A strong member of the Maxi Okwu faction of the party told The Guardian that the Appeal Judgment was a political blow to their camp, contrary to expectations that the case would go in their favour.
It was revealed that after the judgment, there was disquiet and tension in Anambra State Government House, Awka, as Governor Obi and his faction went into a close-door meeting that lasted several hours.
A source privy to the meeting disclosed that it was agreed that the judgment should be challenged at the apex court, while they search for alternative political platform for the council election slated for October 5 and the state governorship election fixed for November 16. The other, the source added, was to present before INEC the Appeal court judgment that upheld the convention that produced Maxi Okwu led-leadership of the party which was earlier given before the Monday judgment that reaffirmed Umeh.
“The decision to search for alternative platform in the interim was due to the fact that the Supreme Court has began annual vacation that will end by Mid-September just few days to the October 5 council poll in the state. That was the dilemma in their camp,” the source said.
The source also revealed that Umeh had on Tuesday sent emissaries to Obi, appealing to him to forget all that has happened in the past so that they can work together ahead of the governorship election, but Obi refused the entreaties having made up his mind with supporters not to work with Umeh for fear of being taken unawares again.
On which political party Obi might likely pitch his tent, the source said that he is still consulting and the party will be made known soon.
The Guardian investigation reveals that most of his supporters are rooting for Chief Chekwas Okorie’s newly registered United Peoples Party (UPP) as a viable option, considering that other known political parties have been hijacked by governorship aspirants.
It could be recalled that the Maxi Okwu led-faction of the party had, on the instruction of Gov. Obi some months ago, paid Okorie a visit in his house in Enugu where they apologised to him over the treatment meted to him in the party by Umeh’s leadership.
Speaking on the development Friday, Okorie said that he has not been formally approached, but if they do, he will receive them. He stressed that it has been his desire for the past three decades for the Igbo to be united.
Also, in his reaction, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Obi, Mike Udah, said that the issue is purely a party affair and not government business.
Meanwhile, Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor, a key kitchen cabinet member and close-confidant of the governor confirmed to The Guardian yesterday in Awka that the faction has already gone ahead to file the appeal at the Supreme Court.
He disclosed that the decision was taken a day after the Court of Appeal verdict. He noted also that the legal team that has been handling the suit has been beefed up and all grey areas and technicalities that formed the plank on which they lost at the Court of Appeal taken care of.
Nwobu-Alor admitted that the Court of Appeal verdict has brought more problems and confusion in the party and among the members, hence the decision to go for the Supreme Court litmus test.
He also assured that the whole new development does not in any way affect the work of Chief Reagan Ufomba’s Peace and Reconciliation Committee. “No, all these recent development does not affect the result of the committee’s work on reconciling members.”
He however decline to comment on what their next move would be if the appeal fails at the apex court.
In a related development, no fewer than 20 governorship aspirants, including Walter Okeke and about three females beat the deadline yesterday to pick the Expression of Interest forms for the election.
Among the female aspirants was Mrs. Josephine Anenih, former minister of Women Affairs and member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Eucharia Azodo.
Top among the male aspirants were Walter Ubaka Okeke, Andy Uba, Akachukwu Nwamkpo, Alex Obiogbolu, Sylvester Okonkwo and Nicholas Ukachukwu.
Commenting on the development, Nwamkpo said the high number of aspirants was an indication of the political savvy and consciousness of the people of state, adding that it was good for the polity, as it gives the people enough latitude to choose a better candidate.