APGA, Which way?

apgaIn the early eighties, Sunny Okosun, the Ozziddi King, asked this all important question, “WHICH WAY NIGERIA?” in one of his popular tracks. Since then, no answer has been provided. Rather what we have been witnessing is a confirmation that the country has lost track and this is seen in its systematic decapitation by a cabal which has left it the way it is now; a giant only in name, recording fifty years of nationhood and hundred years of backwardness. From institutionalized corruption occasioned by a horrible leadership, we have degenerated to a stage where politics has become too lucrative a business and 25% of the country’s overhead budget is used to maintain the national assembly and everybody helplessly looks on. Even when the truth came to public notice, instead of falling on their fat bellies to apologize to the whole nation, the legislators had the effrontery of summoning Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Central Bank governor to force him to swallow his words. But their intimidation brought out the bravery in Sanusi. He stood his ground and with that, he became a hero. Today, this question has to be raised about the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and its latest wave of fortunes. This is not the first time I am raising issues about the party’s enormous fortunes which, if care is not taken, may turn to be its undoing. I do not feel bad about the party’s recent successes especially in Anambra State. By the way, one of the aims for the formation of APGA was to bring together the highly entrepreneurial Igbo people scattered all over the world under one political leadership as one people with one destiny. Another was to give Nigeria a qualitative leadership which the PDP has been unable to do over a decade now. We need such. No one can deny that in Nigeria, more often than not, parties are formed along tribal or regional lines. The west has the ACN which is now proving its mettle by reclaiming the gubernatorial seats stolen by the PDP especially in the south-west. The north has the ANPP which still fights hard to withstand the storm and threats of the PDP. The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is turning out a good alternative for the north should the ANPP fail to rise above board. The PDP cuts across all ethnic and tribal boundaries, bringing the majority of evil people under its umbrella. Recently, many politicians have been decamping to APGA. Apart from Theodore Orji of Abia’s brief sojourn in the party, APGA has received into its fold some new members like Chief Rochas Okorocha, Hon. Uche Ekwunife, member representing Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka Federal Constituency in the House of Reps; ex-Sen. Joy Emordi, Hon. Chinwe Nwaebili, member representing Ogbaru in the Anambra House of Assembly; Hon. Sylvester Okeke, member representing Anaocha II in the Anambra House of Assembly; Hon. Chukwuma Umeorji, member representing Aguata/Orumba North/Orumba South in the House of Reps, to mention but a few. Early December 2010, the rumour of Prof. Dora Akunyili resigning as minister of information to join APGA was rife. She was a major factor in PDP. At the fractionalization of the party in Anambra, Akunyili was said to have led one of the factions and her in-law, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo led one among others. This might be the genesis of their problems that later culminated in some fight between the two professors during the funeral of Akunyili’s sister who was also Soludo’s mother-in-law. The fight was a good topic for the media. On Wednesday, 15th December, 2010, the speculations of Akunyili joining APGA became a reality. The former Iron Lady of NAFDAC resigned from her office as minister, joined APGA and picked the form to contest the Anambra Central Senatorial seat. This means that if the eye-popping lady scales through in the primaries, she will have to slug it out with the senator currently representing the Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Annie Okonkwor of PDP. Again, if ex-governor Chris Ngige succumbs to the persuasions to go for the same seat under ACN, he may have to face Akunyili in the contest. The story has it that Akunyili is considered as one of the biggest catches of APGA and that leaders of the party are promising to leave no stone unturned to ensure she emerges, not just the party candidate, but victorious in the polls. If this dream materializes for Dora, it will add yet another leaf to her scarf. Apart from being a professor, she was the D-G of NAFDAC where she was at her best. She was later appointed a minister by the deceased president Yar’Adua and she retained that under President Goodluck Jonathan until her resignation. Her acceptance of the post of minister of information was against popular expectations because that ministry in the recent time has become the undoing of Igbos who handled it. Those who handled it failed. Dora was not different. Let us forget sentiments. Her rebranding project was a sham and she allowed herself to become a presidential canary singing beautiful tunes of bad scripts handed to her. Dora is now set to become a senator on the platform of APGA. Some are already saying she will do well being the only member of the Yar’Adua cabinet who could say the truth about his health when it mattered most. Some are of the view that that was a smart move to find favour with the incoming Jonathan’s administration. These may or may not be true. But from the look of things, it seems the Iron Lady has been infected by the aphrodisiacal effect of power that she now finds it difficult to leave its corridors and may have to fight to get it at all costs. The general feeling that the recent surge into APGA is not for the love of the party but for the love of power should not be treated with a wave of the hand. APGA must watch this! One problem the leaders of APGA may not have given a thought is that there are members of the party who have remained loyal to it especially in the dark days. Some of them have prepared to contest some posts under the party. But now, they may have to be violently shoved aside by the party to give room for the new entrants, who, from all indications stand against all that APGA stands for. Where then is justice and is that how to give the Igbos a voice? The influx of the new entrants will rather generate bad blood in the party which will add to the numerous problems it is just recovering from. Such has begun in earnest as the insinuation now is that the party is shrinking into a sectional party in Anambra. Why? It has been pointed out that three of the new entrants whom the party chieftains seem to have endorsed to contest some seats in the national assembly are connected to a particular local government and they are all women. Many of the party faithfuls now ask the question: Why this link to one local government? These are no small issues. How is APGA set to fight this? Many contend that most of the new entrants into APGA are just there to win elections and return to their mother-party, the PDP. It is true that Akunyili, in more than one forum, has allayed this fear by saying that she is in APGA to stay. Antecedents have shown that the PDP is not relenting in its efforts to make Nigeria a one-party state and to live up to the prophecy of its former chairman that the party will rule Nigeria for sixty years. It has this powerful charm that makes those that leave the party to crawl back on their knees begging for readmission. Atiku Abubakar did it. Orji Uzor Kalu did it. It was the same with Ikedi Ohakim and Theodre Orji. Andy Uba has also returned. It is widely held that it will not be different with Akunyili and co. The people further held that should they stay, APGA will be nothing less than a PDP extension. I see this too. If APGA will succumb to the PDP’s style of imposition of favoured candidates from above, where then lies the difference? I still have my fears if one reminds himself of Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell)’s Animal Farm where the animals labored to extricate themselves from the oppressive human rule. As soon as the animals took over, some animals became “more equal than others” and became more brutal than their ex-human masters. The oppression continued and climaxed in a feast where the animal-lords and human-lords were seen wining and dining together amidst a great noise. A friend of mine has pointed out that if care is not taken, there is a danger of APGA returning to its spew by being drawn to wine and dine with PDP lords of destruction, forgetting that it is meant to give the Igbo a voice and make a difference in the leadership of the country. The process may be a gradual destruction of APGA through infiltration. It is important that APGA recognizes this and exercise utmost care. Let us watch and see the result of its primaries on 6th January, 2011.

*Rev. Fr. Clement Muozoba writes from Awka, Anambra State. 07060843010

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