From Magnus Eze, Awka
The crack in the ranks of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) loomed, yesterday, as Mrs Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the spiritual leader of the party, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was conspicuously absent at APGA’s governorship flag-off in Awka.
The party’s candidate, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and his running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Ibezim, were presented with the party flag at the event.
This is as Governor Willie Obiano, National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye, his predecessor, Senator Victor Umeh and others declared that Anambra State belonged to APGA. They insisted that no party can dislodge APGA in the November 6 election.
It was not immediately clear why Mrs Ojukwu, who was once described as APGA’s ‘missing rib’, and whose charismatic presence and fiery speeches in previous outings had electrified every APGA campaign venue, especially in the years following the demise of the Igbo hero, her husband, absented herself from the event.
By her action, it appears that the recent fence-mending effort by the Umeh-led Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the party had collapsed.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain had accused Governor Obiano of consistently dishonouring her late husband by not attending any memorial event held in honour of the acclaimed APGA leader.
Speaking to Sunday Sun, shortly after the Umeh Committee visited her Enugu residence some weeks ago, she stated that “it is an irony that today, Governor Obiano has gone back to his own vomit by resuscitating Dim Ojukwu’s pictures for use in campaigning for the upcoming elections in Anambra State. This is the height of opportunism and hypocrisy. Is Ojukwu not the same man Obiano once described as a dead man who was no longer relevant to the party? Why should I permit him to keep trampling on the legacy of my late husband who put his heart and soul into this party. Ojukwu should not be like a light switch to be turned on for party campaign and turned off once the election is won and the election season is over. Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu represents much more to his people and I owe it to his memory not to indulge in the perpetuation of this charade.”
She further complained that her request to the Umeh Committee that money fleeced from aspirants of the party in 2018 be returned to them while several aggrieved members should be assuaged, pointing out that the scandalous incident was seen as “organised robbery”.
Recently, Mrs Ojukwu had noted with dismay that the report of the Umeh-led Committee had been given scant consideration, and also cited the fact that there had been two previous Reconciliation Committees whose recommendations were never implemented.
In his speech at the event, Obiano said that Soludo would win the election very well because the party had in the past 15 years, especially the last seven and half years developed the state.
“We have only two choices in this election, to continue with the progress that we are making steadily or to go back to Egypt.”
He urged the Anambra electorate not to vote for people without clean records, but added that his predecessor, Peter Obi, did well though he did not leave any legacy project.
Umeh also said that APGA has served Anambra people well starting from the period of Obi.
He said: “So, it’s not just that we want to continue in office, but because we have served the people well, we have delivered.
“Anambra International Airport is a clincher for APGA. The governor has kept to his promises of 2017, since 2018. And because this is an election year, he has added the international airport.
“For those who said they will take Anambra by force, we are wondering how it will happen. APC can’t take over Anambra. They should face the centre and leave us here to do our thing.
“So, let everybody go to his ward for that is where the job is done.”
APGA National Chairman, Oye assured Anambra people that Soludo will turn the state to the Silicone of Africa, noting that he would do excellently well.
In his acceptance speech, Soludo pledged to make the state the destination of choice, building on the achievements of Obiano and Obi.
Soludo said: “APGA is running on a record of performance and hope. APGA has done very well for Ndi-Anambra and the people will not forget.
“We will contest for every vote. For those who are buying expired politicians, we are saying that Anambra is not Imo. The votes will count. People are saying they want to go to the centre, what an idiocy?”