BY ENYIM ENYIM
For almost 10 years now, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA has been enmeshed in intra-party leadership crises. In this interview, former Deputy National Chairman, South and one of the founding fathers of the party, Chief Onwuka Ukwa insists that all aggrieved members have been reconciled by the stakeholders group. Excerpts:
BARELY 11 months to the governorship election in Anambra State your party, APGA is still embroiled in crisis. How do you feel about the development?
I am happy to tell you that peace has returned to the party that has been ridiculed as a party in perpetual crisis for about eight years now. Finally before a critical political challenge in Anambra State, the party took a decision to reunite the party, create a political environment to meet the political challenge because we should be mindful of what history will record if an APGA government in Anambra fails to handover to an APGA governor in a few months time.
If we cannot meet this political challenge we will lose face with the people. If we fail to hand over to an APGA governor after Mr Peter Obi’s departure our people and history will not be kind to this administration. We risk living in memory of failure about his entire administration. It is therefore important that we must put our sword down, forget our personal grievances and unite under the leadership of Chief Victor Umeh to enable the party prepare and contest the forth coming governorship election.
But the chairman of Governor Peter Obi campaign organisation and uncle, Chief Sylvester Nwobu- Alor insists that no reconciliation has taken place in the party. What is the true position?
The critical issue and agenda confronting the party now is the Anambra State governorship election coming up in a few months time. It is therefore very strange that Nwobu Alor has failed to understand what his present personal combative posture will cause in Anambra State. Unless, of course he has a hidden agenda, the party and members are tired of this endless crisis and litigations that have rocked the party for many years. The party and younger members of the party expect Chief Nwobu Alor to use the advantage of his age to support the peace that has returned to the party.
What is your assessment of Governor Obi’s support for the party since he assumed office as governor?
APGA as a party has given so much to Gov. Peter Gregory Obi and his government The party has given the governor 10 years of support, all the party got back is abandonment by the governor. The party is completely locked out in Anambra State. It is no longer a secret that there is a grand design by the governor to collapse APGA in Anambra State after using the party for two tenures as a political platform. Governor Obi’s insistence through Nwobu Alor to generate fresh crisis in APGA is looking like a clear confirmation of this widely held view. The family representative of the governor should not issue statements on behalf of the party APGA.
What is your reaction Nwobu Alor’s push for restructuring of the party?
Those of us who originally raised the issue of restructuring and through the appropriate party organ are satisfied with the restructuring that has taken place and which is responsible for the recent success of the party: Two governors, a senator and about 10 members of the House of representatives and 34 state House of Assembly members.
What about issues surrounding Umeh’s tenure as national chairman of APGA?
Journalists should ask Chief Nwobu Alor to make public the communication from INEC on this matter. The political party supervising body clearly told him in writing, that there was a convention in Awka and INEC also witnessed the convention.
What about the stakeholder issue he raised?
I am surprised he is talking about court cases, when the focus should be on the fast approaching governorship election in Anambra State.The task should be who APGA candidate should be, the campaign and filing of the necessary papers with INEC. However, for clarification on the issue of stakeholders, Dr. Mic Adams is the recorgnised leader of the stakeholders and therefore competent to make decisions affecting the body.