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A new opposition party was formed in Nigeria on Wednesday; February 7th.It was formed through a merger of some political parties in the country. The political parties that make up the new so-called mega party include the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).The name of the new political party is All Progressives Congress (APC).Although Governor Okorocha of Imo State was present in the meeting where the birth of the new political party was unveiled, the role of APGA in the new party is still foggy. It is pertinent to state that some chieftains of the APGA have maintained that APGA did not plan to join any merger now. In the words of the Anambra State APGA  chieftain,DR. TIM Menakaya, :”APGA has not discussed anything about merger and those who linked  the name of APGA to the merger plan are speaking for themselves as APGA has not mandated anybody to speak for the party on any merger plan”.

It is distressing to note that some top members of APGA ventured into this merger plan without carrying all the stakeholders along. This precipitate action does not bode well for peace and stability in the APGA. In the case of Governor Okorocha, it was this same issue of joining the party through the backdoor that generated intense conflict between him and the State leaders of APGA in 2011.The festering crisis was promptly defused when the leader of the Party in ImoState, Chief Martin Agbaso(OCHUDO) backed down and reconciled with Owelle Okorocha. We are observing the merger issue with interest and it is hoped that soon some of the political bigwigs of the party in IMOState will be able to proffer the needed clarifications on the role of Imo State APGA in the formation of the mega merger, APC.

It is not possible for any meaningful analysis to be done on this issue until Governor Okorocha unravels his political agenda for 2015.The pertinent posers are whether Governor Okorocha is interested in running for a second term as governor or whether he prefers to run for a national ticket such as the Presidency, Vice Presidency and the like. Once he makes his intention known, it becomes easy to do a critique from an informed mind. However, in the absence of clarifications from the secretariat of APGA, Owerri or from Governor Okorocha, one can still make some reminiscences on the unfolding topic. In spite of whatever noise some people are making, the Constitution allows him to run for a second term. It is left for him to decide whether to run for a second tenure as governor or to move to the national level. If he decides to run for a second term as governor, then he does not need the merger to win the election. This is because the other parties in the so-called mega party are laggards that do not maintain any significant presence in IMOState. The 2015 Governorship race is a direct fight between the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and All Progressives Grand Alliance,(APGA).Whoever will emerge governor of Imo State in 2015 must come from one of these two political parties. To those who think they can become governor of ImoState in 2015 through the so-called mega party, I wish them well. I know of APGA;I know of PDP but this one they call “All Progressives Congress”(APC) is a new kid on the block and they should be watched for at least four years before being considered for the Douglas House in Imo State.Imo State is too sophisticated to be a political laboratory. I do not think that Imo People will hand over the Government House to a political party of doubtful integrity in 2015, more so, when such a party is bereft of impeccable antecedents .So, if Governor Okorocha is in the governorship race for a second term, he does not gain anything by joining the so-called mega party. The parties in the alliance will not give him any mileage in his quest for victory in 2015.

If he decides to run for the Presidency or Vice Presidency, he needs to take certain actions that may add value to his quest for ASO Rock. Even at that, the so-called mega party may not be the silver bullet or the magic wand that answereth all prayers. However, since President Jonathan appears interested to do a second tenure, Okorocha may join the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a leap of faith because when what is desirable is not acceptable, what is available becomes desirable. But he must not hustle to join the new party because he must take time to do a due diligence study on the new party in order to decide from an informed mind. He must be sure of what ticket he will be given in the 2015 election. Is he going to fly the presidential flag of the new party or the Vice Presidential flag? These things must be discussed and signed, sealed and delivered before he abdicates his choice position of governor to join the new party. As an incumbent governor who has a high probability of being re-elected, he should not be in a hurry to join the new party. Unlike those politicians who are stranded and have no job in the political ambience, he should not join the new party in a manner that will subject him to ridicule because in that new party there are demons and scorpions. All that glitters is not gold and salutation is not love. Some of the leaders of that party are there in order to amass wealth while some are there because they feel that they are born to rule Nigeria  and if they don’t rule, Nigeria must  disintergrate.They are misanthropes and desperadoes who want to embark on a campaign of vendetta and witch hunt, should they be become President.

However, my investigation reveals that the majority of the masses in ImoState would want Governor Okorocha to take a shot at the second tenure in order to successfully complete his numerous ongoing projects which crisscross all the 305 INEC wards in IMOState. It is self evident that these projects cannot be completed within his first tenure and whoever comes after him may abandon such projects and this will subject the masses to extreme suffering and hardship. Finally, I wish to remind Governor Okorocha to take judicial notice of the fact that his backbone in the APGA, Sir Victor Umeh, has been removed as National Chairman of APGA.As a result of this setback, Governor Okorocha must act with caution, and foresight lest the new leadership of APGA may impose sanctions on him and this may be deleterious to his 2015 agenda.

It is pertinent to remind the reader that an Enugu high court, on Friday(8th February,2013) removed Chief  Victor Umeh as the national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and ordered a fresh election to produce a new chairman.

A former chairman of the party, Udi chapter, Mr Jude Okuli, had filed a suit challenging Umeh’s chairmanship after the expiration of his tenure.

Counsel for Umeh, Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), had argued that the petitioner had been expelled from the party in 2006 for anti-party activities; violence and gross misconduct, and therefore, had no locus standi on the matter.

The court, presided over by the Enugu state Chief Judge, Justice Innocent Umezulike, described Umeh’s continued stay as chairman of the party as unconstitutional and illegal.

Umezulike said the judgment followed the expiration of Umeh’s tenure since December 2010, having taken office in 2006, according to the constitution of the party. So, in view of this development, Governor Okorocha must be vigilant and diligent in what decision he intends to make. No matter what decision he takes in the long run, Governor Okorocha must not leave the APGA in a lurch; he must leave the party stronger than he met it because there are many members of the electorate who are   emotionally attached to APGA.

If I were to advise Gov.Okorocha, I would have advised him to defect to PDP instead of the so-called Mega Party, that is, if he no longer wants to stick with APGA. In spite of the fact that PDP has been hijacked by corrupt politicians, Gov Okorocha is better off there than in the new party. He should not be discouraged by the noise of the motley group who visited ASO Rock recently to plead with President Jonathan to deliver them from the clutches of Okorocha. It is natural for rats to become panic-stricken if the cat that went on a voyage is home bound. How can President Jonathan who is struggling to solve his own interminable political problems be expected to resolve the political problems in IMOState. Fact is that no group of politicians in ImoState has the capacity to block Okorocha’s defection to PDP, more so, when the only statesman standing, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and several eminent PDP chieftains have been wooing Okorocha to come over to PDP. Those who are advising him not to defect to any other party are not realistic. As stated above, it depends on what he wants for himself in 2015. Carpet-crossing is recognized in our Constitution. For the umpteenth time, If he wants to do a second term as governor, his best option is to stick to APGA. If he is desperate for ASO ROCK in 2015, he may defect to the new party, All Progressives Congress, but he must cut a deal before joining the party, lest, they can mess him up. This is because the so-called new party (APC) is an old wine in new bottle; it’s a molue, a bolekeja vehicle which may not arrive safely to its destination. In fact, this APC is a dangerous APC drug which may not stand the rigorous scrutiny of a NAFDAC test. In my younger days, there was a popular tablet used to cure headache/migraine problems. A close look at the leadership of APC (Tlnubu and Buhari), shows that the head of the fish is rotten and it was the late M.K.O.Abiola who once said that “when the head of the fish is rotten, the whole fish is rotten”. The PDP should lobby to pull the like of Governor Fashola, Gov. Okorocha, Governor Adams Oshomhole and Gov. Peter Obi to PDP. In this way, most of us will begin to look in the direction of PDP and its much vaunted ambition of regaining the lost PDP States can be realistic. Perhaps, there is a need to state that in spite of the fact that PDP has been hijacked by “rogues and armed robbers”(thanks to OBJ), it is the only political party in Nigeria that was formed in the normal course of founding political parties. It can be redeemed; it can reinvent itself. In ImoState, some of the very bad and ineffective politicians who destroyed PDP are now moving to APC and this is good for peace and harmony in ImoState. Their movement to APC is a good riddance to rubbish and we can only say to them Bon Voyage. Governor Okorocha should think well before joining them. PDP is the only national and genuine political party in Nigeria, in spite of its real and perceive shortcomings. The CPC(Boko Haram Party) belongs to Buhari; the ACN(Yoruba party) belongs to Bola Tinubu while the founder of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie ,was pushed out of the party; it’s an Igbo Party. These parties are briefcase political parties but they are playing a crucial role. Without APGA, we would not have had Owelle Okorocha as Governor in 2011.

Resolving the Udenwa/Ararume Equation: Has Governor Okorocha given a thought to resolving the political Arithmetic of Achike Udenwa/Ararume equation in the APC?  Both are his major opponents in Imo State in the present dispensation. Have they reconciled? Is Senator Ararume willing to allow Governor Okorocha to pick the second term governorship ticket in APC in the 2015 governorship primaries? It is no longer a secret that Achike Udenwa is set to emerge as the National Chairman of APC.What does this portend to Governor Okorocha’s political agenda in 2015? Can Governor Okorocha who is a kinsman to Achike Udenwa be allowed to be a Vice /Presidential Candidate of APC IN 2015? This is not feasible. So, what is his reward in joining APC, if he will be disqualified from the two top offices at the national level? Both Chief Achike Udenwa and Governor Okorocha hail from Imo State and even from the same senatorial zone of IMO West (i.e. Orlu Zone).In the next few days some public commentators will begin to praise Governor Okorocha on his courage in joining APC.This is so because some of the viewpoints we read in our newspapers are shallow, puerile and bereft of any research. They are mere fiction/fairy tales which Ndigbo call AKUKO IFO or Ajambele. Such myopic commentators will encourage Okorocha to go on with the merger but they will not draw his attention to the banana peelings on the road.

All in all, if Governor Okorocha decides to move to APC, he can leave APGA to those who need it and do a leap of faith to join APC. In my perception, the APC is the veritable highway to political Armageddon and if he insists on joining the party, he must fasten his seat belt in order not to be humiliated. Alternatively, he should put on his live jackets to facilitate easy escape, in case of any emergency. Governor Okorocha should ensure that this mega party does not submerge his political agenda and even that of APGA .Senator Bola Tinubu and Muhammadu Buhari are two parallel lines that can never meet; they are mutually exclusive. When two captains are on a ship, the probability of a shipwreck is high. Again, it appears that the PAC is a highway to political Armageddon. But why are some APGA Chieftains in Imo State maintaining a conspiracy of silence on this mega merger?

John I Mgbe

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