By PETER OKOLIE
OWERRI- A leadership tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo between former Gov. Emeka Ihedioha and the state’s chapter of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) is tearing the party apart in the state.
While the state’s Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council, Mr Greg Egu is blaming Ihedioha of frustrating campaign plans, spokesman of the party in the state, Mr Collins Okpuruzo, dismissed allegations against Ihedioha.
The tussle is further heightened by the leadership crisis in Imo PDP between the National Secretary of the party, Mr Samuel Anyanwu and Ihedioha.
The campaign council director-general told newsmen in Owerri that Ihedioha’s actions could jeopardise Atiku’s campaign in Imo.
Egu said since his emergence as the director-general, Ihedioha had done a lot to frustrate the entire campaign management of the Imo PCC.
“All the 41 candidates of the PDP in Imo have found it difficult to campaign for Atiku because of the body language of Ihedioha who is playing a double-faced game.
“One cannot be working hard for Atiku and at the same time be painting his campaign structure in bad light in the estimation of the public.
“All that Ihedioha has been doing is to further his ambition to be Imo governor a third time and that is why he is frustrating the PCC,” Egu said.
He alleged that rather than ensure a cohesive campaign structure, Ihedioha had been side-tracking the PCC and frustrating the harmonious function of council members to further his governorship ambition.
He argued that there was no reason for Ihedioha to continue to convene meetings in his residence when the PCC had a befitting campaign building in Owerri.
“There is a party secretariat in Owerri where he can convene meetings, if he doesn’t like the Atiku/Okowa campaign building.
“All Ihedioha’s nominees within the presidential campaign council have also refused to attend meetings of the council.
“I called meetings on the Dec. 24, 2022, Jan. 7 and Jan. 11, and not a single loyalist of Ihedioha in the Imo PCC attended.
“We warn Ihedioha to desist from unilaterally convening meetings of his selected nominees in his private residence in the name of the Imo PCC because we cannot guarantee his true intentions,’’ he stressed.
Egu the Imo PCC had resorted to media campaigns and was engaging support groups to facilitate Atiku/Okowa victory.
“We have constituted Atiku/Okowa teams at the ward levels and collation centres.
“These measures are complementary to the structures set up by the state executive council of PDP and those contesting elections into other offices,’’ he said.
A chieftain of the PDP and member of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, at the news conference, Mr Myke Ikeoku alleged that Ihedioha had refused to invest in the party’s PCC.
“It is obvious that the state executive council of the party had turned itself into the re-election campaign organisation of Ihedioha because every action they have taken with respect to PCC promotes the personal interest of Ihedioha’s governorship ambition.
“Atiku’s campaign in Imo is in trouble because Ihedioha has been using Atiku/Okowa Campaign in the state to campaign for his governorship aspiration. This will destroy the opportunity Atiku has in Imo,’’ Ikeoku said.
Dismissing all the allegations, however, Imo Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Collins Okpuruzo, described Ihedioha as the leader of the party in the state.
He said Ihedioha was genuinely committed to the victory of Atiku and the 41 candidates of the party in Imo.
“I can confirm today that most of the activities carried out for our presidential candidate are being funded by Ihedioha.
“The publicity programmes we have and the bill boards, advertorials and jingles that are everywhere are directly sponsored by Ihedioha.
“He has also deployed his transportation network, contacts and loyalists into the field to aggressively mobilise for the victory of Atiku Abubakar.
“Anybody that accuses Ihedioha of not supporting or working for the victory of Atiku Abubakar is only playing to the gallery and only being dishonest,’’Okpuruzo stressed. (NAN)