The feud between former Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia and his kinsman, Chief Benjamin Apugo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in the state, has escalated with groups and individuals entering the fray.
Apugo had in a statement accused Orji (PDP), representing Abia Central Senatorial District, of having looted the state treasury during his eight years administration between 2007 and 2015.
The comment triggered off sharp reactions from Orji’s aides and close political allies, relations and groups, who took turns to throw tantrums on Apugo.
Worried by the development, Victor, one of Apugo’s children and a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), blamed the escalation of the rift between the two prominent sons of Ibeku clan on the mischief by “third party and sycophants”.
In a statement issued in Umuahia on Monday, Victor regretted that the third party was fanning the embers of discord between his father and Orji rather than finding ways to reconcile them.
He stated, “The third party should explore ways to make peace between the two instead of helping to magnify and escalate the political difference between them.”
He described as baseless, the allegation that his father disowned his children, stating that it was wrong for anybody to allege that their father disowned them because all of them did not belong to one political party.
Victor said: “Although it is true that our father and some of us belong to different political parties, it did not in anyway translate to having any issues with him.
“It should not give anybody the impetus to insult him. Nobody should insult my father.
“That we do not belong to the same political party with him does not mean we are quarrelling.
“Politics is all about ideologies and if we don’t share the same ideologies we owe nobody any apologies or explanations.
“If my father has disowned us as they claimed, why were we part and parcel of the COVID-19 palliatives he shared during the lockdown to our people?
“We were in every community in Ibeku and other communities in Umuahia distributing the items worth over N250 million, which we jointly donated with our father.”
He urged the political stakeholders, allegedly stoking the misunderstanding between his father and Orji to “stop fishing in troubled waters to enrich themselves”.
He said that a group of politicians, who signed a communique as Ibeku political stakeholders, disparaging his father, “have no mandate to speak for Ibeku people.”
He further stated: “These are sycophants and spent forces, who no longer have any political relevance and value in Ibeku land.
“I am not standing for anybody. All we need is peace in our land. Both Prince BB Apugo and Orji are our sons and should be celebrated.
“My position is that the signatories to the so-called communique have already taken sides instead of calling for peace.
“Instead of needles war, we should be concerned with how to develop Ibeku land and empower our youth because posterity will judge everybody.”
Victor argued that his father contributed meaningfully to the political and economic development of the old Imo and Abia states.
He also denied the allegation that his father sold some plots of land belonging to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).
He cited a newspaper publication of May 26, 2017, which reported a court judgment on the matter in his father’s favour.
The publication quoted the Federal Court of Appeal, Owerri to have struck out the charges against Apugo and a judgment of Umuahia High Court for the lack of proof.
He stated that the judgment was also published in the 2017 Law Report marked APUGO Vs FRN (2017) LPELR-41643 (CA).
Victor also cited a letter by the Railway Property Management Company Ltd (RPMC), referenced RPC/EZ/UM/VOL.1-26 and dated Dec. 20, 2016, wherein the company stated that the six plots of land in contention were not part of Railway land.
Copies of the letter, signed by the Enugu Zonal Manager of RPMC, Mr C. R. Iwuchukwu, and attached to the statement, was addressed to Apugo’s lawyer, O. O. Amuzie & Associates.
The letter read in part, “We have sighted Umuahia Station Plan of the NRC and the Survey Plan provided by your client, Prince Benedict Benjamin Apugo, with plan no. UDI /AB/LO/02/2015 (exhibit D) as attached, and wish to agree with your position that the plots in contention do not fall into Railway land.”