Nigeria: APGA – Swelling the Ranks!

Ojukwu_ikemba2Many images of what I wanted to be as a child conflicted with each other in my head. Topmost was a priest, then a lawyer, and then a soldier and I admired men of these professions greatly. Because I lived with my aunt at a place where we operated a provision store on the major road, I admired the bus drivers and conductors too. If not for any other thing, becoming one of them would afford me the opportunity of enjoying free ride from Enugu to Onitsha, the two greatest cities in my mind then. But I cannot remember whether my mind had for once had a flip of being a politician. Of course, as children, we did not know them as such. Though we admired their big cars whenever we saw them, the term politician was too amorphous. Politics is not profession. Though we also wanted to be the presidents of our country and the governors of our state, we never associated them with the noisy politicians we used to come across occasionally in their places of meetings.

Later in life, I came to realize one fact about politicians. They have neither permanent enemies nor friends. Note well that even the saints have at least one known enemy – the devil. But the politicians have no permanent enemies. Their greatest enemies turn into their best friends wherever and whenever their interests meet. This may be counted as good quality for them. It has to be noted too that it is only a harlot that has no permanent friend. Her business does not know friendship. It only knows money and she can open her laps to any man who strikes the highest bargain; thieves, kidnappers, house boys, tenants, landlords, chiefs, dwarfs, giants and anything that goes in trousers in so far as you have your money in hand. Sometimes, when the day becomes too dry for business, the harlot can settle for anything, even just a meal and you have your way into her. Recently, their business has been ‘improved’ to include dancing naked for money. They are as cheap as that. The politicians are not different. They can go to any extent to achieve what they want, including dancing naked around the market places and before fetish deities. They can worship both the devil and God simultaneously. Many a time, when they are in the church, it is just to show off and make their presence felt. Their minds are not in the worship of God, the Father but in their godfathers. It is not difficult for them to change positions. That is why it is folly to hold onto their words. An author said that they promise to build bridges where there are no rivers. The women politicians are said to be more dangerous.

Most recently, there is a deluge in the fortunes of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) especially in the South-East. Apart from Governor Obi’s winning of the February 6 Gubernatorial Election in Anambra state and his subsequent swearing-in for the second term, there seems to be a mass movement towards the party in the state. Two legislators in the Anambra House of Assembly have decamped from the PDP to APGA and one member of the House of Representatives is set to decamp from the PDP to APGA soonest. The arrangement is said to have been concluded. This does not include many other supporters of the major players who decamped with them.

A major break-through is in Abia State, where Governor Theodore Orji with his numerous supporters decamped from the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), the party in which he contested and won the Abia Gubernatorial polls in 2007 and joined the APGA. That was after an alleged protracted inclement political condition in the hands of his godfather and mentor, the former governor of Abia State and the Chairman Board of Trustees of PPA, Orji Uzor Kalu. It was said that the influence of the mother of the former governor, Mrs. Eunice Kalu, alias Mama Excellency, who with her son, was alleged to run the affairs of the party as a family business, became too much on the governor and he had to seek refuge elsewhere. He found APGA. Attempts had earlier been made to deny this rift between the governor and the Kalu family but the recent events exposed the fact. Another big fish that moved into APGA with Gov. Theodore Orji is Senator Uche Chukwumerije, one of the most respectable and vocal senators of Igbo extraction. This finally sealed the coffin of PPA in the country.
Also, the APGA came very close to clinching the governorship of Imo State on the 16th of July, 2010 through the Supreme Court judgment. However, the judgment went the side of Ikedi Ohakim, the incumbent governor of Imo State and a decampee from the PPA to the PDP. The Supreme Court ruled that the relief sought by the APGA candidate, Chief Martin Agbaso is basically an election petitions tribunal matter and cannot be entertained by the Apex Court. Though Chief Victor Umeh, the National Chairman of APGA accepted the verdict, he pointed out that both the Election Petitions Tribunal and the Appeal Court had earlier declined hearing on the matter. That was why they went to the High Court. However, he and his supporters must have been greatly consoled by the previous Supreme Court judgment that finally ratified the expulsion of Chekwas Okorie, the former Chairman of the party from the fold. The chairmanship tussle had lasted so long and nearly marred the chances of the party winning any elections. It was a big relief and a plus having it solved for the last time. You cannot win all the time.

In a desperate move to counter the movement of Gov. Orji and basically in frustration of seeing the house of PPA collapsing over his head, Orji Uzor Kalu returned to the PDP from which he decamped to form the PPA. Though the state chapter of the PDP has denied the ex-governor’s return to the party, his movement can be likened to that of the former vice-president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who, after a long battle with his boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, left the PDP and became a major factor in the Action Congress (AC), and later returned to the PDP against all expectations. Orji Kalu had a similar battle with Obasanjo and the PDP before he left the party. The politician has no bus stop and stories of such political flirtation abound. This puts a very fundamental question to the numerous parties in the country as regards their principles, manifestoes, aims and objectives. One finds out that the politicians have no clear vision of all these. They just want money, fame and power. The easiest way to achieve these is through political parties. Every other thing is mere story.

However, my focus remains on APGA as a party. Honestly, I fear for its soul. Many people have sought for a party that will grow from the ashes of the PDP and its tattered umbrella. But no party in the past and present has marched its ghoulish powers. It swallowed all of them and their remnants do not last long before they helplessly return to it on their knees to remain the rags for the masters’ shoes. One must note that initially the PDP did not set out to become the shark. Those who formed it had good intentions for the country. But it was made a monster by greed and avarice of infiltrators especially the money-bags who do not brook opposition. That was how it began to swallow other parties

Right now, I see such movement of infiltrators into APGA which may destroy it. It is true that politics is a game but good name is more than a game. It is life. It is greater than wealth. The Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Chairman, BOT of APGA, should know that it is better to have quality than quantity and that the party has done well is not because of its quantity but quality. I believe strongly that “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Yes. Politics is a game of numbers but not all numbers. It must be a good number. The new entrants into the party should be men and women who have in mind doing good for the people and not just those who need refugium peccatorum – refuge of sinners. Such people, when they get what they want, go their way. It has happened before. I always remember the words of my lecturer, Fr. Thaddeo Onoyima, that, “The recruitment of women is not the problem. The problem is management and control.” It is not all who seek membership into the party that will be accepted. There should be insistence on integrity of the intending members. Any follower of my works will know that my words may not have been accurate, but they have not failed. Beware! APGA, beware!!

Meanwhile, since Orji has found a twin brother in Obi, let the past stories of the stranglehold and god-fatherism in Abia State cease. The money that was allegedly used in maintaining one family can now be channeled to the provision of democracy dividends to the state. The APGA government can rewrite the political history of the south-east and make it the envy of other zones of the country. What it takes is the type of courage that Obi has exuded from the onset. Orji must learn this to do better as we expect the best from Obi.

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