APGA works to put its house in order
NWC members insist on national chairman’s exit
For the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), nothing could have dealt a major blow to the party than to allow last week’s crisis over the suspension of its National Chairman, Chief Victor Oye and two others from office.
Rising from the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Abuja, the leaders suspended Oye over alleged gross misconduct and constitutional breaches, explaining that their action was in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
Mr. Jerry Obasi, the party’s Deputy National Secretary, told Journalists that Oye was suspended alongside Deputy national chairman (North), Alhaji Abubakar Adamu and Deputy national Chairman (South), Chief Uchenna Okogbuo, over actions that were inimical to the growth of the party. He added that their suspension was necessary in order to save the party “from impending destruction and reposition it to greatness”. They reportedly fired Oye after majority of the members had voted against him. They had in turn appointed the national Vice chairman of the party, Ozo Nwabueze Okafor as the acting national Chairman. Okafor, a former national president of Association of Local governments of Nigeria (ALGON) was the Enugu East senatorial candidate of the party in the 2015 elections.
Oye was accused of not involving the NWC in the day to day running of the party, making electoral regulations and selection or nomination of candidates for elections among others.
But Oye fired back almost immediately to dismiss his suspension as rumour, describing those who took the action as “dissidents, saboteurs and enemies of the party.” He stated that he remained the national chairman of the party as there were procedures that must be followed which includes the convention of the party for his removal from office to be effective.
Apparently perturbed by the development, Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano summoned a meeting of the Board of Trustee members and stakeholders in Awka where a truce was reportedly brokered with members prevailed upon to bury their hatchet. Oye, who addressed reporters after the Awka meeting believed to have been attended by the immediate past national chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, Mrs. Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief Rommey Onwuka among others, said that the crisis had been resolved amicably.
Attributing the problem to greed, ignorance and overbearing attitude of some members who had been imagining things erroneously, he stated: “The rebels didn’t know the workings of the APGA Constitution. Even if you get the majority of the signatories of members of NWC of APGA, you can’t remove the national chairman. For you to remove me as the national Chairman of APGA, you need to call full national convention of APGA, to succeed. It’s not an easy task, but because of ignorance and greed six members of the party thought they could do it and went on a mission impossible. But everything has been resolved. We thank His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Anambra State for his intervention”.
Investigations by The Guardian revealed however that next year’s election in which Obiano will be seeking reelection for another four years term, the Anambra Central Senatorial election in which Umeh will be participating as well as the implication of a fresh crisis following what the party lost under Umeh when he literarily lived in courts fighting the course of the party, informed the decision to make peace quickly.
It was gathered that allowing the party go into a fresh round of crisis when it should be mobilizing towards the elections could work against it. They stated that the dynamics four years ago when Obiano won the election was different from the situation on ground presently, stressing that the emphasis was not to lose the only state where APGA controls executive
Besides, the meeting agreed that the Anambra Central Senatorial election was crucial to the party as it was well positioned to win the Senatorial seat for the first time since its years of existence in the State.
Those behind the Awka armistice recalled the intensity of the battle over the soul of the party by Umeh (its founding former chairman), Chekwas Okorie, Chief Maxi Okwu, former governor Peter Obi and many others. They noted the plot to ‘kill APGA’ especially in the South East, stressing that while the problem lasted, the party was distracted and disorganized from her focus.
A source at the meeting said that Obiano told the members that APGA may go into extinction should anything unsettle it now, and that members should rather concentrate on how to deliver the party in the coming elections and consolidate on its victory.
The source claimed that the governor was not comfortable that certain members of the party could go out of their way to announce the suspension of the national chairman without efforts to find amicable resolution of the issues at state internally. What is not certain is whether the peace overture would be honoured and sustained. This is going by feelers from those Oye described as “dissidents” that masterminded his suspension, which suggested that they were yet to be appeased.
Sources close to them maintained that one of the conditions they gave for the peace overtures to be effective was for Oye to quit office to make way for someone who could effectively pilot the affairs of the party, as they insisted that “he does not have the required experience”.
“We all attended the governor’s meeting on Tuesday evening because of our respect for the governor as the leader and BOT chairman of the party. We rejected their food, hotel accommodation and money. We told the governor pointblank that Victor Oye can no longer lead us. His suspension subsists. So what he told you people is a lie. Oye must leave APGA. If the governor insists that the National chairman of APGA must come from Anambra state, he should look for a credible person from the state, but for Oye, the game is over for him,” one of those who attended the meeting asserted.
Another member of the party told The Guardian on the condition of anonymity that “We deliberately kept quite over the peace overtures because Oye apologized on his knees. However, what we find disgusting is the fact that he has chosen to continue to address members of the
NWC as rebels and greedy men and with all manner of insults. That won’t be taken because we felt we could give the governor the benefit of doubt.
“Oye lacks the requisite experience to lead this party. He has not gone beyond Awka since he assumed office. He has run the party as a personal estate and kitchen; lacking transparency, cohesion, coordination and teamwork. He either lacks the ability or is an outright incorrigible person, having been serially cautioned before now, without change,” he said.
He explained that there was no reason for the party to continue to be reckoned as “minor” in the country, especially with all litigations that threatened its existence cleared before the immediate past administration of Umeh elapsed last year.
To him, “We have constituted our leadership and what every member expects is that they should hit the ground running. There should be mobilization all round. This party is not an Anambra party that should exist only in name in other states. We really need to make electoral impacts to justify our being reckoned as a political party”.
Chief Uzochukwu Ogbonna, a chieftain of the party however, appealed for calm. He argued that sustaining the crisis would send wrong signals that members were incapable of managing their affairs.
He said: “For many years, APGA was the issue in Nigeria. We were moving from court to court to ensure that we remained a political party. It started as soon as the party was registered and it participated in her very first election in Nigeria. The victory we got in Anambra through Peter Obi was being denied and the leaders met to salvage the situation, which claimed the leadership of our first national chairman.
“We fought through the courts and recovered Obi’s electoral victory. But that did not restore peace to the party as the issue of the legitimate national chairman continued. Today, we have moved from that ugly history to another phase. I think it is time to work together for once and achieve the electoral fortunes that belie us as a political party.
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