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BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF APGA: I am the legitimate National Chairman — Njoku

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Chief Edozie Njoku was elected as the National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Owerri, last year, but was stopped from assuming leadership by court injunctions.

In this interview, he speaks on the decision of the person, who instituted the suit leading to the injunction, Victor Oye, to discontinue his case. Njoku also speaks on his plans to rebuild the party.

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

Last week, it was reported that you have returned as the National Chairman of APGA. Can you tell us what transpired?

APGA conducted two parallel conventions.  One was done in Owerri and another one held in Awka. APGA agreed to hold the convention in Owerri on May 31, 2019. This decision was made in 2018. Congresses took place in May. The results of the congresses nationwide were completely against Oye. He decided to schedule an emergency National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting. They excluded many BoT members like Bianca Ojukwu and Chief Victor Umeh. After the convention in Owerri, Oye’s tenure should have ended on June 6, but on June 5, he filed a case in Abuja to restrain me from carrying out my functions as  national chairman.

Did you win at the convention?

I won and emerged as the national chairman. At the convention, we had legitimate delegates. Why did he obtain an injunction that I should not be recognised? He withdrew the case when he saw he could not substantiate his claim. Didn’t he know  I am now the legitimate national chairman of APGA when he withdrew the case?

Have you met with Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and what are they saying?

This thing just happened last Thursday. We would write to them.

READ ALSO: Imo Supreme Court Judgment: Group calls for peace

What about some other stakeholders of the party? Are they aware?

All the stakeholders of the party believed that justice would prevail and we are glad the controversy is over now.

APGA is controlling only one state, Anambra. Has the governor also been put on notice?

The governor is the leader of the party. He is our BoT Chairman. A lot of discussions are ongoing. I wouldn’t like to speak about them.

You were quoted to have said that you would bring back all who left the party. How do you intend to achieve that?

I said I would ensure those who left return to the party.

I mentioned the name of Ugo Agbala as an example. He is from Enugu State. Someone asked if I would work to bring back Chekwas Okorie and I said yes. I don’t think the party treated him fairly. I haven’t had any discussion with Peter Obi. He is an old member of APGA. It would be very nice if he returns to the party as an old member. Let us conclude the work we started in APGA, but I think Peter Obi is quite comfortable in PDP.

Have you had a one-on-one with people like Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu?

Yes, we have had many discussions but she is not happy with so many things that happened. I don’t think she has any problem with the party. Her real grouse is about the person who paraded himself as the party chairman, who she considered incapable.

Do you think the judgement of the court or the lifting of those injunctions has actually gone down well with the other faction?

I think that because of the way Oye joined the party, he feels being the national chairman is a right. It is a privilege that should be given by members. If members of the party decide that they don’t want you or decide that they don’t want me to be their national chairman one of us should be honourable enough to give up that position. Whether he is happy or not, he should look at the way things are. You can’t force yourself on people.

Have you met with the members of your faction after the last court ruling?

Yes, we have been having meetings. We are actually touring all the zones starting from next week. In all the six geopolitical zones, national officers are going around to know what really is on the ground because we cannot really take anything for granted.

Talking about structures on the ground, most people feel APGA is as good as dead. They seem not to be happy with the relationship with the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC…

APGA is more or less a sleeping giant and it is unfortunate that we didn’t have the right leadership when people wanted to rebuild APGA. The party was not really formed just for the Igbo cause. It was formed for the marginalized. Wherever you find that you needed a platform to express yourself, APGA is the answer.

Isn’t the party subsumed in APC now?

No, it is not subsumed in APC. I don’t have any problem with parties merging or having an understanding, but it should be done with the blessing of the party faithful. A few people at the top just decided that they were going to support the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan. That was how APGA started supporting the PDP. It was also done in the Buhari era. Similarly, in this era, a few people just got up and decided to support the APC.

Does APGA stand a chance in future elections?

Every party stands a chance if the right thing is done. When you have no plan nothing will happen. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. We do not plan in APGA. We have to rebuild the party without sentiments. We should look for the best without sentiments and we will have a party that does primaries. If we succeed in doing that, many people who may want to join the PDP or APC will come to APGA.

Do you also subscribe to the idea that all election matters should be concluded before swearing-in?

I think it is a very good idea. For example, what happened in Imo State is going to affect the state because a lot of projects were actually awarded by former Governor Emeka Ihedioha. Now, what would happen to the projects? PDP members protested against the sack of Ihedioha as the governor of Imo State by the Supreme Court…

What happened was saddening. Ihedioha is my brother. One of the things I have always said is that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. PDP was there and benefitted from such an occurrence as well. We should learn to speak against anything that is wrong whether it favours us or not. We shouldn’t only talk when any development is against our interests.

Vanguard

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