By Ekene Okoye
Controversy is raging over N5m gift by one of the APC Candidates to the party’s “Take-over” Committee for Anambra which seems to buttress the claims that the contraption of former PDP politicians of South East extraction headed by former Governor Jim Nwobodo may be doomed even before its take-off.
The Committee which has been dubbed “Commanders of an Invasion Army,” is already embroiled in brouhaha over a meager N5m donated to it by one Barth Nwibe at Finotel Awka, shortly after they were unveiled.
It was reliably gathered that when the said amount was handed over to the members, former governor Orji Uzo kalu queried the meager sum brought by the candidate but was counteracted by Chief Nwobodo who termed it “money for kolanut,” thus creating a loophole for the members to pocket it.
Melee however arose when other contestants got wind of the N5m bribe and the likelihood that it may unduly influence outcome of the yet to be conducted APC Gubernatorial Primaries for Anambra by swaying the decisions in favour of Nwibe. Even as Nwibe made spirited denials of any intention to influence the team, others insisted that the Committee should either collect equal sum from each candidate for “kolanut” or return what they took from the said Nwibe for good order sake.
Already, observers of the unfolding drama in the APC “Take-over” Committee for Anambra were worried that a group which was given the party’s mandate and warned against undue influence by the contestants fell easily to entrapment. An APC chieftain in Awka, Chief Arize Nweke who got wind of the N5m controversy expressed surprise that the Committee could not wait before messing themselves up, even though it is obvious that they were out to line their pockets in Anambra.
A prominent party official who has the ear of the National Chairman Chief John Oyegun was overheard complaining that the group cannot disgrace the APC. Said he: “These men were deliberately selected so they can bring their experience from the PDP elections to help APC get at least 25% in Anambra, but greed will not allow to avoid making a mess of the whole thing.”
Already some members of the Committee have dissociated themselves from the mess while expressing support to the handling of the “kolanut money” issue with care to avoid a situation where some APC candidates turn round to fight the party even before the elections proper.
Efforts to get Chief Nwobodo to clarify the issues have so far proved abortive.