It is pertinent at this point to discuss some issues affecting our great party APGA. As a founding member of this party who has worked tirelessly to make sure that the party succeeds at all levels, I think I am compelled by circumstances to bare my mind on some sundry political issues affecting our party which need to be addressed no matter who ox is gored.
First, it is important that we should realise that APGA is not only a political party but a movement nurtured by grassroots orientation and ideology under the astute leadership of our great leader, Dim Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu.
The leadership of APGA is sacrosanct and reverent, therefore should not be sacrificed for political self-aggrandisement. However, anybody who aspires to deputise our great leader (Ikemba) because his shoes are too big for any living soul to wear, should first of all drink from the brooks of his wisdom because; he was brave without being brash, unassuming without being cunny, intelligent without being pedantic, wealthy without being aristocratic, firm without being rigid, charismatic, humble, patriotic, fearless, committed and easily accommodating. He served the rich, the poor, the powerful and the powerless. These qualities are usually earned and not bought or usurped through political machination.
It is therefore, politically naÃ¯ve and dangerous for any individual to suppose that he can just simply assume the leadership of APGA and fill the political vacuum left by the demise of our great leader without recourse to his magnetic persona.
Admittedly, Ikembaâ€™s name and image have been more than a â€œGoldmineâ€ for APGAâ€™s success and unapologetically we will continue to relish it to the fullest. Obviously, previous attempts to substitute his name and image have already proved to be disastrous and unacceptable to the grassroots.
In this connection, it is absurd and baffling that Governor Peter Obi who once said publicly that Ikemba could only be deputised has now claimed to be the leader of APGA and Board of Trustees, (BOT) Chairman. This is not tenable because the leadership of this party is sacrosanct and should not be toyed with by any individual.
As per the BOT chairmanship, the Governor is disqualified as a sitting Governor to hold that position by virtue of Article 25 of APGA constitution which forbids a serving governor, among others, from holding a dual position; both as a governor and a BOT Chairman. The choice is the governorâ€™s, either to resign as governor or wait until his term expires to contest for BOT chairmanship to enable him test his goodwill and popularity after he retires from office as a governor.
Surprisingly, now in the waning days of his administration, the governor who is widely known for his extreme frugality has suddenly become a spendthrift and born again philanthropist.
It is important to remind the governor that there is a clear distinction between public and private funds. Public funds are tax payersâ€™ funds and should be judiciously applied for public services whereas private funds may be used as the owner deems fit. Public and private funds cannot mix to avoid impropriety.
Consequently, it is untenable for an outgoing governor to award contracts and announce publicly that the funds are already lodged in the banks, thereby overreaching his successor. What are you implying? Was that the standard operating procedure of your administration for almost 8 years?
Agreeably, it is in the best interest of Anambra State to create employment and implement new projects. However, it is pertinent for Anambrarians to understand that it is not a mere coincidence that the governor has been in office for almost 8years without recognising the need for these new projects.
Incidentally, an outgoing governor should focus more on completing all the projects he had already embarked on.
Why wake up in the last minute of your administration to start employing workers and emptying the State treasury with these â€˜white elephantâ€™ projects making your successor look like a wastrel.
In retrospect, having worked closely with a transition committee, albeit on inter-party basis, it was really a period of taking stock of the outgoing administration for smooth transition to the incoming one and not a period to lay political landmines for your successor. Moreover, it is usually done on the basis of comity not comedy as being dramatised by the governor by brandishing checks in billions over the media for self-adulation.
However, the jury will decide after March 17 whether these actions were majestically courageous or extraordinarily cunning.
Inexplicably, the governor adduced different self-serving reasons for his failure to conduct local government elections for almost 8 years in office as encapsulated in the constitution. The truth is that the governor never wanted to conduct local government elections to empower the grassroots in order to maintain his firm grip on the funds accruing to the local governments in Anambra, which he perceives as his instrument of control.
I have always maintained that the idea of appointing caretaker chairmen or transition committee members as administrators in the local government areas is alien to our constitution. Moreover, the governor being one of the greatest beneficiaries of modern judicial activism in Nigeria should be in the forefront of upholding the law rather than offending it.
The question to the governor is, why now? Are you driven by strange political calculus and the ingenuity to be a shadow governor after you have left office or genuine sincerity of restoring democracy to the local government system after so many years? It does not take a rocket scientist to know that these actions are self-serving and preemptory.
Curiously, it will take talismanic ingenuity for any prudent person to dissect what is happening in Nnewi North Local Government, the hometown and resting place of our great leader, Ikemba, after January 11th 2014, local government elections. Inconceivably, out of the 21 local government areas, 20 have been declared in favour of APGA.
Every discerning APGA member should be left to his conjecture. But it is my own personal conviction to avoid equivocation and sycophancy that Nnewi North became a theatre of political absurdity and horse-trading where promises and counter-promises were made to the political fat cats and business moguls for personal aggrandisement.
Consequently, the promisor is now like a chameleon pinned against a rainbow. He does not know which color to be, but he is surreptitiously trying them all and waiting for the last second to choose the â€œjuiciestâ€ colour and escape unnoticed. This is really a shame and an affront to our great leader. It is a cynical attempt to undermine Ikembaâ€™s legacy and substitute the will of the people with a personal agenda.
Unfortunately, there have been several inexplicable reasons adduced why the Nnewi North Local Government election still remains inconclusive. The flimsiest of it all is that the acting Chairman, Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission (ANSIEC) has been sick. Following this line of reasoning simply means that if Prof. Jega becomes unavailable during the 2015 presidential election the whole process will be halted until he becomes available again. This is an illogical and unprecedented abuse of democratic process in Anambra State.
More importantly, people who have benefited from APGA should be more gracious and nuanced rather execute a grand design to orchestrate division and create disaffection in the party. APGA has been crisis-ridden for so many years now. Letâ€™s just look at the current crisis and examine it carefully. Chief Maxi Okwu did not express any interest in APGA leadership. Let the truth be told, it was the Governor who called and persuaded him to become chairman in order to fight Sir. Victor Umeh and when the latter won in court, he quickly switched side leaving the Party in crisis. Now, if actually he wanted to reconcile the parties, he would have called all the aggrieved parties together to reconcile them rather watch them fight in court and eventually join the winner. This is quite detrimental to APGA as a political party and the domino-effect of this action may have far-reaching political ramifications than the party would have ever imagined. But God forbid! We would overcome.
Metaphorically speaking, no reasonable person can set his family house on fire and watch it burn without making frantic efforts to extinguish it, unless there is a strong ulterior motive. It is sad that APGA gave you hope and opportunity and you want to leave the party with resentment and frustration as you prepare to leave office as a governor, let history be the judge.
Personally, I am not unmindful of the governorâ€™s distaste for constructive criticisms, but it is a risk one has to take in order to salvage our great party. Stylistically, he would not react to this honest dissemination of information, but his paid political operatives and attack dogs would do ferociously to justify their pay checks. However, these attack dogs should be reminded of this adage which encapsulates that he who rides on the back of a tiger will one day be compelled by circumstances to come down and the tiger will eventually devour him just like it did to others with impunity.
Finally, it is trite that our great party, APGA, is not only a party, but a movement anchored on grassroots mobilisation and ideology. However, this is a clarion call to all party members to continue to nurture that ideology to make APGA a party of opportunity and hope and not resentment and frustration as envisaged by our great leader Ikemba. We have always worked hard for Partyâ€™s success in any election and the last gubernatorial election in Anambra was not an exception. Letâ€™s us now close ranks and embellish this victory rather than by political misadventure truncate the collective efforts of our members who worked tirelessly and altruistically for this victory. It is not an exaggeration to say that our party has been badly bruised and battered by unwarranted conflicts. But as an optimist, with an unshakeable faith and hope in APGA, I believe that we can still unite to make it a stronger political party than we are today in Nigeria.