A factional leadership of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State has slammed an indefinite suspension on Alex Otti, the governorship candidate of the party in 2015 and 2019.
The suspension was announced in a statement jointly signed by the factional Chairman and Secretary of the party, Augustine Ehiemere and Sunday Onukwubiri, and made available to journalists in Umuahia on Monday.
The party accused Mr Otti of engaging in anti-party activities, saying that he equipped his political machinery, known as Abia First, to harass party officials and create divisions in the party.
It also accused Mr Otti of indulging in illegal and unconstitutional activities as well as acts of insubordination to the party leadership, which "undermined the principle of party supremacy".
It stated that the governorship candidate proceeded to the election tribunal after the 2019 poll "in the name of APGA without the consent and approval of the party."
The party further alleged that Mr Otti sponsored attacks on the party's state and national leaderships in both the social and traditional print and electronic media.
It stated: "Otti's Abia First was set up and equipped for the sole purpose of using it to display political force, harass party officers and create divisions in the party.
"It is also for the promotion of his selfish and personal political objectives against the interest of the party.
"Otti is hereby suspended indefinitely from the party with immediate effect, pending the hearing and determination of his case by a disciplinary committee to be set up by the party in the state."
The party urged the public and institutions to take note of the suspension "and desist forthwith from having any dealings with Mr Otti in any capacity as APGA member or representive in any capacity in Abia or elsewhere."
The party also announced the expulsion of Nkem Okoro, the chairman of a faction of the party loyal to Mr Otti, for alleged anti-party activities and breach of the party's constitution.
The party copied the National Working Committee of the party, Independent National Electral Commission and security agencies in the statement.
In a swift reaction, Ebere Uzoukwa, the Publicity Secretary of Mr Otti's faction of the party, dismissed the suspension as a nullity.
Mr Uzuokwa said Messrs Ehiemere and Onukwubiri lacked the legal power to suspend or expel any member of the party, having been allegedly replaced by the Mr Okoro-led executive that emerged during the party's state congress in June.