from Uzonna Ononye
Throughout the meetings and consultations held between 2002 and 2003 before APGA participated in its first election, the dream was to provide an alternative platform for the people of the South East to actualize, harness and realize their political dreams. At that point, producing the President was important but not so expedient. The party wanted to dominate the Igbo speaking part of the country and provide a voice that can reenact the pre-civil war leadership in the sociopolitical cum economic affairs of Nigeria.
With aggressive mobilization by the team led by Chief Chekwas Okorie, great Igbo minds were brought into the fold. One of such men was the face of Igboness, the man who dared to stand and be counted when it was a near suicide so to do. He saw tomorrow from yesterday, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. He left his party the APP to become APGA’s Presidential candidate in the 2003 elections. APGA did not do so well with 3.3% of total votes in its bag but no one complained as participating in that election was an achievement on its own.
But at the state level, the story was different. APGA shouted and screamed to high heavens claiming it has been rigged out of all the states it won. Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi; the song was the same. “they rigged this, we won, yes APGA won”. An ordinary observer will not have a problem aligning with this agitation because the party was not just popular but was at the verge of becoming a religion among the teeming population. Market women, civil servants, lettered and unlettered, civilized and crude, all were joined in the massive support for the new party that is symbolized by the cockerel.
Now, all the south eastern states complained but hardly persisted in seeking redress but for Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State. By the time the Court of Appeal ruled on March 15, 2006, with just two months to go to the third anniversary of the turbulent administration, that Dr. Chris Ngige who was the governor at the time stole the mandate, APGA took control of one state. It does not matter for this discussion whether or not the hand of the court was twisted in sacking the governor elected on the platform of the party that controlled the federal government. It was just important that APGA’s popularity could be showcased at least in one state.
Events surrounding the struggle for and the victory to occupy the government house in Awka came with a huge cost on the party. APGA never remained the same. Emergence of Chief Victor Umeh, a former National Treasurer of the party as the Interim National Chairman and later ratified began a journey through the mud which will leave everyone in a mess.
Fast forward 2012, Governor Peter Obi and his kinsman, National Chairman of APGA got on the wrong side of each other, and the wall crumbled. Gov. Obi went in search of someone who can be put in front and be accepted by the larger APGA family as a replacement for Umeh. Maxi Ukwu, a former Deputy National Chairman of the party but was suspended and later expelled from the party at the same period with the founding Chairman, Chekwas Okorie came handy.
After about one year of returning to the party’s leadership, the only people that have ripped the dividend are lawyers and propagandists. From the state high court to the federal, from the court of Appeal and driving towards the Supreme Court, it’s been long tale of litigations.
Last month, all the Anambra State representatives in the green chamber of the National Assembly elected on the platform of APGA dumped the party for the PDP. As I write this, one of the prominent figures of APGA and the visible leader of the party in Imo State, Chief Martin Agbaso is finalizing arrangement to decamp to the PDP and the list is growing.
As it stands, with about five months to another election, membership of the party are divided on who leads the way.
In concluding the beginning of this series, APGA is controlling one (Anambra) out of the five core Igbo States. PDP is in charge of three (Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu) whereas APC has inherited the government in one of the states (Imo).
If after more than ten years of its existence and participation in three general elections, APGA has not gone beyond Anambra state, how reasonable is it to say that APGA remains an IGBO party? Is there any hope of regaining its pride of place among the people of the rising sun? and in what condition will it be necessary to redefine the political viewpoint of Umu Igbo?