This is one article I was hesitant to write despite my conviction that I have an important message to convey to my people. My confusion stems from the fact that I don’t want to ruffle feathers or become part of the controversy.
As a person, I’m a big believer in hope.
But I’m also a big believer in reality, change and speaking truth to power. Hope that is not rooted in reality and truth will never lead to the change we need and desired. If per chance you don’t like things you see, you can’t just close your eyes and long for something better. You’ve got to open them, embrace reality, speak out and channel that hope into action knowing only the truth can set us free.
In directing this message, it’s my sincere hope that Ndigbo, the church, royal fathers, Ohanaeze, the political elites and members who are still loyal to APGA and those who have lost the nerve and patience to remain in the party because they feel cheated or because the party no longer represent them will take this one message, ‘Don’t give up!’ Those who don’t love the Igbo are still alive.
There were reasons why APGA was formed. Political parties exist to get a majority of people of like minds into office in other to get the things their members want accomplished. The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) was founded on the strong desire to found a political movement based on Igbo initiative. The overriding philosophy was ‘Onye aghala Nwanne ya’.
The founders led by Chief Chekwas Okorie, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, Maxi Okwu, Sir Victor Umeh, Onwuka Ukwa, Ralph Nwosu, HBC Ogboko, JSPC Nwokolo and a host of others were men who anticipated the future, when Igbo lives and businesses will once again come under threat hence they put their differences aside to midwife a political platform that will at all times advance the Igbo cause. I salute them for their vision and courage.Whatever we do, whatever are our differences, we must not allow APGA to die. ‘Afa Igbo ama nfu!’ We must not give up because the haters and persecutors of Ndi Igbo have not given up.
I have listened to strong calls by well placed individuals for APGA to be killed and for the formation of a new political platform that will actualise the Igbo dream.
I have also heard the arguments about APGA collapsing due to serial betrayals of its core values and there are litanies of such unjustified betrayals by benefactors who had made a bonfire of our collective dreams.
APGA may be declining, but I reject the notion that its case is irredeemable. There is nothing wrong with APGA that cannot be fixed with what is right with the reason why it came into existence. The mistakes that were made can be fixed if we are determined to fix them. The upcoming national convention of the party provides a great opportunity for a new beginning. Therefore, this is no time to be complacent but the time to demand change, equity and fairness which can only manifest because our conscience demand them.
APGA cannot become that shining path and dreams of our fathers by our merely wishing for it. We can only build and develop it with clear eyes, righteous ambition, and unwavering determination. When I appeal to those aggrieved not to be discouraged by the wrongdoings they have suffered individually or collectively, I’m asking them to be neither blind to, nor dismayed by reality — but motivated by it.
In 2021 APGA would have held power in Anambra State for solid sixteen years. In same 2021 the Anambra governorship election will come up, and that election is APGA’s to win or lose. Will the party consolidate its winning streak with ease or with struggle or will Governor Willie Obiano make history as the last APGA governor? God forbid!
Well, conventional wisdom will suggest that APGA can win the 2021 Anambra governorship election going by the good job the party has done in the state, but it will nevertheless be an uphill task. So much will relatively depend on if the party gets its up-coming convention right and how much it’s able to reconcile with aggrieved members and interest groups which forms its traditional support base.
One golden rule of politics is ‘do unto others as you would like them do unto you’. If APGA must remain party Ndigbo, it must find decent accommodation for other Igbo States. For instance, Anambra having held the position of National Chairman for fifteen years cannot morally hold on to the position at the exclusion of others without a justifiable reason.
It isn’t proper that the party formed by Ndigbo will become the sole property of Anambra people except we the people of Anambra truly feel in our hearts that our other brethrens are not being accommodated. APGA will lose nothing but gain everything if it uses the next convention to reignite Igbo unity by shopping for a competent and capable hand outside Anambra for the post of National Chairman. This is not too much of a sacrifice for us to make.
2019 was the worst in the party’s history. The fall out exposed a huge disconnect between the party and the people. The party posted poor performances in Imo, Abia and Anambra because party primaries were mismanaged coupled with the fact that the party leadership was unable to champion the Igbo narrative. It was disheartening finding our beloved APGA tagged and castigated as ‘Ndi wayo’. We failed our people and failed to accurately feel their pulse. We must now rebrand to shake off that toga off ‘Ndi wayo’ otherwise the stain and stench will be interred with APGA in its grave. God forbid!
The party by admission said it earned over N1.06BN through the sale of party forms for which Imo claimed it accounted for N600m, yet her over 250 aspirants were denied the benefit of a primary election. These APGA members whose political rights were violated are the traders and christians who were the traditional supporters of the party.
When we ask for the wholesale return of the current national executive, the question is why? Are we rewarding their bad behavior or good leadership? Though no one in the public domain is spotless when put under scrutiny, but the way things are, the perceived public number one enemy as far as APGA crisis is concerned is the National Chairman, Chief Victor Oye. He has been accused of all manner of infractions by aggrieved party members that I believe should not be dismissed with a wave of the hands. Steps must be taken to initiate genuine reconciliation.
At this point, I am appealing for the intervention of Governor Obiano as the leader of the party. I suggest that he takes steps to mend fences with the President of Ohanaeze. The Igbo party cannot be at logger heads with Ohanaeze. He should review his broken relationship with the Anglican Communion as well as solidify relationship with the Catholic Church. He should assuage the feelings of party members in Imo and Abia who feel justifiably cheated and taken for granted. Other states apart from Anambra need to have a sense of belonging in the party. He should initiate a positive rapport with Ojukwu’s widow. He should enlist the Obi of Onitsha to reach out to notable traditional rulers who are dissatisfied.
As the APGA leader, he should offer apologies on behalf of the party where necessary knowing genuine leaders always apologize when they are wrong and always feel better when they take actions to correct perceived mistakes.