Victor Umeh’s era as APGA National Chairman is over for good —Chira

Posted by News Express | 17 February 2014 | 6,708 times

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Few people understand the intrigues in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as does Mr. Staley Chira, APGA National acting Publicity Secretary under Chief Maxi Okwu. This is because he has worked with Maxi Okwu and the rival APGA National Chairman, Sir Victor Umeh, and understands both men better. In this interview with News Express, Chira explains why Sir Umeh’s era as APGA National Chairman is gone for good. He, however, makes a case for Governor Peter obi to reconcile both men without further delay, even as he also advocates reconciliation between Governor-elect Willie Obiano and rival Chike Obidigbo. Excerpts.

News Express: Congratulations on your recent election as APGA National acting Publicity Secretary under Chief Maxi Okwu. Having worked with Maxi and the rival National Chairman, Sir Victor Umeh, how would you compare their leadership styles?

Chira: Sir Victor Umeh is more like an emperor or, say, a one-man riot squad; he does not know what is division of labour, he is good in field politics, he is great when it comes to politics of no holds barred. During his tenure as Chairman of APGA he did well according to his understanding of the job of a Chairman; he was able to hold down APGA in two states but lost one. In essence, he tried as a Chairman during that period, but now that APGA is stable and needs to progress, APGA needs more boardroom politics, APGA needs more strategic moves and overtures. Sir Victor is not good at this, why is why he vacated the position to a more polished legal guru in Barrister Maxi Okwu who is the current leader of APGA, and who will take APGA to the entire South East and some states in the North. Good a thing Sir Victor has shown interest to replace Dr. Chris Ngige at the Senate; what we should do is to grant him his wishes.

Why did your faction appoint Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu as the new APGA Leader despite the fact that Umeh had earlier given the position to Gov. Peter Obi, who has done so much for APGA?

Whosoever that thought up the idea of making Governor Obi the Leader of APGA needs serious deliverance. Imagine bringing Lionel Messi to come and captain Rangers International of Enugu.

Gov. Obi is the face of APGA, he took APGA from nowhere to somewhere; he gave APGA a fresh breath and making him a leader is a demotion. He led APGA as a Governor and it is time to move to a higher calling.

We should know that as a “leader” he becomes just a ceremonial leader. What Gov. Obi is qualified to do now is to move to the centre, where he can serve the nation with the same zeal and magic that he blessed Anambra State with. He is the only Igbo man today that is over-qualified to be the President, he is the man that is equipped with political know-how that made him to mix with anybody, any party and come out with great things that we all thought were not possible in any state that is in opposition to the one at the centre.

Gov. Obi should be our man on top, a national face, an Igbo face which covers all the parties that operate in alaigbo.

Gov Obi should be our big fish in a big pond and not a big fish in a little pond. We all know that his likes come once in a great while and Ndi Igbo need to use him as ‘Dike Eji Eje Mba’ – which he is; anything less is not acceptable to me

What is the future of APGA and what are the chances of reconciliation?

With the present leadership of APGA under Barrister Maxi Okwu, I will bet you that South East and South South will go to APGA. As you may have heard, Sir Victor Umeh is going to the Senate and his former Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, is going to contest for the governorship of Zamfara State. That leaves APGA in the hands of people that will take APGA far above dreams.

Reconciliation of APGA is easy; both Sir Victor Umeh and Barrister Maxi Okwu with the Governor should meet and chat as brothers of same parents, they may argue and disagree but I know that once they assemble together, I am sure that Gov. Obi will reconcile them – that man is so gifted that he can sell fridge to an Eskimo during winter, and you cannot fault his reasons if he puts his mind to it.

Is the party thinking of fielding a presidential candidate in 2015? If so, are you thinking of zoning it? And to where?

Fielding a presidential candidate is an effort in stupidity. Why can’t we do what Yoruba has been doing? Every time they have a favourable person in the presidency they will decline having a candidate in AD, ACN or any party that serves their interest. I consider it a smart move because it will give you a bargaining power than to field a candidate that will only win one state out of 36 and make your chances of having an understanding with the central government to be rated zero.

Umeh last weekend told News Express that Maxi Okwu’s claim to APGA leadership has no foundation and that his noise will soon fizzle out? What is your reaction?

Well, I am sure that Sir Victor Umeh, who is a field tactician, was just trying to pull wool over the eyes of people wishing APGA dead. Now you can see that many people simply believed that APGA is fighting, but no; they are passing through a stage that will launch them into a higher orbit.

Chike Obidigbo is fighting to dislodge Governor-elect Willie Obiano even though both are of APGA. Who do you prefer and who is a better candidate to lead Anambra State as Obi hands over next month?

I am pained that Anambra North fought like men and secured the slot but they are now behaving like infants. The elders in Anambra North, including the Igwes, great politicians and other elite should quickly call these two men – Chief Obiano and Chief Obidigbo – together, take them to church or shrine and make them to sit quietly while they tell them the reason why both of them should act like brothers. The people should make them to have an MOU, so that this chance will not slip away from them or more hiccups will come and hinder what they got on a platter. This two, Obiano and Obidigbo, are perfectly qualified to lead any state, so they need to meet and make some sacrifices and have a brotherly agreement and come out with one voice and embrace for the camera. By so doing, they will shame the critics and show that Anambra North has what it takes to work as one.

•Photo Maxi Okwu, under whose leadership Chira serves as APGA spokesman.

Source: News Express

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