Gov Peter Obi Is Desperately Working To Destroy APGA, Says Dr Austin Ndigwe

Advertisement

 

Chief Victor Umeh, former APGA Chiarman
Chief Victor Umeh, former APGA Chiarman

 

Chief (Dr) Austin Ndigwe, a founding member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is the Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okorocha. He’s deeply pained by the current situation of things in the party, the merger and way forward.


Excerpts:

APGA crisis appear to be festering, how did it all began?

It’s obvious that Gov Peter Obi is the one fuelling the crisis because he wants to install his successor contrary to the minds and views of other members. Because the All progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh asked him to conduct Local Government election in the state, he then took offence against the chairman. Umeh’s concern was that the unfortunate posture has given his first party’s governor, Obi the disturbing posture as the worst governor in the country and the most anti-democratic governor nationwide to run two full terms totaling 8years without a single council election. He only uses and identifies with the party and her members just when it sooths his whims and caprices. It very unfair, undemocratic and anti-people. This is the only party we all see and relate with as our own. All should thank Prince Arthur Eze for salvaging the hope, image and aspirations of the Igbo man by funding the establishment of the party at a time when most of today’s champions were no where to be found.

Can you let us into the history of the party’s emergence?

Gov Obi is posing as a pioneer member of the party, but that is not true. We are the actual founders and its foundation members. I was there at the beginning and it was Prince Arthur Eze that funded the registration of the party. He also paid for the party’s national office at Abuja.

The formation preliminaries were carried out in Prince Eze’s Living room in Enugu. He not only paid for the party’s offices, he also took care of the personal expenses of its then chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie.

So when and how did things start falling apart?

I can rightly say that it was when people like Gove Obi who came in from the then All Peoples Party (APP), alongside Chief Akunwata Mike Kwentor joined the party without first understanding its vision and rudimentary mission in the nation’s polity for the Igbos.

It was Chekwas who brought him (Obi) to London to see Prince Eze in his hotel room. Obi then fall to his knees with two cartons of fruit juice, begging to be given the party’s nomination. But today, after two terms as governor of the state, now sees himself differently as a superstar. He has evidently forgotten yesterday and its history. He is now a champion without a past. The role of every other person has suddenly become irrelevant. And Umeh’s only sin was that he asked him to conduct the Local Government election and the governor got offended. And till date he has not held the election when other governors have had it up to four times in 8 years. This is very undemocratic.

Without the express intervention of Prince Eze, there wouldn’t have been any party called APGA, and Obi would not have had the party’s nomination. It was Chekwas who brought the party’s proposal to reflect the vision and identity of our late brother and leader, Chief M.I Okpara. The initial name was UPGA and the logo/symbol was the rising sun, similar to that of the defunct Biafra. These were then rejected by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) All the requested amendment were effected before it became APGA with a cock as its symbol today. It was Eze that brought the initial N2million for the registration needs.

Problems of Chekwas and his ouster

Chekwas started having problem with Ojukwu when Chekwas objected to having him as chairman and Ojukwu BOT chairman. That with such arrangement it would have almost robbed the party of its national appearance, spread and distribution of such key offices. Chekwas had favoured having a Northerner or South Western to occupy the position of BOT chairman. That was the moment Obi started rooting for his ouster. When they eventually succeeded, they put in Umeh which was later ratified. Today he do not want the same Umeh again or even to talk. The governor actually wants to run the state and APGA as a sole administrator where nobody speaks. Little wonder he’s busy handpicking only yes-yes members. He needs to be told that he need not kill the party before leaving. We also want to let him know that our party is not opposed to President Jonathan, FG or the PDP. He should remember it was the same Umeh that signed his nomination form two times. That he holds the record of being the only governor who recommends, appoints Ministers, Ambassadors and members of Boards and other such top jobs alone single handedly without recourse to anyone or even his party.

Merger

There is nothing wrong with it and we are still discussing and talking with other interested parties. We are involved in the general interest of the Igbos(South East). That was how Alliance for Democracy achieved the wonders of what you have today as Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN). Any articulate or discerning politician knows the south East cannot achieve our presidential ambition with only 2 states.

Way forward?

The entire Igbos are watching. Umeh is already on appeal and the matter may get to the Supreme Court. But whatever the outcome, the Igbos should retain their identity.

Okorocha/Obi’s relationship, do you see it as healthy?

They are not getting along well. It is a kind of cold shoulder relationship. I cannot call it robust all. Because it takes origin from a conflict of political interest. Rochas has interest to run for the Presidency, while Obi is interested to run as a running mate to whomever. They only put up plastic smiles in public.

Menakaya seem to be consolidating on the leadership of the party since the demise of Ikemba.

His meteoric rise and grip within the fold of those who do not want to give the party a national outlook is well acknowledged. Moreso this is a man who only joined APGA just the other day, in anger to take it out on the former President Olusegun Obasanjo for sacking him as a Minister. Today he is now grandstanding as the party Board of Trustees chairman. What a drama. I wonder if these people are spiting Ikemba in his grave with all these shocking disposition. The Ikemba had initially specially requested Dr Menakaya’s admission to assist him in running the party, but even at that, his tenure expired last month. So he has no business in the BOT of the party now at all.

But the picture was they are trying to reposition and refocus the party for the challenges ahead.

Yes any one can claim anything. You can see that the moment they got the Enugu High Court judgement they rushed to Abuja to hold a meeting. They claimed they were meeting to reform, restructure and repackage the party. For who? By who? Is it by the same National Executive Committee that was sacked by the court in a way that left every observer gobsmarked. These were irrespective of Umeh’s pending appeal against the judgment. Their actions unquestionably betrayed their impatience and intentions. Instead of being in a sober mood for chosing to drag the image, name and memory of our dear party and late leader to the mud through the current goings on in the party, the governor rushed to Abuja to organize a meeting where they appointed, Chief Maxi Okwu, someone who had been sacked from the party alongside Chekwas by a Supreme Court verdict, as the new chairman. At the same time Menakaya was appointed the chairman BOT. I don’t want to say that they are the governor’s lackeys. Obi is running the party as a personal kitchen. It is most unfortunate.

If in your view they do not mean well, what then would say they are driving at?

Their posture is vicious and they appear to be bent on destroying the party. Their aim is clear and very obvious. Okwu is not a member of our party. He is the national chairman of Citizens Progressives Party(CPP). So even if he joined today, he cannot become the chairman overnight. That is illegal.

So, what next for Chief Umeh?

His appeal will surely succeed. The court will give us judgment and redress the illegality Gov Obi and his group are foisting on all of us I am also in court to stop them, as Okwu has made moves to conduct convention of the party. He is not our member. With latest moves, it has become very obvious that the governor is the architect of the crises in APGA. It is unfortunate that some elected members of APGA attended the illegal meeting where they discussed the move. Am very sad these are happening less than a year after the demise of our leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here