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What future for APGA without Ojukwu?

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
THE death of Dim Emeka Ojukwu is in the view of Mr.Sylvester Alor, Special Adviser to the Governor of Anambra State an opportunity for the restructuring of the Ikemba’s political legacy, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.

“Now that he has gone finally, I think it would be an opportunity for us to do something of honour so that the party that he helped to create cannot disappear into thin air. That is why we are now more hell-bent that the party survives as one of the legacies he left for us,” Alor, told Vanguard in a telephone interview.

It was a dig at the Victor Umeh national leadership by Alor who is special adviser on Motor Parks.

The assertion follows Alor’s recent castigation of the Umeh leadership which he had accused of a number of infractions and incapacity to translate the party’s large dose of goodwill into political success in the Southeast during the last general election.

Given its feat in winning back the governorship of Anambra State last year, APGA had been expected to consolidate on that victory to make a sweep of the National Assembly and state assembly seats during the 2011 general elections.

The party, however, was not able to translate that victory into a momentum as it could not pick any of the three Senate seats and managed only five out of eleven federal constituency seats and fifteen of the thirty state constituency seats in Anambra State.

Though it is unarguably the dominant party with the majority in the House of Assembly and in control of the governorship, the perception that the party could have done better was a general feeling among the party faithful across the country, especially in the Southeast.

The party’s standing as a one state party was nevertheless lifted with the remarkable victory in Imo where the party won the governorship and a Senate seat.

There is, however, the feeling that the party’s victory in Imo was largely credited to the effort of Owelle Rochas Okorocha, the party’s successful gubernatorial flag bearer in the state who waged a trenchant campaign against the PDP’s then incumbent, Ikedi Ohakim.

It was based on the assumptions of not too successful outing that Alor perhaps mounted his campaign to oust the Umeh leadership.

*Ojukwu... His image loomed large in APGA, Umeh...How far can he go?

Alor’s efforts have, however, gathered little steam as he has since been disowned by virtually every political stakeholder in the party.

The only support that has come the way of Alor has been from Onwuka Ukwa, the party’s erstwhile National Vice-Chairman (South) who was removed by the Umeh leadership, purportedly on account of inactivity.

Ukwa had sought to dissolve the Umeh leadership last September but his efforts were quickly repudiated by Umeh and his backers in the Southeast zone.

Umeh’s backers in the Southeast zone led by the party’s National Vice Chairman (Southeast), Chief Morgan Anyalechi, Zonal Secretary, Mr. James Alaka and Messrs Onapuragu Prince Ukaegbu, Comrade Jerry Obasi, Mr. Okechukwu Nkoloagu, Prince Cletus Nwaka and Chief Mike Kwentoh, Chairmen of the party in Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Anambra States respectively, repudiated Ukwa asserting that the party remained “intact and cohesive under the firm, accepted and popular control of Chief Victor Umeh.”

In their resolution they said: “The South East zone of APGA hereby dissociates itself from activities of the group led by Chief Onwuka Ukwa.  The purported dissolution of the National Working Committee of APGA and other APGA structures nationwide by the self-styled “Stakeholders” is laughable as there is no such thing authorized by the APGA constitution.

“The names paraded in the purported Interim National Executive Committee established by the group are non-members of our party. Indeed the said Hajiya Cengiz Rakad (named as interim National Chairman) was a member of Citizens Popular Party, CPP, and its Vice Presidential candidate in 2007 and later resigned midway during the elections to join the PDP. Chief Frank Orjiakor (appointed interim Deputy National Chairman South) is a lecturer at Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and a former National Organizing Secretary of CPP while Dr. Mic Adams was expelled at the National Convention of APGA in 2006 at Nike Lake Hotel Enugu. The other six members of the purported interim NEC are members of the defunct Chekwas Okorie’s faction of APGA.”

Umeh’s leadership of the party was further boosted by the volte face of Okorocha who had earlier moved to uproot the leadership of the Imo chapter of the party headed by Cletus Nwaka.

Okorocha it was alleged had sought to place his own men but had to reconcile himself with the Nwaka leadership which in any case championed his gubernatorial victory last April.

Remarkably, Governor Obi has also not inclined himself to the efforts of his special adviser, Alor and has continued to back the Umeh leadership.

Alor is, however, insistent on a change of leadership as he told Vanguard in a telephone interview that removing the Umeh leadership was the best way of preserving the legacy of Ojukwu in death.

Asked if he was not disappointed that he has not received the backing of strategic forces in the party, Alor said:

“Well, I am not disappointed, that is what it should be. We are asking for a system that would be legally attainable because if we start creating rival structures within the same political party it would lead to confusion. We want to use a method that would be totally legal and lawful and that takes time and we are working towards that and we are definite that we would achieve it and when that happens I think everybody would be happy.”

Ojukwu in his active days had been instrumental in resolving many of the internal party crises. His remarkable decision to swing recognition from the party’s founder, Chekwas Okorie to Umeh gave both legal and moral authority to the Umeh leadership.

Indeed erstwhile national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Maurice Iwu ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election in Anambra gave APGA’s electoral materials to Ojukwu as the national leader of the party for him to decide on who between Okorie and Umeh was his recognized chairman. Ojukwu in turn had passed over the election materials to Umeh.

Such was Ojukwu’s moral authority in APGA. With his soul gone the matter of what happens to his legacy as far as APGA is concerned could now turn into an issue.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.