and crass lack of transparency”.
Ihejirika explained that though the people were gearing towards returning the APC to power in 2019, owing to the fact that that some stakeholders were making some efforts to rebrand it, he said “recent developments within the party have thwarted such efforts such that the people are now looking elsewhere”.
Before now, several leaders of the APC in the Southeast have criticised Okorocha for his style of administration, which they said had jeopardised its chances of even retaining Imo, the only state it has in the zone, let alone winning in the 2019 elections.
Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu has had hot exchanges with Okorocha over his (Okechukwu) insistence that the governor had almost destroyed the chances of the party to get enough votes for President Muhammadu Buhari, who has indicated interest to seek re-election next year.
Last week, there were speculations that Senator Araraume had concluded plans to defect to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), but sources said though he had been under pressure to leave the APC, he was yet to make up his mind on which party to join.