This concluding part of the quartet analysis – Why APGA as a Political Party must not die – was caught up and necessarily delayed in the fiasco called Nigeria General Elections. It is also for good as we had the opportunity to weigh in on the performance of APGA and evaluate the toll the self-inflicted injury caused by internal wrangling took and how it impacted the said performance.
Men of the future must understand their past and also the forces that forge the present. This perspective informed why the part one of the quartet analysis was on the historical tour de force – a fair attempt to trace the origins of APGA and reconnect the great Igbo masterminds that timely rose to that existential demand.
For the same reason too, part two looked at the achievements, and exploits of APGA, and its rising profile; the reasons the fortunes of the Party keep fluctuating, and what could be done for the Party to stay course and enlarge its coast. This concluding part is tying the loose ends and offering prescriptions for moving forward and keeping the APGA dream alive and thriving.
The clarion refrain, ‘APGA bu nke anyi’ simply means that APGA is the political party that Ndigbo can truly rely on and call their own. It does not however make APGA an Igbo party per se. It is just a party where Ndigbo cannot be shunted out as they did to Dr. Alex Ekwueme in the PDP.
For recap, South East political leaders, regardless of their political leanings, did not take the denying Ekwueme the PDP in 1999 lightly. They rightly interpreted it as a conspiracy and it got many of them thinking of how to make the zone politically formidable.
Their grouse was that despite being the leader of G17 and later G34, from where the PDP evolved, Ekwueme’s political aspiration was still cut short in the party he co-founded. With this thinking and consultations spreading, a peculiar political party – APGA – was necessarily in the offing by 2002.
Historically, therefore, it will not be out of place to say the founders of APGA were mostly aggrieved members of the PDP who felt that Dr. Alex Ekwueme was unfairly treated with the PDP Presidential ticket that was given to Olusegun Obasanjo who was not part of the struggle to return the country to democracy.
They wanted something they could fall back on and call their own. Thus Emeka Ojukwu, the central defender of Ndigbo, became the face and soul of APGA. The emergence of Emeka Ojukwu as the face and soul of APGA is rooted in its origin and essence, and none other could have done it in Ojukwu’s place even though he was not a founding member.
These reminders are borne out of the need to clear doubts where they may exist. As our people say, he who is not part of a burial may start exhumation from the tail, which is an anathema in Igbo culture.
For emphasis therefore, APGA is a mega Igbo project, which must not fail. The great Party has reached not yet its apogee but a point in its existence where it can look back with pride and take courageous measures to reinvent itself.
In doing this, there are a number of factors that need revisiting and situating. The founding fathers, regardless of their present party affiliations, need have a look in once again.
APGA Founders Day may not be out of place because it will help to rebase the party and heal the wounds inflicted on one another by vagaries of politics. Just visualize the dynamo effect of some of the founders coming together to reenact the initial fervor.
Like Rangers Intl was more than mere football club in the 70s and 80s to Ndigbo, APGA is not just a mere political party. It is the main platform for the articulation of the South East regional interests and provision of a credible and out-and-out platform for Ndigbo in particular and Nigerians in general to participate and win elections in Nigeria.
As stated in previous parts of the quartet analysis, Ndigbo have very deep-seated sympathy for APGA including even those who belong to other parties. Yet, in all the Igbo States, it is only in Anambra perhaps, that the party has provoked the level of appropriation it deserves in the region.
The Party has produced the Governor of Anambra State since 2003 and almost always the entire House of Assembly members and Chairmen and Councilors of the 21 Local government Areas in the State.
The Party has produced a Governor in Imo State who later defected when APC was being formed. With the return of Chief Willie Obiano as Governor of Anambra State in 2018 with an unprecedented victory (aka 21/21), Anambra State as main forte of APGA was simply reaffirmed. The fortunes of APGA in these concluding General Elections have been mixed grills.
The Party won seats to Federal House even in new frontiers, especially in Benue State where it won 2 seats. The Party was a bit dwindled at the House Reps and Senate elections mainly in Anambra State because of the bandwagon effect of the State producing the Vice Presidential candidate in a major party (the PDP) in the person of Peter Gregory Obi. But the subsequent House of Assembly election saw APGA rebound and taking nearly all the seats in Anambra House.
Incongruously, Ndigbo have been under the illusion that PDP is its salvific hope. But fact is: Ndigbo since the exit of Alex Ekwueme are fringe players in the PDP and cannot determine that Party’s policy directions such zoning its presidential ticket to the South East.
Ndigbo need to rethink their mass participation and membership of the PDP, a political party that may not help them realise their overall desire and ambition to produce a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.
In a federal system of Government, regions or federating units enter the equation from a position of strength. Democracy is a game of numbers and interest aggregation and Ndigbo must put their acts together and present a formidable front in the quest for Nigeria President.
APGA can be anchor.
The reason many of us posit that the destiny of Ndigbo may not lie in the PDP as most Ndigbo may believe can be answered in how the Southwest have been able reorganize themselves politically to dominate the center at the moment.
The Yorubas achieved this feat by first concentrating their efforts in AD, and later AC, then ACN, which became one of the formidable legacy blocks that formed the APC in 2013.
This school of thought therefore justly contend that APGA serves the Igbo concrete interests better, and their political participation in the nation’s democracy can be better articulated under the Party. This is achievable if the party leadership will be able to creatively tap into the deep-seated sympathy and love that Ndigbo have for APGA.
Rebuilding however is practically impossible in the absence of peace and unity of purpose. Though many aggrieved members of APGA have been reined in, some are still implacable and pushing for implosion in the Party.
One remarkable string tying this category of members is that most of them are ‘latter day saints’ in APGA. Having only recently joined the Party and contributing nothing to its nurturing, it is easy for such persons with no stakes to call for its disintegration. What do they stand to lose if the Party goes under anyway?
To these members, we still urge them to take another look at the circumstances that provided the irresistible reasons for the formation of APGA. For the Party leadership under the hard fighting Dr. Ozomkpu Victor Oye, keep the olive branch up.
The hallmark of leadership is bringing sides together. That way, APGA shall emerge from these seething challenges stronger, more united and more poised to press on for the zeniths of its destiny (concludes).
Dr. Law Mefor, is a concerned APGA member; Tel.: +234-803-787-2893; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.