Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and one of its founding members, Chief Onwuka Ukwa, who is aspiring for the national chairmanship, has emphasised the need to clean up the party and refocused it ahead of future elections.
Why do want to be APGA chairman?
My mission is very clear, short and direct. We have obvious leadership crisis in APGA, and I’m presenting myself as a peacemaker and a unifier, and I want to bring about justice, transparency and accountability to the party. My focus is service. We must not allow the legacy of the party, the good intention of the party, which has been lacking for a long time to die. I feel I’m in a very good position to reset, reunite and redirect and focus the party towards the path of a national political party, rather than an organisation that is sequestered in one state without vision and a clear political goal. To me, this is not in consonance with the vision of us the founding members of APGA.
APGA is embroiled in crises, how do you go about resolving them?
I have very good working relationship with party members across the country, be it in the North West, North East, North Central, South West, South South and even South East. Members of this party have very comfortable confidence and trust in me. Probably, I will leverage on that in setting out to unify the party and refocus it towards making it a national political party.
There are many contestants, what advantage do you have over the other candidates?
I believe in democracy, everyone is free to contest; they are qualified and people have a choice. I’m one of the foundation members of this party, I have been the second in command, that is, the deputy national chairman, and I have been a member of the Board of Trustees. I’m a national and international commentator on political affairs in this country and all over the world. So, I think, I have the experience, the vision and the capacity. I’m saying this with humility. It is a service I feel I can render to unify the party and develop it into a national political party.
After the party primaries, some politicians described APGA as a fraud; that the party is used to defraud Igbo people. What is your view on this?
That assertion is very widely held. I, for many years have been fighting the corruption and the method adopted in bringing about candidates to contest for elective offices in the party. That is the first area that I will visit to change the pattern that has been breeding this corruption. It is also one of the causes of the near collapse of the party as people no longer have any interest or confidence in the party. For instance, in the present administration, we are preparing for a convention, we have congresses coming up, but they are hiding forms from prospective candidates; nobody knows where they can obtain forms. I am one of the chairmanship aspirants, nobody knows where it is and it is not even mentioned in their advert. Also the cost of the form is not provided; everything is hidden as if we are running a secret society. They are saying it is only one man that is entitled to contest as the national chairman of the party; I’m talking about the current national chairman.
Unfortunately, Dr. Alex Otti, who contested the governorship election in Abia did express interest in contesting for the national chairmanship of the party, he was promptly suspended from the party. This is not how to conduct the affairs of a political party. It is against the rules of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and I’m calling on INEC to seriously look into the administration of APGA because everything they are doing is against the way a political party should be run.
The Legal department and the party monitoring unit of INEC must as a matter of urgency look into the affairs of APGA, because even the proposed congress is being arranged illegally.
For instance, on the May 14, what was termed National Executive Council (NEC) meeting was just a gathering of friends on a dining table of Government House in Awka, Anambra State. Only a few people, their own favourite party men were invited to attend the meeting, which was strictly by invitation and they called it NEC meeting. It was not APGA NEC meeting, but a gathering of friends at the governor’s dining table in Awka.
We want clearly stated rules of APGA NEC meeting to be applied and the composition of the members as it is clearly stated in APGA constitution. But it was not followed; therefore that NEC meeting was illegal; it was not a NEC meeting at all because they didn’t want people to participate and to state their cases. To that extent, the NEC meeting was a fraudulent one. And this is one thing we need to sort out first with the leader before any convention. I’m calling on INEC to investigate this matter.
Also, I intend to look into the fraudulent manner through which aspirants for elective offices were defrauded of funds running into millions. They collected millions from individuals and then set out to just appoint their favourite candidate that is not democracy. That is why people have lost confidence and they call our party, one chance party, the gathering of 419ners and swindlers. People call our party all sorts of names. I intend to change the image by setting up what I considered a clear, open, transparent administration, which is what we are going to run by God’s grace if I have the opportunity to render my service to the party as the national chairman.
Some political pundits have predicted that APGA will be history in Igbo land and Nigeria in general by 2023. How are you going to avert this if elected the national chairman?
That is why I’m stepping into the race to prevent that because the ways the party’s affair is being conducted is a pointer to the fact that it is determined to commit what I consider a political suicide, and as a father, I’m duty bound to prevent that from happening. Everything they are doing is against the political norm; everything they are doing is as if they are running their own private company. We didn’t form that party to be a private company and that is why I’m determined to prevent that political suicide that they are bent of committing.