APGA for sale?

By Valentine Amanze

 On Saturday June 22, 2002, when the founding father of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, led other officials to receive the party’s registeration certificate from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in an impressive ceremony at INEC Headquarters presided over by the late Dr. Abel Guobadia, the chairman of INEC at the time, it was highly celebrated in Igbo land.

  The event was unique because it laid the foundation of which Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu transformed into a full-blown Igbo political leader after six months in a party, which Ndigbo referred as their own.

  APGA no doubt became instant hit in the five states of Igbo land, when Ojukwu accepted to be its candidate for the 2003 presidential election.

  This took place at his No 4 Isiuzo Street residence, in Independence Layout, Enugu, in the presence of Justice Eze Ozobu (rtd), Dr Joe Nwaorgu, Prince Richard Ozobu, Chief H.B.C Ogboko and Chief Onwuka Ukwa.

  For the founding fathers, who converged on the Zodiac Hotel, Independence Layout Enugu on the December 26, 2002 world press conference that heralded the emergence of Dim Odumegwu-Ojukwu as APGA presidential candidate, the current leadership of the party has derailed.

  The good ideals of Ndigbo which the party stood for since inception had suddenly been thrown into gutters by visionless leadership.

 What happened in the party’s recent primaries in Anambra and Imo states was a pointer to the fact that the APGA leadership of Chief Victor Oye, with the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, as chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), is no longer interested in the growth of the platform that gave them popularity.

 Who would imagine that the wife of Ikemba Nnewi, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, would be denied Senatorial ticket by the party she campaigned for day and night to retain the governorship seat in Anambra State.

  When Bianca Ojukwu, who was Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Spain and a former beauty queen, indicated interest in the senatorial seat, most people were of the opinion that she would easily win the ticket, considering the fact that her late husband and the defunct Biafra warlord, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was the leader of APGA until his death. Since the death of her husband, Bianca has been associating with APGA and participating in all its activities. During last year’s governorship election, there was hardly any major political rally she did not attend and she always made powerful speeches.

 In fact, many political analysts were of the view that it was the influence of Ojukwu that made it possible for APGA to have the strong hold on Anambra State politics and they believe that one way to appreciate the late Ikemba’s contributions for the consistent excellent performance of APGA in the state, would be to allow his widow to take Ojukwu’s name to the Nigerian Senate.

  Some even argued that if it were in other climes, Ojukwu’s wife would have been given automatic ticket for any political position she was interested in. That was why there was excitement in some quarters when she showed interest in the Senate for Anambra South.

  However, this was not to be as another contestant for the seat, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, from Nnewi South Local Government Area, floored her during the primary that took place at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.

 In Imo State, the story was the same. Those who toiled day and night during the dark period of APGA were rejected and thrown into political Abyss by the national leadership of the party when it mattered most.

 APGA means more than a political party for Ndigbo.

 How would one explain the failure of Chief Okey Eze, Chief Frank Nneji, Daniel Kanu, and Chief Ike C Ibe to grab the APGA governorship ticket in Imo State. For the past eight years most of these APGA leaders had worked so hard to keep the party afloat after Chief Rochas Okorocha’s defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 Truth be told the declared winner of the ticket, Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, joined the party about a month ago from the APC after ending his romance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

 Which magic did he use to rally support of party members and leadership in less than one month he became APGA member?

 Already, APGA is in tethers in Imo and Anambra.

  In Imo State, other governorship aspirants have protested that no election took place, saying that the purported election was part of Araraume’s desperation for power.

  One of the  frontline aspirants, Uche Onyeagocha, said that Araraume’s plan to declare himself winner from a kangaroo governorship primary, was because of his rejection by the party faithful in the state.

 “His plan to declare himself after the kangaroo exercise was apparently to create more confusion in the party, having realised that he has been rejected by faithful of the party in the state.

  “This is the height of desperation, as all the governorship aspirants in the party have unanimously resolved to present a consensus candidate.”

  Another aspirant, Okey Ezeh, accused Araraume of trying to ‘‘tear the party apart because of his rabid desperation for power.

  “In his rabid desperation for power he wants to destroy the party and reenact the history for which he is known, a serial governorship aspirant in Imo State.’’

  In all these that are playing out in Anambra and Imo states, APGA leadership is to be blamed. Have they discarded the party’s constitution? When has the party become a rehabilitation centre for all comers? Who scrunised the gate crashers in Imo? Why did the party use and dump Bianca Ojukwu in Anambra State?

 If the current leadership of APGA continues with the trend, requim would soon be held for the party, which selfishly lost its opportunity to grab the five South-East states.

News Category: