The ongoing merger of some political parties has deepened the crisis in the All Progressive Grand Alliance, as members of the party are intensifying moves to expel the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, for alleged anti-party activities.
If the plot sails through, Okorocha will be the first incumbent governor to be expelled in the present Republic.
Ex-governors Abubakar Rimi of Kano State and Balarabe Musa of Kaduna State were expelled under the platform of Peoples Redemption Party in the Second Republic.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that members of the National Working Committee of APGA are spearheading the plot to edge Okorocha out of the party.
A member of the NWC told our correspondent that the party was not happy because the governor took a unilateral decision to join the All Progressives Congress, the opposition mega party.
Factions of APGA led by Mr. Victor Umeh and by Mazi Okwu have disowned Okorocha for romancing with the APC.
The source, who pleaded anonymity, said, “Rochas has left APGA and that is why he can’t get re-election. His romance with APC amounts to anti-party activities. When we put things right, we can talk of punishment for errant members. But I can tell you that Rochas will be expelled in APGA.”
Okwu told our correspondent that although attending conventions is not an offence, since it brings about cross-pollination of political ideas, Okorocha had however been attacking the APGA which produced him as governor.
He said, “His (Okorocha’s) body language and movement show he is with APC. Attending the Action Congress of Nigeria convention, is not bad, because during convention, about eight political parties attended as guests. I have attended the convention of other parties as well.
“But if he is now bad-mouthing his party because of his relationship with an association that is unregistered, we can only keep our fingers crossed hoping that if and whenever the APC is registered, we will know what to do. For now, the APC is still as an association and not a political party.”
When asked if it was possible to expel a sitting governor, Okwu said Rimi and Musa were expelled from the PRP.
“If a governor dumps the party on which he was elected, it is an issue that has to take care of itself. But let us wait; it may be possible that at the end of the day, he (Okorocha) may have a rethink. So, let’s not say much on that issue yet,” he said.
Also speaking, APGA leader and its Abia state governorship candidate in the 2011 general elections, Mr. Reagan Ufomba, said any member of the party who contravened its constitution and indulged in anti-party activities would be “disciplined irrespective of his position.”
Similarly, the National Secretary of the Umeh-led APGA, Mr. Sani Shinkafi, said the APC was not yet a political party but a political association, adding that “Okorocha is on his own.”
The Special Assistant (Media) to Okorocha, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa, however dismissed the expulsion threat.
He added that Okorocha’s decision to ‘rescue APGA’ remained the best option.
“You know the present condition of APGA with respect to the numerous crises in the party. Based on that fact, Okorocha, being a progressive politician, opted to join forces with other progressives to form a bigger and national party. But it appears that some of these retrogressive elements are not in support of that move by the governor.
“I don’t know those that are trying to expel him; we are not aware. But as I speak with you, the governor is enjoying the support of over 80 per cent of APGA members in his latest move to join other progressives to form APC.
“So those few persons who want to continue making a mockery of themselves should go ahead. We are not aware and whatever they do there is null and void. It won’t enjoy the support of the real APGA people,” he said.