Our attention has been drawn to a four-page lengthy, incoherent and puerile interview granted by Chief Victor Umeh to Saturday Vanguard of May 6, 2017, in which Umeh continued his habitual malicious fabrications and vicious lies against Chief Chekwas Okorie, the founder and former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and now founder and National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP).
It has for a long time been the attitude of Chief Chekwas Okorie to overlook Chief Umeh’s tantrums against his person when he discovered that the only thing that brings Umeh to the pages of Nigerian newspapers and indeed to public attention is only when he has to attack the person of Chief Chekwas Okorie.
It is to be noted that Umeh cannot be credited with any profound statement on national issues.
Since he lacks the intellectual depth to comment meaningfully on national issues, he often resorts to denigrating Chief Chekwas Okorie to draw cheap attention to himself.
This time I have decided without reference to Chief Chekwas Okorie to give a measured response to Umeh’s recent vituperation against the very person who lifted him from obscurity and indigence to political relevance and limelight.
In what was described by Vanguard as part one of Umeh’s boring interview where he mentioned the name Chekwas 38 times and tried shamelessly to distort the history of the origin of APGA and the crisis that engulfed the party that has left it in its present comatose state, he summersaulted in his illogicality several times.
In a nutshell Chief Okorie had begun the effort with his associates to found a registered national political party based on Igbo initiative in 1995 when the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha lifted partial ban on political activities.
Chief Okorie floated in that year a political association named, Nigerian People’s Movement (NPM) with the motto of “Be Your Brother’s Keeper” in Igbo “Onye aghana nwanneya”.
It will be recalled that Chief Okorie had given this motto to Nzuko Imo which later became Nzuko Abia na Imo in which he was President-General in 1988. In 1992 Chief Okorie founded Igboezue Cultural Association with the same Motto of Onye aghana Nwanneya.
In 1996 Abacha lifted full ban on politics and Chief Okorie approached the electoral body at that time called National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) to register the Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) with the same Motto of Be Your Brother’s Keeper.
The details of this application can be found in the record of the present Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). PDC was not registered.
In 1998, another opportunity presented itself and the ever determined Okorie returned to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make a second attempt to register the Peoples Democratic Congress (PDC) as a political party. PDC again was not registered by INEC.
In 2001 a third opportunity arose for the registration of political parties, Chief Okorie ever determined to give to Nigeria a progressive political platform based on Igbo initiative resumed the effort to register a political party.
The consistent Motto of all his efforts at party registration has been “Be Your Brother’s Keeper” and the symbol of Cock had featured in all the three attempts. In this third attempt the name of the association had changed to the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA).
The association was presented at an impressive public ceremony at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel Enugu on August 28, 2001. Chief Okorie commenced immediately to recruit Protem Officers across the country to meet the INEC guidelines for party registration.
It was at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel presentation that Victor Umeh announced publicly his resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared membership of an unregistered association (UPGA).
Impressed by this apparent show of faith in an association that was yet to be registered Chief Chekwas Okorie appointed Victor Umeh the Protem National Treasurer on the same day in 2001.
In October, barely two months after Umeh was appointed Protem National Treasurer a Vanguard newspaper publication published names of Officers of a faction of PDP in Anambra State and behold the name of our Protem National Treasurer was conspicuous among the State Officers of this small faction which was opposed to the faction led by the then State Governor, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju.
When Umeh was confronted with this publication in one of the Caucus meetings at Enugu presided by Chief Okorie and reminded him that it was criminal for a person to belong to two political parties. Simultaneously, he arrogantly bolted out of the meeting saying that he was better off in PDP, to the astonishment of every member.
Chief Okorie did not see Umeh again till July 2002, 9 months after his unceremonious resignation. Chief Ralph Nwosu was recommended by late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo to replace Umeh as Protem National Treasurer since the position was zoned to Anambra State where Umeh comes from.
Umeh was not around to know the circumstance that led to the change of UPGA to APGA. It was the same circumstance that led us to change the symbol of Cock from standing alone to standing on the party’s acronym APGA and still retained the Motto “Be Your Brother’s Keeper”.