Thursday, 11 June 2015

How APGA Could Rise to National Political Firmament

Okechukwu Onuegbu

The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) recently elected new officials to pilot the affairs of the party from wards to national levels for the next four years.

For the National Convention that produced replacement for Chief Victor Umeh, now immediate past National Chairman of the party, about 740 delegates from all part of the country converged at the popular Women Development Center, Awka, Anambra State for the election.

Ever since the year 2015 began, lobbying has been on over who will succeed Chief Umeh, whose tenure ended on 10th June,  as some argued that for equity and justice sake, the office of APGA’s national chairman should relocate to the north or any other state rather than Anambra State which produced the outgoing National Chairman.

Likes of Gen Emmanuel Iheanacho, 2015 Imo State Governorship Candidate of APGA; Chief Austine Ndigwe and Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, public figures in Anambra, among others were reportedly jostling for support to take the position.

However, at the venue for the National Convention on June 5, Dr Victor Ikechukwu Oye, a former journalist and Speechwriter of former governor Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State was unanimously elected in a voice vote as APGA new National Chairman, while the former Minister of Information and candidate of the party in the 2015 gubernatorial poll at Nasarawa State, Mr. Labaran Maku emerged as National Secretary.

While Dr. Oye is from Anambra, Southeast; Maku hails from Nassarawa, North Central; yet both are Christians.

This was despite the fact that one Dara Joseph Davou obtained a court order at Federal High Court in Jos (suit number FHC/J/CS/101/2015) restraining INEC/APGA from conducting the election.

Amazingly, Capt. Iheanacho, Chief Ndigwe and Senator Igbeke, among other party chieftains said to have been nursing ambition for the number one position in APGA were absent, thereby showing that something might be wrong somewhere.

But although Dr Oye is largely seen as a greenhorn in politics and party management, sources said that the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Governor Willie Obiano was more comfortable with Oye who is largely seen as a candidate from Abia State, even though he hails from Anambra State.

This might be why applause and cheers heralded the venue while Oye’s name was mentioned, herein testifying his acceptance by all people in the party, and also other members of the new executives.

The chairman of the organizing committee, had earlier announced that the new members of the executives were those who met the requirements after procuring the forms of the party, completing and returning them.

In his acceptance speech, the new national chairman Oye said he has come to move the party from the point he met it to a higher height, even as he pledged his commitment to ensuring that the party will maintain its winning streak in litigations.

While assuring candidates of the party who were allegedly rigged out of the just concluded elections not to despair as his leadership will ensure that they pursue their cases in court and return their victory to the party, especially with the support of the BoT chairman of the party who has shown commitment to furthering its cause, Oye vowed to ensure that APGA take over the federal government in no distance time.

On his part, Governor Willie Obiano posited that the party is on the way to rebranding and will certainly move on to becoming the major opposition political party of the country having mustered courage from the last election where it performed creditably well.

Speaking earlier, Chief Umeh went down memory lane narrating how the party was formed, and all the travails it had undergone in the past, while thanking the members of the party who have remained steadfast, despite attempt by both Okorocha and Peter Obi to rock the boat after using it to attain success.

Umeh was of the view that no other political party can act as strong opposition exception of APGA.

The question now is “How would APGA become a major opposition political party in Nigeria political having conceded all its key positions to one tribe or religion?”

To political analysts, APGA’s journey to becoming strong or dominant opposition in Nigeria’s political firmament is at illusion for now having recently sworn-in National Executive Council and Board of Trustees which constituted of about 90% Southeasterners, mostly Anambra and 10% of Northerners, specifically northern Christians as if the party is Christian domicile.  

As announced at the convention, almost the newly ratified APGA Board of Trustees Members are from Anambra, including her National Chairman, National Treasurer, National Women Leader, National Youth Leader, Publicity Secretary, and National Organizing Secretary and others occupied by few Northern Christians.

This, analysts recalled, nearly plunged the All Progressive Congress (APC) into crises when it was rumoured that the party was about imposing Muslims as her both national officials and Presidential candidates from northern or western part of the country. Sequel to this, one of its founding members, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode resigned his position and decamped to PDP alleging that the then opposition party was “Islamic party” and propagator of “Islamic agendas” against his religion, Christianity.

Sensing an impending danger, the NEC of the party reportedly swung to action and at the end, likes of President Muhammadu Buhari became a Presidential candidate; Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, Vice President; while John Oyegun took mantle of the party’s leadership.

However, for APGA to become a true strong opposition at national politics, analysts enjoined the party to revalidate her identity in words and action, by changing her motoonye-aghana nwanneya” to Be your brothers/sisters keepers”, Igbo party anthem and others to English language, the country’s lingua franca, especially when in a meeting or convention involving people from other part of the country.

With this APGA would one day surmount her numerous challenges and climb to the zenith of national politics after all today’s ruling party, APC was once a bloody opposition.



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