By PETER OKUTU & CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA—A faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, led by Mseilla Massalla, weekend, disowned Imo State governor, Owella Rochas Okorocha, for joining the newly merged party, All Progressives Congress, APC, without consultation with other APGA members.
This came as Ebonyi State chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Alphonsus Nwali, lambasted Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and other stakeholders of the party over their decision to join the new merger without due consultation with the National Executive Committee, NEC, and other leaders of the party.
The party at a media briefing weekend in Abuja by its Board of Trustees, BoT member and former Minister of Health, Dr. Tim Menkaya, declared that for one of APGA governors to participate in a meeting where the merger of opposition parties was endorsed was ridiculous and unfortunate.
Dr. Menakaya, who said they were never invited, consulted or informed about any political parties merger, noted that “the issue of merger of political parties is a very serious matter that needs adequate consultations before a governor participates and makes public statement.”
Besides, the youth arm of the party also denied knowledge of any talks by APGA with other political parties towards merger, saying they read it on the pages of newspapers like other members of the party.
“We wish to make it clear that we have nothing against the state that All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, has never participated in any merger talk with any political party and is therefore not in the merger. We were never consulted by anybody before such statement of our involvement was issued,” Menakaya said.
Representing 13 top members of the party, including Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Chief, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, Mr. Chris Azubogu, Mr. Victor Nwogbo, Odi Nwosu, Frank Ogboewu and Prof. Dora Akinyuli, Mr. Chuma Nzeribe, among others, Dr. Menakaya declared that the party was not part of the position aired by 10 opposition governors, including Owelle Rochas Okorocha, after the Lagos meeting.
“The National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the party was held in July 2012 and various stakeholders’ meetings have equally been held in the last one year. In all these meetings, the issue of merger with other political parties was never discussed. For one of our governors to participate in a meeting where the merger of opposition parties was endorsed is ridiculous and unfortunate.
“The merger of political parties, where the parties are expected to lose their identities, cannot be an adhoc arrangement or a decision of one person. According to our constitution, the decision to initiate such discussion is vested in the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party and shall be verified by the National Convention.
“It is not an executive action, but purely a party matter. Even Section 84(3) of Electoral Act 2010 (as amend) expects that such must come through a special resolution passed by the National Convention of each of the political parties proposing the merger and the written resolutions of each of these parties, communicated to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through a letter jointly signed by the National Chairman, National Secretary and National Treasurer of each of the merging parties.”
Ebonyi party chairman slams Okorocha
Meanwhile, Ebonyi State chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Mr. Alphonsus Nwali, has lambasted Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and other stakeholders of the party over their decision to join the new merger without due consultation with the National Executive Committee, NEC and other leaders of the party.
Nwali, who stated this in a chat with Vanguard, reiterated that the party at the state level was not in consonance with the merger, adding that the issue was never discussed at both NEC and state levels of the party to warrant Governor Rochas Okorocha and others keying into the merger arrangement.
He said: “The only person who made this pronouncement is the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, who was part of the meeting of nine other governors some days ago. I think he is on his own over this issue of merger and whoever is identifying with that is equally on his own.
“Assuming there was any discussion in that regard, there is no how we will not be aware at the state level of the party. The move by Rochas Okorocha is a selfish move because if he is not selfish, he would have involved other key stakeholders of the party before opting for a merger. Has he discussed it with Governor Peter?
“Governor Obi of Anambra State who was elected on the platform of APGA? Peter obi has been in the party for many years now and he has not deemed it necessary to join the merger arrangement.”
Why will a governor that just joined the party within one or two years want to join the merger?”
It is simply because he wants his interest to be protected.
“When a political party is to go into merger, there are some processes that are involved and even the Electoral Act is clear on this.
“If you want to go into merger, there must be agreement within the party; there should be a NEC meeting where it will be discussed with all the leaders of the party and have an agreement and possibly involve the state chairmen of all the party nationwide, so that it will be known and at the end of the day, you come up with a committee. I think that was what ACN, ANPP and CPC did but you know there was nothing like that in APGA.
“So our stand is very clear on that. We have not had any agreement to merge with any political party now. There was no such discussion and there is nothing like merger within APGA.”