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Crisis threatens APGA’s chances of retaining Anambra Governor's seat

By Emma Elekwa, Awka on 23/07/2017

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•APGA gladiators Oye and Agbaso.
•APGA gladiators Oye and Agbaso.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls only Anambra State which would hold its gubernatorial election in November this year. However, the party is entangled in a leadership tussle amidst stiff opposition from other parties which are planning to snatch its only fortune.

Out of the numerous registered political parties in Nigeria, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) by virtue of its position would comfortably be among the first team to be featured if it were to be in a football match competition.

Though the party as it were may not be the major opposition to the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in terms of numerical strength, it still has a say, especially in the South-Eastern part of the country.

The party’s firm grip of Anambra State, where it has consecutively held sway, has further attracted more patronage, particularly with the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

However, the crisis within the party, including the recent the court order of mandamus by an Enugu High Court under Justice J.B Ozoemena, which removed Ozor Victor Oye, as the National Chairman of the of the party, is now affecting its popularity.

Political observers have argued that the latest crisis might not have erupted if not for the forthcoming gubernatorial poll slated for November 18.

The National Secretary of the party and a former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, had during a recent working visit of the National Executive Council to the state, explained that the crisis in the party was not about the national chairmanship, but a ploy to wrestle power from the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano.

He described the Enugu judgment declaring Chief Martin Agbaso as substantive national chairman of the party as an attempt to destabilise the party ahead of the Anambra election.

He said Agbaso, who had never contested for any national position in the party, had no right to claim its leadership.

According to Maku, “Agbaso is simply using the social media to smuggle himself into the party in order to ensure defeat of Governor Obiano at the poll.”

He said the national leadership of the party had never been in contention, stressing that the embattled national chairman, Dr. Victor Oye and all other party officials were elected through a properly organised convention, duly monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other appropriate agencies.

While reaffirming Oye as its national chairman, as well as the support of the party to Governor Obiano, Maku maintained that the governor deserves a second term in view of the transformation the state has recorded under his administration.

Also, members of the National Executive Council of APGA, who were in Awka with Maku, unanimously disowned Chief Agbaso, saying they would have nothing to do with him.

The position of the party leadership was contained in a communiqué issued after a meeting with Oye and the 36 states’ and the FCT chairmen, signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Sir Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, insisting that Oye remained the party’s national chairman.

“To this end, we have resolved to support him in taking appropriate disciplinary sanctions against erring officers and members of the party in line with the provisions of the APGA constitution,” they said.

The party also condemned the activities of some expelled members, who were accused to have “clandestinely” deceived the High Court in Enugu to make spurious rulings against the leadership.

And despite the court order, the embattled Oye had repeatedly said he remains the authentic chairman, insisting that Agbaso is not a member of the party, and can only be treated as a stranger in the affairs of APGA.

According to Oye, Agbaso’s name cannot be found anywhere in the party’s register, including at his Emekuku Ward in Imo State.

On his part, Chief Agbaso accused the Anambra State Government of allegedly meddling in the party’s affairs and trying to intimidate the judiciary into reinstating Oye, who was allegedly sacked by the National Working Committee (NWC).

In a statement signed by the acting National Publicity Secretary, Nnanna Ukaegbu, Agbaso cautioned the judiciary against working with the government to counter the order of mandamus as contained in the Enugu High Court judgment from another court of concurrent jurisdiction, even as the matter was before the Court of Appeal in Enugu.

Agbaso, nevertheless, has also moved to woo party stakeholders who left the party under the previous leadership to return.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting with INEC, Agbaso disclosed that his team was ready to reorganise APGA and meet with all those who left, due to what he described as “poor leadership.”

According to him, a 21 day notice to conduct the party’s congress and primary for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State had been issued.

“Our congress and primary will be held on August 17 in Awka and we are prepared. I am synonymous with APGA, at a point, I left the party in protest to join the PDP, but I returned after just two months because APGA runs in my DNA and that is where I am deeply rooted.

“We have moved to reconcile with all APGA stakeholders, who left the party due to poor leadership. We have lost a great deal of our members. So I am going to meet with the likes of our former governor, Peter Obi, Uche Ekwunife, Captain Iheanacho and many others, who left due to poor leadership that also made me to leave in 2015. I am asking them to return to the home that we built together,” Agbaso said.

He also dispelled speculations that he was bent on frustrating the chances of Governor Obiano’s re-election, saying the governor is an asset to the party.

“On the Anambra election, our party is deeply rooted in internal democracy. There is no truth in the claims that our emergence will be against our governor, Willie Obiano.

“How can you work to stop a sitting governor who has done very well? There is nothing for him to worry about because we are proud of him, his works will definitely speak for him, but we must maintain the transparency and internal democracy that is rooted in APGA in the conduct of the party’s primary election,” Agbaso explained.

As the struggle between the two factions over the leadership of the party rages on, the question now is whether it would be able to resolve the impasse before the forthcoming governorship election.

In the event that it fails, the PDP or APC may cash in on that and win the state. (Daily Trust)

Source News Express

Posted 23/07/2017 2:31:56 PM


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