The national chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance, Victor Umeh, yesterday told the former minister of information and communication, Dora Akunyili, to be prepared to compete with other party aspirants who have indicated their intention to contest the senatorial election in the Anambra Central Senatorial District. Mr. Umeh stated this at the party national secretariat in Abuja where Mrs. Akunyili went to purchase the nomination forms. A form costs N3.5 million.
The national chairman noted that although the entry of the former minister into the APGA would attracted attention and popularity to the party, the practice of internal democracy by the party would not guarantee her an automatic ticket.
“Your joining us today will add to our party,” he said. “All that you have been doing about rebranding, you will bring it to our party. We know that where you are leaving, they will not be happy but APGA is in your constituency.
This is a wise decision you have taken and we wish you well. Any party would love to have you. APGA is happy to have her seek the nomination of our party to serve. It is a great thing that this great woman that has served in various capacities quit her party to join us. You are welcome to our party. If not for internal democracy that is required, we would have been talking about other things. But we are going to give all of you an even playing ground. You have to compete with others who have declared their interest to contest the same position.”
The APGA boss described the party as a “mustard seed” which holds the core values of democracy in great respect, adding that its leadership has rebranded it.
Mrs. Akunyili said that she was happy that the party would not give her an automatic ticket to contest the election because, according to her, it would create anger and rancor. She, however, expressed hope that she would emerge the nominee during the primaries to contest the main election.
“I pray that by the grace of God, I will be the nominee to the senate,” she said. “If I don’t get it, I will support whoever gets it. Politics should not be a do-or-die affair. When people talk about winning, winning, winning all the time, it creates problems.”
Woman of the people
The former minister who was accompanied by a group of women dressed in the same attire as well as aides said if elected a senator, she would give the Anambra Central Senatorial District effective representation.
“They will be happy that their daughter is in the senate and they will get their dues from the federal government,” she said.
Mrs. Akunyili also assured listeners that she would help the party deepen internal democracy in Nigeria and in the West Africa sub-region. She said that she joined APGA because of the performance of Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State. But a possible opponent of Mrs. Akunyili for the senatorial ticket of the APGA, George Ibezimako Ozodinobi, has described her decision to run for senate on the APGA platform as nothing short of political prostitution and a betrayal of President Goodluck Jonathan’s trust.
Mr. Ozodinobi, who represented the Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia federal constituency under APGA from 2003 to 2007, said in Awka that Mrs. Akunyili’s move portrayed her as politically unstable. He also said the former minister’s decision to leave Mr. Jonathan’s camp now could be viewed as an indication that the Igbo were not supporting him.