By Azubuike Ubani
For the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), things have never been the same since it conducted its nomination and primary elections to elect those to represent it in different positions or political offices in the 2019 general elections. Other parties which went through the same processes are able, one way or the other, to manage their crises and at the same time, are strategising to face the real battle ahead. Their target: victory in the 2019 elections.
In APGA, what do we have? Certain individuals are distracting the leadership with criticisms. Consequently, the chief pilot or the captain of the ship cannot see the horizon clearly because of the fog of attacks from all corners. This ought not be so!
How did the whole crisis start? There have been outcries about how the nomination and primary elections were conducted across the country, especially in the southeast. The nominations and primary elections, many believed, were characterised by lack of transparency and bickerings, which have almost dragged the party, once regarded as the jewel of the east, into great disrepute.
At the centre of the attacks is the party Chairman, Chief Victor Oye amongst other party chieftains. Oye has been more at the receiving end of the attacks because of his position even though he might not have acted alone because there were several committees that took charge of different tasks at different stages..
While many approved the attacks on Chief Oye, based on the fact that he is the party chairman and should take responsibility for whatever happens to the party, good or bad, one of the founding members of APGA confirmed the continued media attacks on the National chairman of the party as a misplaced witch-hunt. The member added that it was strange that after the conclusion of the party’s primary election and the works of the part’s reconciliation committee in Imo and Anambra States, some people were bent on distracting the leadership.
The chieftain said he had not seen where people who purchased nomination forms to contest primary election demanded refund after losing the delegates’ nomination, accusing the aggrieved aspirants as enemies of the party. He, thus, argued that the direct attacks on the office of the national chairman were uncalled for.
The party chieftain who would not want his name to be mentioned or dragged into the media attacks, challenged whoever claimed to have any grouse against the chairman on the grounds of extortion to come with evidence or cease the unwarranted attacks. He said the reconciliation committee of the party that treated issues that arose from the primary election did a thorough job by addressing all concerns, but regretted that some people still wish to pull APGA down.
Some other staunch party members attributed the attacks on Chief Oye to his change mantra, and his humongous achievements in three and half years he has been in the saddle. While the party members see the attacks on Oye as simply ganging up against his possible second term aspiration, they advised that the chairman should not be thinking about that now. “We will rather want him to focus on making the party win election all over Nigeria in 2019,” the party chieftain reasoned.
It will be recalled that immediately after the primaries, the failed and aggrieved aspirants cried for their loss, and the party being humane, set up a reconciliatory committee to woo the aggrieved and unite everyone into one fold. Which other party was able to do.
Party watchers believe that if one considers what happened in both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), one would then confirm that APGA aspirants really had a fair deal; there were primaries in APGA and voting indeed took place. The problem with aggrieved APGA aspirants is that all of them want to either be declared winner or have their money refunded to them?
Members have argued that APGA lacks the funds to even conduct convention and has continued to be sustained by only one state. This trend, if continued, will affect the state treasury adversely and impair the party’s ability to grow. That is why the party leadership, in its astuteness, thought it wise to contrive many means of making money for the party to sustain it.
Even in view of all the complaints across the nation, APGA primaries seem fairer and more commendable compared to even the ruling APC and PDP. It is no more news that many states controlled by APC have yet to rectify their party primaries leading to many litigations and decampments from the party. It is also no more secret that APC did not conduct any primary election in Anambra State but already has INEC certified candidates for all elective posts in the state.
In as much as APGA should not emulate the bad examples, one thing to learn from these is that a party can pick its pieces from its ruins, instead of dwelling in destructive criticisms and pull-him-down syndrome, because at the end of the day, the fabrics of the party that will bear the brunt.
That’s why many are asking the former Nigerian diplomat, former beauty queen and widow of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, who lost the bid to contest for the senate under APGA to sheathe her sword and work for the party’s success and growth. Instead of pursuing criticisms and attacks against the leadership of the party in other to destroy it, Bianca who is the wife of the founder of the party, should see her role as that of a mother who beats her child for wrong doing and later draws the baby close. She should not throw away the baby with the bath water.
It’s quite amazing that our politicians still lack understanding of what is expected of them in becoming political gladiators; they ought to make themselves role models. Bianca Ojukwu should continue to see APGA as a political party that should be charting the cause of Ndigbo and how far they would fare during the 16 February and 2 March 2019 elections. In Anambra State, APGA under Chief Willie Obiano has indeed shown Ndi Igbo what dividends of democracy is all about by means of excellent leadership in both urban and rural areas. No doubt that Obiano has taken governance to the forgotten, the downtrodden, and the abused, hence the accolades have been pouring in for him. Party leaders should see how to sustain this tradition instead of truncating it as a result ofunnecessary squabbles. The bickerings must stop now definitely!