By Dennis Agbo
Chief Okechukwu Nkolagu was the Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Enugu state from where he rose to become a national officer of the party. In this interview, he traces the root cause of the present crisis in the party which he predicts may cause Governor Willie Obiano his second term nomination in APGA if the Governor does not arrest the situation now.
How did you become the National Vice Chairman of APGA for South East?
You know that Ike Oye was suspended from the party on October 5 2016 together with the then deputy national chairmen south and that of the North, respectively and the leadership fell on the national vice chairman south east, late Ozor Nwabueze Okafor. At that time I was the deputy financial secretary. When Nwabueze Okafor moved from his position to acting national chairman, I was appointed the national Vice chairman south east.
Was your appointment ratified by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party?
Every process was duly done.
Would it be correct to say that since it was a crisis period, all officials of the party were not prevy to your appointment?
You know that in our party, the NWC has the sole right to suspend and appoint, then there will be ratification by the National Executive Council, NEC, but the NEC has not really met up till now. Before any meeting of NEC, Nwabueze Okafor felt sick and subsequently died but the NWC had already appointed me on the acting capacity and that is where I am.
Now, as the party leader in the south east, what effort are you making to resolve the crisis so that the party can go for the Anambra governorship election?
You know the crisis started with Ike Oye violating our party constitution, ruling our party like a sole enterprise. The crisis we are facing in the party was caused by Oye and Oye was suspended and some people in the party have failed to recognize the suspension that is anchored on genuine and overall interest of the party. Rather, they began to support him because Oye is from their state. So the crisis revolves around his suspension and we have gone to court, yet these people have refused to allow the court process to be exhausted before taking decisions. So every effort we are making is to first of all get the party right and when we get it right, we can plan for the election ahead.
Who is the present national Chairman of APGA?
Before the demise of Ozor Nwabueze Okafor, Chief Martin Agbaso was appointed as the acting deputy national chairman, though in his absence but he acknowledged it.
Does that make him the acting national chairman since Okafore is late?
Obviously, he just ascended to it. That is the position of our constitution.
Since the Anambra Governor is going for reelection, who would sign his nomination, is it Oye or Agbaso?
To the best of my knowledge it should be Agbaso because any document signed by Oye is not valid, its null and void because Oye is suspended and the matter is still before a court of competent jurisdiction, so I have doubt on Oye not signing any document concerning Governor Obiano’s nomination. If he does that, it will be a big risk.
But Oye has been going around as the national chairman of the party?
That is his cup of tea. That will tell you the level of rascality in APGA. I have been in APGA since 2002 and I never met him before he became chairman.
So how did he become National Chairman?
It is still unknown to me but they said one person nominated him, maybe a Bishop or so but I don’t know. I can tell you with every sense of authority that from 2002 I have been a member of APGA till date and I never met Oye in APGA until he was appointed national chairman. So how Oye came and became a national chairman is unknown to me but when I asked they called the name of one Bishop as the man that nominated him to become the national chairman of APGA. The Bishop needs to counsel him because what Oye is doing in APGA is not helping the party.
Specifically, what are those things that Oye does in APGA that you have issues with him?
First and foremost, we had governorship elections in Edo, in Bayelsa, in Ondo and I can tell you that Oye in a phone call gave nominations of our party out without regard to NWC. Oye in a phone call sacks state chairmen without regard to the NWC. Oye in our meeting made us to believe that there is no point referring to our constitution. Oye was running APGA as his personal business.
Don’t you think that this may lead to a case like in Ondo state where because of party crisis, PDP was unable to produce substantive governorship candidate, few days to the election?
That is why Governor Obiano has to show leadership at this point. You don’t come to where people are quarreling and making allegations and you take side without considering all issues.
Who did Obiano take sides with?
Oye, of course!
Why has APGA been dominated by only Anambra politicians?
That’s what I am telling you. You were there when Chief Victor Umeh was APGA national chairman. After Umeh, there was Oye from the same senatorial zone. That was the first embarrassment APGA faced and you know APGA is a national party with its soul in the south east and we are losing it gradually and nothing is being done about it and that is why we are insisting that the leadership that fell on Chief Agbaso should be upheld. So for Obiano to take sides in the matter of NWC is in total disregard to genuine leadership of the party since he is the chairman of BOT and leader of the party.
Can you suggest how this problem can be resolved so that the party can go into Anambra election as one body?
Oye should resign and leave APGA alone, that is the only way that could be remedied in the party. He has to resign and go to where he was doing his business in Umuahia.