Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has waded into the crisis over who is the authentic apex leader of Ndigbo in the party, affirming Joe Igbokwe, the former publicity secretary of the party in the state as the occupant of the office.
Igbokwe, who is currently the Special Adviser (SA) on Drainage and Water Resources to Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Jude Idimogu, a sitting member of the State House of Assembly representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II, had some time been at loggerheads over the exalted position.
Igbokwe has been a member of the APC since the days of the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) while Idimogu, who joined the APC in February 2017 and got elected for a second term, insisted that he is the most senior elected Ndigbo person in Lagos APC to date to take over as the apex leader.
Chairman of Lagos APC, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, said the imbroglio had been resolved following a meeting the party leadership called in his office on Friday with both Igbokwe and Idimogu in attendance, maintaining that the step had to be taking in order to maintain peace and harmony in the party.
He said it was agreed that Igbokwe should be the apex leader of Ndigbo in APC while Idimogu should be the deputy apex leader. He enjoined both men to work together for the interest of Igbos in Lagos and the party.
“Of course, we had a meeting last week Friday in my office. With my intervention in the matter, the party has resolved that both of them should work together as brothers and bring their supporters together so that they can work together for Igbos in APC in peace and harmony.
“With the situation of things, Joe Igbokwe will be the apex leader of Igbos in APC, while Jude Idimogu will be the deputy apex leader. Of course, Idimogu is a young man who has a bright future in our party; he must be ready to work with his brother, Igbokwe who has been in the party for some time,” the party chairman said.
Igbokwe, who spoke on the development, confirmed the party leadership intervention, saying APC had affirmed him as the apex leader of Ndigbo in Lagos APC, declaring that such decision stands.
“Yes, we had a meeting on Friday. The party leadership has settled the issue and I don’t think there will be any crisis again,” he said.
Idimogu, when contacted, insisted that the party never recognised Igbokwe as the apex leader, saying the party chairman, Balogun only said that the two of them as leaders of Ndigbos in Lagos should work together as brothers to advance the cause of Igbos in APC.
“It is not true that Igbokwe was recognised as apex leader. The party chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun called me and Joe Igbokwe and sat us down, he then said ‘Jude, the party hierarchy has recognised your efforts in Lagos State.’
“You have a better opportunity than Joe Igbokwe in the hierarchy of Lagos APC and that the party appreciates me. You are younger than Joe Igbokwe; you have better prospects than him. Both of you are leaders of Ndigbo in Lagos State.’ That was what the chairman said and you can quote me.”
“He said both of us are leaders recognised by the party and we should work together. He did not mention anything about Joe Igbokwe being the apex leader. He only said we are both leaders and we should go and handle affairs of Igbos,” he stated.
Speaking further, the lawmaker maintained that he was not in any competition with Igbokwe, recalling that he was made apex leader by the Igbo community leaders and has a certificate to back up his claim.
“If Joe Igbokwe is saying that he has been recognised as apex leader, he is entitled to his opinion. But I’m telling you what the party leader said. However, I told the party chairman that I never gave myself the position of apex leader. It is my Igbo community leaders that gave me.
“As long as they have given me apex leader, I will answer the title because they not only gave it to me, they even issued me a certificate to back it up. Nobody is dragging that with me.
“If Joe Igbokwe is dragging to become apex leader of Government House, that is his problem. But what the state chairman said was that we are both leaders and we should bring our people together and work for the success of the party,” Idimogu said.
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