- By Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), will hold it’s national convention on Saturday, May 13th, to elect officers that will lead the party in the coming years.
The convention, the first after several years of turbulence, infighting and backstabbing by members, against the party, as well as themselves, will provide an opportunity once again, for repositioning and, in fact moving APGA forward.
Founded about 1998, at the return to civil rule, as a uniting forum for Nigerians of progressive like minds, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, was thought to provide the needed home base for politicians of the South East, from where they would move to partner with colleagues and friends across the country for national activities.
After the first post military rule elections in 1999, with the party having teething problems, and with the known credibility of it’s then National Leader, Late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Cukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and founding National Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, prominent politicians within and outside the zone, identified with APGA, leading it to win it’s first governorship and some assembly seats in Anambra State. Some of it’s assembly candidates, were also successful in other States, with many contesting national elections on the party’s platform.
With it’s first duly elected Governorship candidate, Mr Peter Obi, surviving a civilian coup d’etat, through a tribunal verdict, from those who diverted his mandate to declare one of his opponents, Dr Chris Ngige, Governor, APGA, rose to win another governorship seat in Imo, in the person of Chief Rochas Okorocha, in 2011, though he later decamped to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Since, the Peter Obi days as Governor of Anambra State, the party had been having problems with it’s leadership, beginning at the national level, where Chief Chekwas Okorie, from Abia State, got pushed aside by some powerful clique, to “elect” a new Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, a situation that threatened the existence and spread of APGA, leading to it’s failure to assume a national spread.
The quarrels spread to the state chapters and became cogs in it’s, and in fact, the electorates’ optional desired alternative platforms for better governance. If one could count the number of cases taken to court by APGA members against one another, as well as against it’s leadership structures within the South East zone, they will number in their hundreds, if not thousands, over who is the authentic leader or elected candidate for certain elective positions.
APGA, according to pundits, in all it’s years of existence, has not had peace, and this had been a major problem on who to entrust governance with, though in Anambra State, it has successfully won the governorship and majority of House of Assembly positions, consecutively for about 17 years, with Obi, and Willie Obiano, taking 8 years (2 tenures) each, and now Charles Soludo, having his turn.
People, have also speculated, and accused certain prominent politicians in opposition parties, of sponsoring some members of the party to create problems and confusions that will hinder unity and charting a formidable course that will lead them to success.
In the wake of all these, and while people of the South East claim APGA, as their own “Indigenous Political Platform”, (Nke a bu Nke Anyi), and the (“Onye Aghala Nwanne Ya”), slogan, meaning, Be your brother’s Keeper, and also clamour for it’s being properly positioned and pampered to succeed, it seems that it’s members in Anambra State, are cashing in on the broohaha, to occupy it’s juicy leadership positions, and benefit from the authority and largest associated with such positions.
Having been founded by a man who felt Ndigbo must have a platform to express themselves nationally, and with the way he was stripped of the national chairmanship post, APGA, has a reason to return to the base, to restart if, actually it wants to get it right this time.
Anambra has had two national chairmen of the party in succession, in it’s 20 years plus of existence. It had Senator Victor Umeh, who has now decamped to the Labour Party (LP), with former Governor and LP Presidential Candidate in the February 25 presidential election, Mr Peter Obi. It also had four National leaders including, Late Ikemba Nnewi Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief Willie Obiano, and Dr Chukwuma Soludo, while top members of the State Executive Council (EXCO), occupied very senior positions in APGA National Working Committee (NWC).
As the party, is striving and angling to restart for a possible move away from the problems it it engrossed in, some school of thought suggest that it return to a glorious path by choosing a national executive that will be headed by one of it’s prominent members in Abia State, in view of the fact that many of them are tested successful hands in their various professional callings.
They posited that while having prominent politicians like the party’s outgoing Deputy National Chairman, South East, Chief Uchenna Okogbuo, governorship candidate in the just concluded poll in Abia State, Prof Greg Ibeh, renowned International Security Expert, Sir Chikwe Udensi, Major General Ijioma, a retired military top shot and Governorship aspirant, among others, Abia could lead the way in providing a leadership that will reconcile warring factions and move the party to it’s lost glories and beyond.
Another gain from the Abia angle, is that a prominent serving Senator, Chief Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, who left his former party, the PDP, where he was Minority leader in the Senate, and joined APGA, will be the only elected member of the Red Chamber Assembly in the name of APGA, in it’s 10th session.
A member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), who doesn’t want his name, told Daily Sun, that APGA, has gained tremendous growth and followership from the State, that it will be advisable to elect it’s next National Chairman from the State.
“We have come a long way, and have had a checkered history in intra party quarrels, a situation that undermined our growth and successes, as a major national party in Nigeria.”
“We are the third largest party in the country, with a national spread in all the six geopolitical zones, but quarrels, which we assume we’re being sponsored by our opponents in other parties, had dealt with us.”
“It is our belief that this time, we will surmount the problems and their sponsors, to forge ahead.”
A member who ran for the position of House of Representatives membership for Aba North and South Constituency, in the February 25 election, Chief Alex Ikwechegh, said multiple quarrels leading to lack of working together as a team, had been a bane on the party’s struggles to stamp it’s known legacies of good governance and quality representation in the national political space.
“APGA should not fail this time to elect good, articulate individuals, that will work with the people to reposition and move the party to it’s original winning ways, especially outside Anambra State.”
“As a national party, we must strive to spread out tentacles, towards accommodating people from other climes, and we have men in Abia, strong, with broad exposures to do this. What we need to do, is to support them.”
Another, APGA top shot, Chief Ubani Kalu Ukpai, said it was the desire of most leaders at Local Governments, and State levels, to resolve the quarrels that have retarded success and growth in the party.”
Ukpai, a Council Chairman and Zonal leader in Abia North, said, “with a successful Ward, Local Governments and State congresses, that went successful, Saturday’s National Convention, will also be conducted peacefully, with new men and women elected, to oversee APGA affairs in the coming years ahead.”
“We plead that the party concede the National Chairman position to Abia, which had been generally neutral in the squabbles that denied us winning many seats and loosing out in the last general elections.
Leave a Reply