The Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Uchenna Okogbuo, has said that contrary to belief in some quarters, the party would not miss the exit of the two-time governorship candidate of the party in Abia State, Dr Alex Otti.
Reacting to the decamping of Otti to the All Progressives Congress(APC), Chie Okogbuo said that rather than the exit being a blow to APGA, it will be a blessing as he believes that Otti has been like a virus to them.
In this interview, he also spoke on the crisis between Governor Willie Obiano and some traditional rulers in Anambra State, as well as on the 2023 presidential election. Excerpt:
How do you see the exit of Dr Alex Otti from APGA?
In Nigeria in particular and the world in general, hijacking and kidnapping are taken as heinous crimes that attract severe consequences. In this regard, if you want to hijack a structure, including a political structure, it is also seen in the same light as a crime and if the operators of the structure discover that you are a hijacker, they will punish you. So, Alex Otti is a political hijacker and the party long ago decided to punish him by removing him as a member of the Board of Trustees during the 2019 convention of the party. Alex Otti has been given APGA governorship tickets in two elections. But it was later that we realized that he has no political knowledge. This became clear to us in 2015 when the whole Abians voted for him, but because of his lack of political knowledge, he could not protect the votes and APGA lost the governorship which Abians gave to the party. In 2019, he went to Governor Obiano, his colleague in the bank and told him that he had learnt his political lessons and should be given another chance. APGA again gave him the governorship ticket and also spent a lot of money on him, including the sum of N50 million that was given to him. But instead of his chance brightening, it became worse from that of 2015 election. So, this simply means that he is over valuing himself politically to those who are celebrating him. So, I want to tell you that APGA lost nothing by his exit. In fact, we are even happy because he came to hijack the party with his Abia First Organization, but the party resisted him. How can somebody said that the exit of somebody that had already been sacked be a blow to the party?
But he said that he decamped with over 450,000 of his supporters?
Just ask yourself, if he has 450,000 supporters, why did he not win the governorship election in 2019? What he is doing is a very cheap political propaganda. He was hyping himself to where he is going so that they would think that he is relevant politically. The truth is that nobody in APGA left with him. Our people are still intact. We had a big outing in Obingwa in Abia State after his exit and members of our party came and pledged their support to the party. So, his exit is a good news to us because come 2023, we will raise formidable candidates that would wrestle power from PDP. Abians are strongly rooting for APGA. They have seen that PDP has nothing to offer them and that APC has no presence in Abia. So, APGA is the only viable alternative. Abians want to see what has been happening in Anambra State in the last 18 years to start happening in the state. Abians are not allergic to better life. They are not born to suffer. They want to see development in their infrastructure. They want their tax burdens to be reduced. They want their youths to be meaningfully engaged. You see that the latest unemployment statistics that was released by the nation’s Bureau of Statistics, that Anambra State has the least number of unemployed in the whole 36 states of the federation. This is something to be proud of which we want to replicate in the other states .While the other states are increasing taxation, Anambra State is reducing for its citizens. So, come 2023, we will get credible candidates that would run on APGA tickets in Abia and get good results for the party and the state which has been under the yoke of bad governance since the dawn of this democracy.
How do you see the crisis between Governor Obiano and some traditions rulers in his state?
Well, Chief Arthur Eze wanted to use some of the willing traditional rulers to play politics, which is not good for his image and the people of Anambra State. Another thing is that some of the traditional rulers don’t know the operational details of their office. Anambra State is not a Banana Republic. It is a state of rules and order. The governor is simply following the rules of engagement as the chief law officer of the state. There is process in everything. It is either you ship in or you ship out. No traditional ruler has the power to behave as he likes. There are consequences in every of our actions. Whoever does well would be commended and whoever did not do well would be cautioned or punished. That is how a state is governed if not there would be break down of law and order if not anarchy, there is nothing personal about that.
The call for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction is becoming louder by the day, how can it be realized?
Power is taken and never given. For a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction to be realistic, there must be a bargain chip. The question now is what is Ndigbo bringing to the table that would make the dream to come true? APC formed the central government because of the merger of the ACN, ANPP and CPC or simply put, an alliance of the Southwest and the North. Tinubu started from Alliance for Democracy to Action Congress. From Action Congress to Action Congress of Nigeria, that is from provincial to national politics. The only thing that Ndigbo has now is APGA and still they want it extinguished. Our people keep on deceiving themselves that they want to play national politics. Tinubu started from the region and moved to the centre. The only hope for Ndigbo is to embrace APGA, build it and present it as a unified party and then use it to negotiate for a Nigerian president of Igbo extraction. APC still want to continue in Aso Rock with a northern president and that was why they removed Adams Oshiomhole and replaced him with a serving governor from the North as acting national chairman. Ndigbo should see the hand writing on the wall and fall back home and use APGA as the umbrella to get a Nigeria president of Igbo extraction. If not the position would become a illusion that can only be pursued, but never achieved.