The fledgling crisis within the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA] with two major camps/factions resulting from the internal squalor has opened new battle fronts for the parties involved in the tussle for the soul of APGA. Information available to 247ureports.com through sources close to the activities at the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] indicates that the new party, United Progressive Party [UPP] has scaled the final evaluation by the INEC Board – against efforts to forestall the evaluation by the duo of Victor Umeh, the embattled chairman of APGA and Rochas Okorocha, the governor of Imo State. The information indicates that the ceremonial handover of certificate is expected to take place after the completion of the Edo gubernatorial elections of July 14, 2012.
The INEC Board gave its internal approval for the registration of the new party on Tuesday July 3, 2012.
According to information received, the formation and/or launch of the new political party, the UPP, believed to be the new Igbo party, is reported to have met obstacles within the leadership quarters of the embattled APGA – particularly the embattled chairman, Victor Umeh and the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha. The governor of Imo State is said to have been providing the financial resources to the embattled party in exchange for the control of the party –including the national executive council and the national working committee. It is through Gov Okorocha’s effort to become the paramount leader of the party the crisis within the APGA began and spilt into other arenas.
Okorocha’s need to become the paramount leader of APGA stems out of the aspirations to become a presidential candidate on the platform of APGA, the Ojukwu party – and by extension – the Igbo party – thus propelling him to the prime Igbo candidate for presidency at the 2015polls. And so the effort of Chekwas Okorie and his team appears contradictory to the aspirations of the governor of Imo State and his cohorts.
On the first level, when the Chekwas Okorie group first announced the formation of the United Peoples Grand Alliance [UPGA], amidst the overwhelming ovation, the Rochas Okorocha group cried foul and propelled the embattled chairman of the APGA to pen a petition to the INEC against the formation. Along with the petition, authoritative sources revealed to 247ureports.com that the sum of N60million was made available by the governor of Imo State to three  top officials of the INEC – namely Alhaji Kalkama [top secretary at the INEC], Barrister Bawa [Legal Secretary] and Regina Omo’Agege [director political party monitoring]. These top officials were said to be among those to provide an evaluation on whether to approve the registration of the party. As expected, the registration failed. The reason given for the denial of registration was that the logo [the rising son] of the party was anti-Nigerian and that the sound of the new party may confuse some people – due to its similarity to the sound of APGA.
The leadership of the Chekwas Okorie group sought it unwise to sue the INEC against its refusal to register the new party – and instead decided on the formation of a new party that will address the issues raised by the INEC. And so UPP was born. But recent actions by the Rochas Okorocha group suggest the group is still on the hunt against the formation of a new Igbo party. Available information indicates an additional N100million has been disbursed by the governor of Imo State to the embattled chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh for the lobbying of directors within the INEC against the successful registration of the new party, the UPP.
As a caveat, it is normally the group of directors within the INEC that perform the evaluation of new would-be parties or parties seeking to be registered as a political party with INEC. The evaluation report would then be submitted to the INEC board – which would normally accede to the recommendations of the directors.
But the INEC Board, for reason unclear to 247ureports.com, has decided to weigh into the evaluation report on UPP with a fine comb unlike it did during the evaluation of the UPGA. For this reason, the directors have become cautious to do the bidding of the Rochas Okorocha group – not minding the promise of a N100million pay day should they act to reject the new party.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Rochas Okorocha group, in their effort to mount the Igbo leadership platform forcibly, have formed an official group named the Committee 21 – with former Senator Annie Okonkwo as Chairman, former Senator Izunasor as Secretary, Victor Umeh as Publicity Secretary, Barrister Ziggy Azike as Legal Secretary, Rochas Okorocha as director of mobilization/contacts, and Pastor Ukpai as Spiritual Director. The objective of the group is to announce the governor of Imo State as the Igbo leader and leader of APGA. The announcement is expected to come in the month of July 2012. Sources indicate that following the announcement, Gov Rochas Okorocha will then step up to support the Victor Umeh faction of APGA.