…Okorocha attempted to kidnap me —Returning Officer, Gulak
…APC suspends Imo gov primaries indefinitely, disband Gulak c’ttee
By Chioma Gabriel, Chidi Nkwopara, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi Chinonso Alozie
OWERRI—DISCORDANT tunes yesterday heralded the declaration of results of Imo APC primaries with Kogi Police Commissioner, Ahmed Gulak who presided over the panel that conducted the primary declaring Senator Hope Uzodinma as the APC gubernatorial candidate. But in a twist, the secretary of the panel went ahead and declared Uche Nwosu, Okorocha’s in-law the winner of the primaries.
The drama played out few hours after Ahmed Gulak, chairman of the APC gubernatorial primaries, reportedly declared Senator Hope Uzodimma winner of the primaries.
Announcing the result in Owerri, Mr. Ahmed Gulak said that Uzodinma garnered a total of 423,895 votes to top the list.
The Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere came a distant second with a total of 128,325 votes, while Sir Jude Ejiogu recorded 12,369, to place third.
Gulak also announced that while Peter Gbujie had 12,329 votes to place fourth, Sir George Eche and Engr. Chuks Ololo received 16,597 and 13,645 respectively to place fifth and sixth.
Barrister Chima Anozie scored 11,071, Governor Rochas Okorocha’s son in-law, Uche Nwosu followed with 10,329, while Chris Nlemoha scored 9,253 votes.
Why I fled Owerri —Gulak
Alhaji Ahmed Gulak alleged that he narrowly escaped being kidnapped by agents of Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Gulak said that nine of the 12-member committee were not as lucky as they were abducted by the governor who led a detachment of policemen to the hotel where they were lodged.
He announced that the governorship primary was however conducted peacefully with Sen. Hope Uzodinma emerging winner with 423,895 votes to defeat eight other aspirants including the son in-law to Okorocha, Uche Nwosu.
Uzodinma had earlier been cleared by the NWC for Wednesday’s senatorial primary election in the state.
Gulak said he had to flee Owerri, the Imo state capital at about 4.00am yesterday for safety reasons for Port Harcourt from where he boarded a flight to Abuja.
“In fact, the tension there was so high and if not for my resilience, we were supposed to have been rounded up and taken to an unknown destination. But I insisted that my first destination was the Commissioner of Police. When we got to the Commissioner of Police, I deposited the materials. Unknown to them, the materials I deposited with them were the ballot papers that were to be used when there is a tie between aspirants at the wards.
“Myself, Col. Igbanor and Hon. Bernard Miko were the only three doing this job as others disappeared and we learnt that they were at the Government House. So, when we sensed that something was fishy, by 4.00am, we left Owerri after concluding the entry of the results.
The election was held, results generated and a winner emerged and the winner is Sen. Hope Uzodinma.
“My secretary disappeared around 2.00am. ”
Speaking on the jubilation at the Imo Government House, he said: “Some of our members were rounded up in their hotel and taken to the Government House and whatever they might have done there should be expected.”
Reacting to the outcome of the primary election, the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere, expressed delight that the exercise was successfully concluded, despite “intimidation, blackmail and threat to lives.”
He however regretted that “in spite of our restraint and discipline, we recorded one death”, stressing that his thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and all those that suffered varying forms of injuries and arson, “orchestrated by those who pretend to be democrats, but who indeed, are the devil incarnates”.
Continuing, Madumere said that in the spirit of democracy and sportsmanship, he was obliged to accept the outcome of the governorship primary election, as the wish of the majority of the party members, who would rather support any other party member than the governor’s son in-law.
“I wish therefore, to congratulate the winner of the primary election, Senator Hope Uzodinma. I will take my time to make consultations before taking my next political decision”, he said.
Democracy’s not family affair
Reacting in a telephone chat, Senator Uzodinma decried the use of thugs in the exercise.
“That Imo people have been jubilating and singing victory songs is an ample way of telling the governor and his acolytes that democracy is not a family affair,” Uzodinma said.
Enter Uche Nwosu
Shortly after Gulak’s declaration, eight out of the 12-man Gulak committee, led by the secretary, Henry Idahagbon, at the APC party secretariat in Owerri also declared Mr. Uche Nwosu as the winner of the governorship primary.
In Idahagbon’s result, Uzodimma got 9,159 votes, Uche Nwosu pulled 455,665 votes to defeat Uzodimma and Eze Madumere who clinched 5,067 votes.
Recalling how Gulak disappeared, Idahagbon said: “That happened to our greatest surprise. In the early morning of 2nd October, the police security, numbering over 60, through their commander, Sup. Shem ordered us to leave the hotel for safety as our chairman has left for Abuja and has declared the result.
“We had to call the attention of the state governor who came to our rescue to government house.”
Okorocha Congratulates son-in-law
Meantime, Okorocha has congratulated Nwosu over his victory in the APC governorship primary election in the state and described it as a good omen for the party with regard to the 2019 election.
The governor also commended members of the State’s Governorship Primary Election Committee for doing a thorough job with regard to the conduct of the primary, and described them as patriotic Nigerians and lovers of the democratic culture of one man, one vote.
He equally thanked the members of APC in the State for coming out in their large numbers to vote for Uche Nwosu in the primary and added that Chief Nwosu will not disappoint the party, its members and Imo people in general.
APC suspends Imo gov primaries indefinitely, disbands Gulak C’ttee
But the National Working Committee, NWC, of the APC Imo State has suspended the governorship primaries indefinitely.
APC also disbanded the Ahmed Gulak-led committee for the party’s governorship primaries in Imo State.
National chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Oshiomhole said he came to brief the President on developments in the party.
He also said that the results being paraded as the results of the Imo governorship primaries were fake, adding that the party has disbanded the committee that was sent to the state to conduct the primary and will set up another one immediately so that the process would be completed before the end of the week.
The APC national chairman further stated that the National Working Committee was in charge of the Lagos primary and that every situation has been put under control.