Within the famed Igbo centric political party, APGA, once led by the revered Igbo leader ,Dim Emeka Ojukwu , there is an eruption of an ‘all out war’ that promises one definite outcome , ‘self destruction’. The way things are, one man holds the key to peace, and that one man is His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano who doubles as leader and BOT Chairman of the party. The Igbo nation looks up to him to show leadership. This is necessary to avoid losing the trust of the people. To accomplish this uncommon goal , Governor Obiano needs the wisdom of Solomon.
So far, the ‘war in APGA’ is so intense that all the opposition parties need do ahead of Anambra 2020 is to die laughing while factions of the party engage themselves in a duel of scorched earth politics and self assured mutual destruction. Without doubt the implosion of APGA which is upholding will be a comprehensive gain for the PDP led by former Governor Peter Obi or the young Turks in YPP led by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah who are waiting in the wings.
Why is APGA house on fire? The now widespread crisis within the party started with lack of internal democracy and the poverty of leadership which peaked in the last general election where the party leadership allowed corrupt practices to take over the conduct of its primaries in states across the South East. In Imo the National Chairman of the party got himself enmeshed in one of the worst political heist in recent memory. The allegations recorded against him ranged from fraud to direct fleecing of his fellow party members with a promise to give each and every one of his victims the APGA governorship ticket. Those with knowledge of this gaming said he took from all but delivered to none.
In the build up to 2015 general election, the party looked so much like the beautiful bride with too many suitors, and no fewer than twenty gubernatorial aspirants enlisted to contest for the Governorship election in Imo on the party’s ticket. Majority of the contenders left their former political parties and crossed over to APGA with the hope of participating in a free and fair primary. The very desperate ones saw APGA more like a vehicle that can take them to their avowed destination and not because they shared in the party’s ideology.
Indeed APGA was a consciousness and a movement that has the potential if well harnessed to turn the tide favorably in any election. This appeal is largely due to the renewed upsurge of neo Igbo nationalism. This at least was a probable possibility in 2015 as some of the aspirants tried to outdo one another with less conventional methods. In their desperation some of them became victims of unscrupulous party leaders. Today, candidates like Humphrey Anumudu, Okey Eze, Ikedi Ohakim and a host of others are accusing the national chairman of fleecing them financially and they want their money back.
The National Chairman, Chief Oye who is at the centre of this is not without his army of supporters. They have staged series of protests on his behalf with the singular objective of abusing and maligning Chief Umeh for raising the issue of his improprety. My question is ‘what more can Oye do to get a rebuke because so far all he has gotten is a salute?
The questions that should agitate our minds are whether Chief Victor Oye indeed abused his office by fleecing aspirants? Whether Oye should continue to be in office in the face of the weighty allegations against him assuming those allegations are true? Whether an investigation is necessary to determine Oye’s innocence or guilt? Whether Oye’s stay in office if he is guilty is in the interest of the party?
Every war has its casualties and so is the APGA war. An early victim is Chief Victor Umeh and his perceived loyalists. Umeh’s only sin was the audacity to bring Oye’s sins to the attention of the leader and BOT chairman.
Umeh was wrong to have believed himself that his former friend will use his good office to cause the party to investigate the allegations against the National Chairman as a way of saving the party.
Rather than investigate, and for a yet to be explained reasons the governor mobilized resources in support of Oye and ensured he is reelected for a second term in office. Why is the Governor enabling Oye? If nothing is done to hold him accountable, the party may never have another chance of redeeming itself or shake of the toga of fraud.
Chief Oye despite his feeble denial of all accusations against him is dong all within his power to turn his personal tragedy into a personality conflict between himself and Umeh, something Umeh has denied. Umeh insists he has no personal beef with Oye. His concern is about the future of the party and why the confidence of the people must be restored rather than be taken for granted
The governor is also not backing down on his support for Oye. Within his government he has embarked on a total cleansing of Umeh’s loyalist. Every single appointee with the slightest connection to me is being cut down for no offence other than being an Umeh recommended appointee leaving many to wonder why the governor is inserting himself into this needless petty politics.
Instead of this ‘all out war’, I for one will be expecting the party stakeholders to come together and find a way to resolve their issues. I don’t think dehumanization of the members of the party who speaks out, is right. I don’t think the way complaints emanating from Imo and Abia were handled is right; I don’t think silencing the voices that demand for accountability is right in democracy; I don’t think the party’s treatment of Ojukwu’s widow serves Ojukwu’s memory right; I don’t think persecution of people perceived to be Umeh’s loyalist is the right thing to do. I will expect the governor show restraint and put the house back in order.
Some wars are needless and this APGA war is one such needless war. I will hate to see APGA hopelessly implode. I want to see the party move from strength to strength rather than watch its legacy go up in smokes. The party can rule the state for the next 50 years if it takes the pulse of the people now. I believe this is possible if God is with us. I believe Governor Obiano as the leader of the party should be encouraged by those close to him to do more for peace to return to the party. He should put machinery in motion to constructively engage those that are aggrieved. Show deserving empathy to those that were recklessly fleeced. Ndi Imo in particular deserves the party’s apologies. Gov Obiano has a duty to put the party back on the right path and also to find decent accommodation for other Igbo other than Anambra within the party leadership.