The two factions of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abia State have ended their eight-year-old leadership tussle, and affirmed Chief Ikechi Emenike as the state leader and governorship candidate of Abia APC and Dr. Kingsley Ononogbu as the state chairman.
The two factions rose from a closed-door reconciliation and unification meeting at the country home of a former member of the House of Representatives, Chief Emeka Atuma, at Ntalakwu Oboro, Ikwuano Local Council, on Saturday and resolved to collapse into one united APC.
They resolved to bury their differences and work collectively for the party to take over Abia in 2023.
Addressing the leaderships of the party from the 184 wards and 17 local government areas at the end of the meeting, the two gladiators (Nwankpa and Emenike) said that the war was over.
According to Nwankpa, in politics, there is no permanent enemy but permanent interest.
“The common interest that binds us is our collective desire to create a better Abia and society. We fought and disagreed but never quarreled,” he said, adding that “we disagreed to agree. This is a new APC. We have interacted and everybody would have a sense of belonging.
“We are having a new rule of engagement and our desire is to take over Abia in 2023 to change the destiny of our people,” Nwankpa said.
He advised his following not to feel betrayed either by himself or his successor, Chief Obioma Acho, who recently defected to Labour Party, or other party chieftains in his faction.
He advised everybody to come back into the fold, saying that in APC, “there are many mansions there”.
The obviously elated Emenike, in his address, said: “The reconciliation and unity in Abia APC is the first major step in the party’s long journey towards taking over the state government in 2023. With this reconciliation and the consequent peace and unity in the party, the 2023 general election is as good as won by the APC, because the party has everything and reason to win the guber and other legislative offices.”
Emenike urged all the party faithful to embark on a two to three days fasting for God’s plan for Abia to come into manifestation in 2023.
He said that God had already delivered Abia, adding: “What is left is for us to do our own part. Today is a special day in the history of Abia APC.”
The governorship hopeful said that “the primary task before the party is to win the governorship of the state”.
“What unites us in APC is more important than what divides us. It is a shame that, in spite of this array of quality people here, some people are holding Abia hostage.
“Since all of us are interested in moving Abia foward, let us come together and work to achieve this goal,” he said.
He thanked everybody that was instrumental to the reconciliation, saying that the peace in the party would be beneficial to all.
“Nobody has won. We are still in the trenches. The main battle is to deliver Abia. Liberating the state is not for me or you but our children, the youths and future generations.
“This is what we ought to have done some 20 years ago but it is better late than never,” Emenike said.
He expressed the confidence that he would be sworn in as Abia governor in 2023, and promised that nothing would be left to chance to wrestle the state from PDP and develop it.
Emenike said any government that could not build roads and pay workers’ salaries, “which are the statutory responsibility of government”, has failed”.
He promised that, when elected, he would not only build infrastructure and pay salaries but create jobs for the teeming population of unemployed Abia youths.
The state Chairman of the party, Dr Kingsley Ononogbu, expressed joy over the reconciliation and return of peace in the party.
Ononogbu promised that any agreements reached at the meeting would be respected.
He said that the task before every party member was to take over the Abia Government House in 2023.
He opined that the division in the party was sponsored from outside by those who feared that a united APC would dislodge them.
He said that he had come to the realisation that nobody in Abia was satisfied with the obvious misgovernance and gross underdevelopment of the state.
In separate speeches, other chieftains of the party at the meeting expressed delight over the reconciliation and said that the war had ended.
The host of the meeting, Atuma, said that “nobody should go home and said he had own. There is no victor, no vanquished,” adding that the outcome of the meeting showed that the party is supreme.
Other speakers included the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, Spokesman of the House, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, and a member of the APC National Working Committee, Chief Friday Nwosu.
Nwosu, who represented the National Chairman of the party, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, said he would report to Abuja that the crack in Abia APC had been closed.
They all expressed the confidence that APC would retain power at the centre. They, therefore, called on all the party members to work with the unity of purpose to clinch power in Abia in the interest of all.
However, Uche Ogah was absent from the meeting.
The Abia APC became factionalised in 2014, following a leadership tussle between the former state Chairman, Chief Donatus Nwankpa, and a chieftain of the party, Chief Ikechi Emenike.
In 2015, the Nwankpa-led faction presented Chief Anyim Nyerere as its Governorship Candidate against Emenike, who contested the governorship position under Dr Emmanuel Ndukwe as the factional chairman.
The party also presented two Gubernatorial Candidates along the two factional leaderships in 2019, with the former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Chief Uche Ogah, running against Emenike.