The members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the embattled All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) who a fortnight ago met with the elders of the party alongside the chairman of its Board of Trustees and Leader, Gov Willie Obiano in the Governor’s Lodge, Awka appear unfazed by efforts at dousing the tension in the committee.
The meeting called at the instance of the governor was his last effort to save the party and perhaps the job of the former national chairman, Dr Victor Oye who was earlier suspended indefinitely by the NWC.
But indications show that the NWC and indeed political watchers were already looking beyond Oye as they have pencilled down no fewer than four persons who might replace the suspended chairman. Oye was alleged to be an unrepentant insolent braggart who has already lost the confidence of the members. More so, they saw him as an outsider who didn’t invest in the party in any way, nor was ready to. That he sees himself as the emperor who deserved to be worshipped by all always.
Virtually all members of the 29-member NWC saw nothing good in him. Again, no member of the party, irrespective of his/her status has a kind word for Oye. And he hardly help matters as he was described as a round-the-clock man of pride who after visiting and riding with his predecessor, Chief Victor Umeh want to be as rich, connected and respected and honoured like him. Again, he neither has any love for Umeh nor was he ready to pay the price Umeh has paid in his about 12 years in the saddle. Oye was also accused of not releasing the monthly allowances of the NWC members to them in the last 16 months he has led the party. But it remains to be verified.
The vexed members saw as mere papering the cracks within the committee all attempts to save Oye. Situation appeared so bad now that they vowed not to honour any meeting called by him, henceforth. That was why they had already gone to court seeking an injunction to restrain him from parading himself as the party’s national chairman, until further notice.
They pointed out that there collective rejection of the food, drinks, water and all at the Awka stakeholders’ meeting, and rather choosing to drive away into the midnight that day would have alerted anyone that there was serious problem. According to the acting national chairman, Ozo Nwabueze Okafor, “we are not in this struggle for any financial, personal or selfish reason. We are trying to save our party from the dangerous bend the suspended national chairman was taking the party on.”
Again, on the claim by Oye that someone was sponsoring them, Okafor described it as ridiculous and insulting. He wondered whether it was the phantom sponsor that made him a braggart, commit all the listed constitutional breaches he was accused of. Or has he disproved or denied any of the allegations brought against him?
NWC has clearly indicated that they were not particular about who is chosen to replace Oye, but were emphatic that he must go if the slide in the party would stop. That even if party leader chooses from within the set up or anyone earning his personal confidence, that they had lost confidence irretrievably in Oye long before now.
Umeh, from records was a committed foundation member of the party and has fought many wars, without really castigating anyone, not even ex-Gov Peter Obi who has stood between him and the senate. But Oye has not hidden his dislike for Umeh or the rest members of the NWC and Obi. He speaks wide and without control thereby failing to keep track of his words that he swears in self defense until confronted with the recorded versions, to his shame.
Already lined up to take over his job are Chiefs Amechi Obidike, Ifeanyi Udokwu, Ifeanyi Ibezi, Maxi Okwu and Titus Anagbogu.
Apart from Ibezi, it was doubtful if any of these has any knowledge of their being propositioned for the job.
According to an Abia state based Enugu-born politician, Godson Ugwu, “I may not know all of them too well but Obidike was the immediate past state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who had to resign his position in solidarity to Gov Obiano (APGA)having hailed from same Aguleri and sits at the palace Council of HRH Igwe Christopher Idigo of Aguleri together.
It was suggested that Chief Amechi, described as a thoroughbred political all rounder was well equipped, experienced and has the character and candor of a potential party leader. He led ACN, and later APC until he resigned on self volition because of his personal love for Obiano. From investigation, his political ligaments cut across parties, geopolitical zones and class, that all political strategists consult him daily till date. Said to be a key advocate of politics without bitterness who had maintained a low profile since joining APGA the moment he left his APC position. He was said to have played key role in planting APC in the South East zone and has a lot of stops to pull whenever push comes to shove.
If he gets the APGA top job, he would become the only ear-to-the-ground Obiano would have in the party hierarchy since he (the governor)has none presently. Oye was said to lack the ability to court any such relationship within the NWC presently.
Ibezi: described as a very young eager politician who can step into Oye’s shoes, but was seen by key party elements as too inexperienced to shoulder the complicated responsibility of national chairmanship of APGA.
Udokwu: can do it but has the limitation of having concentrated his political career in only Anambra state. That coordinating the party in the zone would prove an uphil task to him, let alone nationwide.
Anagbogu: has the mien, attitude of a leader who can harness the political fortunes of the party. He has the carriage and viable mental capacity to do it, but it was clear that Obiano’s concern was his nomination, hence would need a close pal. But if he sees Anagbogu as earning trust and confidence, so be it.
There are many other equally capable party chieftains who have what it takes. But for now, it was clear that saving Oye would actually cost APGA its pride of place among the nation’s political parties, not just Obiano. He therefore need to be given a soft landing to go, as all reasons for trying to save him were actually the key reasons for him to go before he does more damage to the party, including anti-party acts. He knows this.