Prince Ifeanyi Ezeabasili’s confidence was infectious. His ambition was to represent Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency II, Lagos, in the House of Representatives. He went on road shows and did some other things to mobilise his constituents to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). To him, no party would beat the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in that constituency in the 2019 election. His calculation was based on the fact that the area is populated mainly by the Igbo.
However, the primaries in Lagos developed some hiccups. Ezeabasili believed he won and the state party chairman reportedly agreed with him. But when it got to Abuja, the story changed. The national body gave the party ticket to another fellow. Since then, Ezeabasili has been counting his losses and naming them one by one. And it has surprised him what the party has done.
Miraculously, Dr. Okey Okoye escaped a similar experience. He had won the APGA primaries for Aguata 2 state constituency in Anambra State and had got certificate of return to that effect. But surprisingly, another candidate emerged with same certificate of return some days after. Dr. Okoye battled his nemesis and eventually got back his mandate.
The experience of Bianca Ojukwu, the widow of the revered Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was particularly interesting. Bianca wanted to represent Anambra South in the Senate. Ifeanyi Uba and Nicholas Ukachukwu also had the same ambition. And so, they came for primaries at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area. Firstly, the party disqualified Uba who joined not long ago from the PDP for not obtaining a waiver to contest the election.
Secondly, gunmen invaded the Ekwulobia Township Stadium, venue of the primaries. People ran helter-skelter as sounds of gunshots boomed. Bianca also ran. Hardly had she got back to Awka when the news filtered in that Ukachukwu had won the primaries.
Ojukwu’s widow thundered, “As a member of this party’s Board of Trustees, I am deeply concerned that mercenaries appear to have hijacked the operations of our party machinery. APGA is today facing an existential threat and the overall image of our party is in tatters.”
Sorry madam! You may take solace in the fact that in Imo State, about 15 aspirants emerged with one tall ambition: to oust Governor Rochas Okorocha and his in-laws from government house, Owerri. But from nowhere, the party granted waiver to Ifeanyi Araraume who just joined the party and he miraculously became its standard-bearer for the 2019 governorship election in Imo. I’m not too sure why the party granted this waiver to Araraume but denied same to Ifeanyi Uba.
Nevertheless, APGA has always stood on the pedestal of Igbo nationalism. The mantra is, “Nkea bu nke anyi”, meaning this one is our own. The great performance of the party in the last governorship election in Anambra State is a testament.
Unfortunately, the party has greatly derailed. And greed is part of the problem. According to a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, the travesty in APGA shows that what the party leadership was doing all along “was a ponzi scheme, a scam of the highest order, to defraud fellow Igbo men and women of their hard earned money…APGA which had less than N5 million in its account before primaries, now hires private jet for the use of the National Chairman.”
Ohakim accused the leadership of APGA of demanding and collecting various sums of money from members, delegates and aspirants which ran into billions of naira. This is in addition to the abhorrent “abuse of many female aspirants in our own hotels and yet denied the tickets.”
He said betrayal had always been part and parcel of APGA, and described both Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Rochas Okorocha who rode to power on the back of APGA as agents of monumental betrayal of Ndigbo. As he put it, APGA has failed and must die.
But did Obiano actually betray or intend to betray APGA as alleged? Two months ago, about eight governors accompanied President Buhari to China. All, except Obiano, are members of the APC. Last Friday, he again accompanied Buhari together with two other APC governors – Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Aminu Masari of Katsina – to Paris, France, for a peace forum. Could this just be a mere coincidence? Or is it that the President has found in Obiano a son in whom he is well pleased? Only the Anambra Governor, who is the national leader of APGA, can answer this.
In any case, the shenanigan in APGA is not peculiar to it. Other parties, especially the two dominant ones, have their fair share of the perfidy called party politics in Nigeria.
For instance, the ruling party, APC, is still reeling from the recent primaries held across the country. In Ogun, Imo, Zamfara and many other states, it is crisis galore. Currently, Governors Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State are at loggerheads with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole. They want him removed.
As for APGA, the die is cast. I hear a certain Major General John Gbor (retd) is the presidential candidate of the party. APGA National Chairman, Victor Oye, had boasted that the party would produce eight governors in the 2019 elections and that the party would soon take over from the APC and the PDP.
“APGA is well repositioned to spring surprises in the future elections,” Oye spewed.
I laugh. Of course, part of the surprises is what we are seeing with the party now. So far, the best Oye has done to pacify his aggrieved members is to offer a tepid apology. But mere apology will not suffice here. The anger is deep. The national chairman in consultation with the national leader of the party should compensate people who spent so much for the party’s abracadabra called primaries. Otherwise, nkea aburozikwa nke anyi o (this one is no more our own o!)
Re: Celebrating presidential WAEC result
Empty vessel makes the most noise. PMB and his APC are cheat. They lied to Nigerians that they would bring change. Because Nigerians assumed the change would be positive they believed them. Today, it’s clear that PMB & his APC are tissue of lies, myopic, insensitive, corporate & national looters, pretenders & power drunk. So Casmir, when PMB & APC have no milestones to celebrate, why wouldn’t the WAEC certificate be celebrated? Only God will deliver us from this evil.
- Pharm. Okwy Njike, +2348038854922
Just finished reading your column: Celebrating presidential ….(wahala) I commend your views. Keep it up.
- Anonymous, +2348174379875
Please Sir, can you find out from one Prof. Tam Sokari David-West, an avid outspoken friend of Buhari, what he (Prof.) feels, thinks about this his most incorruptible Buhari. He, David-West, described a known genuine professor as “kwekwe”. Now this rubbish! What’s integrity, where is integrity, who is the integrity now?
- Anonymous, +2347035390254
Mr. lgbokwe, good day. Your piece is not issue based and you appear to have taken your column to denigrate the president and all he represents. When will you ever take a deep and unbiased analysis of the 16 years debilitating, massive looting of national patrimony and corruption that obviously rendered the economy prostrate? When will you do this and that is a hallmark of a balanced journalism. Thanks.
- Anonymous, 08037075590
If an army of lions/Nigerians is commanded by a goat/o’ level, it will not move. Results cancelled all insults.
- Kande, PH, +2348069038640
Read Bible (JEREMIAH 1:14) Then the Lord said unto me, “Out of the North an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.” Certainly, APC is that evil from Northern Nigeria; killing people and distributing poverty all over the country. Please, don’t vote for APC again in 2019 elections.
- Mr. Opeyemi, +2348144697765
Casmir, the President’s WAEC result is not being celebrated but it reveals the mindset of those PDP depraved citizens who vandalized & cannibalized the economy. They chase shadows to divert attention from the consequences of their pillage & plunder. OBJ withdrew 10 billion dollars for power & delivered total darkness. Diezani stole 20 billion & when CBN Gov Sanusi blew the whistle he was suspended. The worst crime committed by the PDP is that when Boko Haram was on the march from Islamic Maghreb into Nigeria capturing and destroying villages, PDP gave NSA Dasuki 2.8 billion dollars to purchase weapons to fend them off. They shared this money to themselves. The blood of the tens of thousands of Nigerians who were slaughtered then is on their hands. Allowing PDP back to power will mean going back to Pharaoh’s Egypt.
- Chike Nwigbo Awka, +2348037090360
Certificate Saga! This is shameful; Ghana WAEC in 20l5 could not trace Buhari certificate as exam was conducted by them. So, Buhari bribed to get fake certificate. He should be tried and sent to jail.
- Anonymous, +2348066546306
Opposition parties leave issues they would use to campaign to win election come 2019 to talk about WAEC results; but now WAEC has put everything to rest by issuing the result, what next? Opposition parties should tell Nigerians what they have in stock if elected during their campaign so we know where we can cast our votes, so Nigeria can move forward.
- Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535
What is the presidency celebrating? Celebrating impunity, just WASC. May God save us. It’s a disdain for WAEC to join the presidency in perpetrating impunity. May God save us.
- Anonymous, +2348039495555
- First published in The Sun of Monday, November 12, 2018.