Magnus Eze, Enugu and Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Wife of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Bianca, recently cried out that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was “dancing daintily into the twilight” and implored the leader of the party, Governor Willie Obiano not to allow the legacy of her husband, the Ezeigbo Gburugburu, which he spent his last years on earth nurturing, to crumble in his hands.
“Kindly do not avail history of the opportunity to record you as Overseer in Chief of the last APGA administration in Anambra State. The time to act is now, because APGA is dancing daintily into the twilight,” she urged the governor.
Indeed, the events that have ensued since May 31, 2019, when the party conducted two parallel conventions in Awka, Anambra State and Owerri, Imo State seem to have given credence to the fears expressed by Mrs Ojukwu in her treatise published on the back page of Daily Sun, a day before the party’s convention.
Presently, a segment of the party loyal to the Anambra governor, has re-elected Chief Victor Oye, as the national chairman of the party for another four years, while in Owerri, the former first national vice chairman (South) of the party; Chief Edozie Njoku, emerged a parallel chairman from a convention that was conducted by his own group.
Njoku in his post-election speech noted that the convention and his election came as a result of the nullification of the outcome of the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party held on April 14 in Awka, Anambra, by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The factional leader who blamed Oye for plunging the party into avoidable crisis through his various ant-party activities, pledged to reconcile all aggrieved members of the party.
Buttressing that all was not well with APGA, a chieftain of the party in Abia State, Prince Nnanna Ukaegbu, has warned that the party risks not fielding candidates in the 2021 Anambra governorship and the 2023 general elections if the stakeholders fail to rescue APGA from what he described as Oye’s visionless administration.
Ukaegbu alleged that the party under Oye had lost focus and, therefore, urged him to give way for a committed national chairman to restructure the party in line with the vision of its founders.
Like Njoku, Ukaegbu also insisted that it was high time the APGA national chairmanship position moved from Anambra to other states to make the party stronger.
“As at today, APGA is on the death bed, if nothing is done, the party risks not surviving the next few years. Victor Oye has ruined the party. There are agitations across the board that Oye must go to give the party a fresh air. All major stakeholders of APGA are up in arms against Oye. Virtually every member of the party doesn’t want Oye. The only person still supporting Oye is Gov. Willie Obiano. This means that Gov Obiano is now the undertaker for APGA.
Similarly, two other founding members of the party; Chief Sylvester Nwobualor and leader of the authentic APGA, Chief Jerry Obasi, said the conduct of parallel national convention and emergence of two factional leaderships in Awka and Owerri were ominous signs for the party.
Highlights of the Awka APGA convention was the retention of Obiano, as its BoT Chairman, while the party’s governorship candidate in the last election in Imo, Senator Ifeanyi Ararume also emerged a member of the BoT.
In a surprise move, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu Jnr, son of the late leader of the party, who had earlier moved to the All Progressives Congress (APC), was also named a member of the BOT.
Meanwhile, the factional national chairman, Oye of the party has described as unnecessary distractions moves by those against his administration.
He explained that the Awka convention was duly sanctioned by an Ibadan high court, even as he described Njoku, the Chairman who purportedly emerged in the Owerri convention as an “infiltrator”.
He warned that the party would not tolerate people, some of whom not members of APGA, causing crisis within the party, describing those behind the Owerri convention as charlatans.
The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice O. A. Musa had stopped the party’s National Convention scheduled for May 31, 2019, also nullified the ward, LGA and state congresses of the party held recently.
Ruling in an application brought by Nze Kennedy Anunobi and 12 others against APGA and two others, the court granted the orders as prayed by the claimants /applicants.
The judge warned all parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Meanwhile, another high court at Kwale, Delta State, in a suit filed by Alhaji Tayo Sowumi, Mic Adams and another, against APGA and INEC, nullified the NEC meeting held at the Gvernor’s Lodge Awka on May 15, 2019.
The court in granting an interim order stopped the execution of all decisions reached at the NEC meeting and restrained INEC from observing any activity of APGA emanating from the NEC meeting.
However, Oye told Sunday Sun that a high-powered delegation from INEC led by a National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonio Simbile and three other directors monitored the Awka convention.
The current crisis rocking the party began with the way and manner the last primaries of the party were conducted across the states, especially in the Southeast where many termed APGA a ‘Ponzi scheme’.
“There were cases where multiple certificates of return were issued to party candidates in the same constituencies. In several instances no primaries actually took place, and since so much money had been collected from so many aspirants, there was a dilemma as to who to deliver. APGA aspirants in Imo State were worst hit by this situation, which they were later to label a ‘ponzi scheme’.
“This resulted in a mass exodus of our party members and APGA in Imo State today lies in ruins. Sadly, we lost another golden opportunity of expanding our frontiers beyond Anambra State,” Mrs Ojukwu lamented.
She alleged that the script for the destruction of APGA was written by certain merchants within the party in cahoots with their hidden masters.
With the many battles of APGA, one certain thing in all of these is that the party’s future is beclouded by uncertainty, and stakeholders insisted that the signs were indeed ominous.