Mr. Gbenga Aruleba
YOUR UNPROVOKED DENIGRATION OF THE UNITED PEOPLES GRAND ALLIANCE AND CHIEF CHEKWAS OKORIE, OUR NATIONAL CHAIRMAN MUST STOP.
On Friday 13th April, 2012, millions of viewers of the AIT programme FOCUS NIGERIA which you have the privilege of presenting were treated to a very robust discussion by a panel of enlightened and articulate Nigerians, on “Nigerian Political Parties and their ideologies.”
Out of the blues and totally out of sync with the flow of the discussion you launched into your usual pastime of Chekwas Okorie – bashing. You derisively referred to our National Chairman Chief Chekwas Okorie as one who lost out in the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and proceeded to form United Peoples Grand Alliance – UPGA with the same ideology as his former party, instead of joining one of the many political parties in existence. You could not be retrained even when one of the panelists reminded you that there was nothing wrong if Chief Chekwas Okorie and his political associates felt that they had value to add to the country’s democratic process by forming a separate political party in accordance with the laws of Nigeria.
It is part of our recent history that late Chief Obafemi Awolowo founded the Action Group – AG and the Unity Party of Nigeria – UPN at different times in Nigeria. Late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim also founded the Nigeria Peoples Party – NPP and later founded the Great Nigerian Peoples Party. – GNPP Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his associates formed the Alliance for Democracy – AD and when the leadership dispute in AD became protracted Asiwaju and his associates moved away to form what is now known as Action Congress of Nigeria – ACN. What is so strange or unprecedented about the political initiative of Chief Chekwas Okorie in forming UPGA with his political associates after he had founded APGA ten years earlier.
Mr. Aruleba, please note that section 223 (2) (b) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended states as follows “the members of the executive committee or other governing body of the political party shall be deemed to reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria only if the members thereof belong to different states not being less in number than two-thirds of all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”.
The simple implication of this provision is that neither Chief Chekwas Okorie by himself nor his family, geo-political zone or his Igbo race by themselves can meet this important Constitutional provision for the registration of a political party.
We do not know what we have done wrong to you to provoke you to malign a Political Association that is undergoing the process of registration at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We do not know why you must abuse the privilege of anchoring the FOCUS NIGERIA programme of an internationally reputable media platform like the AIT to launch an attack on UPGA and its leadership, except that you have carried your loyalty and sentiment for Victor Umeh too far. Victor Umeh had repeatedly told newsmen that he had directed INEC to refuse the registration of UPGA for reasons that have no bearing on the clear provisions of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act. Using the platform of AIT to assist Umeh in this manner is unprofessional and unethical.
The ideology of UPGA was summarized by our National Chairman at the unveiling of UPGA at a news Conference on Wednesday 28th March, 2012, in the following words “The ideology of UPGA is anchored on welfarism, liberalism and progressivism”.
There is no way you can compare and contrast the ideologies of UPGA and APGA unless you have the knowledge of the contents of the manifestoes, aims and objectives of the two parties. Above all where on earth is it an offence for two or more political parties to share similar ideological inclination in a multi party democracy.
Mr. Aruleba, please give UPGA a chance to chart its course in Nigeria’s political space. Chief Chekwas Okorie may have allowed you a field day to attack his person at will while the APGA leadership dispute lasted because he refused to descend to your level to join issues with you. He has high respect for the leadership/management of AIT, and would wish to maintain this cordial relationship with AIT. We wish to assure you that UPGA will not allow you such unrestrained latitude, to be reckless and rascally in matters that concern us. The next time you cross our part in such unprofessional manner as you did on Friday 13th April, 2012 we shall join issues with you publicly and prove to you that those who live in glass houses do not throw stones. Please respect yourself and the organization that pays your salaries and allowances.
Chief Ogbuehi Dike
National Publicity Secretary (UPGA)
1. Chairman AIT
2. Managing Director/CEO AIT
3. Director General National Broadcasting commission
4. Honourable Chairman, INEC