In Abia State, Mark Ugorji is one politician whose acceptability cuts across all party lines, right from his days in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Recently, he resolved to leave APGA for the All Progressives Congress (APC), for reasons which he made known to his supporters and people that thronged his country home in Okwu Olokoro.
In this interview, he also proffered solutions on how Ndigbo can get the presidency.
Why did you leave APGA to join APC?
I have come to find out that APGA is not national in nature, because it does not have what it takes to succeed in an election. So, I decided to join APC, to help build the party in Abia State as well as make our people realise what they have been missing by not belonging to that party in the elections that have been going on. APC is a national political party which all of us know and as I talk to you now, it is the only happening party we know. Some People have wrong impression about APC, using religion and ethnicity to identify it, but I have come to find out that it is not as some people think. APC is national. If one says that PDP is Igbo party, we still have Northerners and Yoruba who belong to it.
W hat do you think makes the difference in APC?
At least federal presence; it is high time we understood that voting APC will enable us enjoy most of the federal presence that are not there in our state. If we want to find out, we should look at the kind of projects that APC Government headed by President Muhhamadu Buhari is embarking upon in South East. Example is the second Niger bridge, which amazes people that go there. I happen to be part of that project, which is one of the major things that motivated, inspired and pushed me to join APC.
But it was former President Goodluck Jonathan that started the project; why are you giving the credit to President Buhari?
Yes, President Jonathan started the second Niger bridge project, but President Buhari has been releasing funds regularly to ensure that it becomes a reality and I can assure you that by next year, we would start using second Niger bridge. Anybody that doubts it should go there and see for himself. I am part of the second Niger bridge. If not for any other thing, that is why I have joined APC.
We observed that not only APGA members followed you to APC; what happened and how was it possible?
My followership in politics does not end in the party I identify with, but extends to other parties including the opposition; the reason being that I don’t play politics of exclusion as long as I find you genuine and real to the goal we are pursuing. The people of Abia needs a change and they are looking for a genuine person that can offer that change to them. Once they identify you, they follow you even when they have openly identified with other parties. Abians do not belong to only one party, but to various parties, but when they see a genuine character in party A, for instance, their membership of party B will not deter them to give their support. And in many cases, if they can afford to leave their party to be with you, they will do that. That is what you are witnessing here today; Abians from different political parties are identifying with one of their own, somebody they understand to be genuine.
What is the reason behind the development?
The reason is that in my own little ways, I have touched the lives of many, not minding their political platforms and what they are doing today is a show of love to one of their own, as you know about the age-long proverb that says that one good turn deserves another. I am a man of the people, one who does not shut my doors as it concerns touching lives. Those who followed me from other parties into APC are almost the same number of followers that left APGA with me. About 3000 and some fractions followed me from APGA to APC, and over 2000 followed me into APC from other parties. How else can one measure one’s acceptability to his people. My heart is gladdened at what has happened here today as I know that even those who did not cross over with me are strongly supportive of my goals, and will show that from their various parties when the time comes.
People love me a lot because of the spirit of God in me, I am a lover of men and God has used me to touch the lives of so many people. My mission on earth which I have realised is to serve God and humanity; most of the people that are following me know me that I am a man of my words. one who can affect the lives of others positively. People are yearning to have me in government because they know that if I am there, there would be positive changes in their lives.
Are you sure it is not too early to join the APC when activities of 2023 have not started?
I have joined the party now to enable me meet the standard requirement to run for an election, so that by 2023, I will be qualified to run for an election. I will keep working for the party, by bringing in more people and building the party in the state. I will advise Ndigbo to come into APC because it is the party that will give us what we want.
Why do you think that APC is the party that will make Ndigbo realise their dream?
I am not thinking so, I am believing so; Mr President is someone who has a listening ear. If Ndigbo can get themselves together and discuss with Mr President, as I have come to realise, he is not a difficult person, he is is a humble and quiet gentleman, who has that understanding that the Igbo should have it like other ethnic groups. Ndigbo should discuss and negotiate with powers that be and there is every likelihood that they will concede it to us and give us the support for the presidency in 2023. But we cannot be outside his party to ask for such favour and support; party politics is all about lobbying, give and take. That is why I am calling on Ndigbo to ignore the idea that APC is a Northern party.