Who Leads APGA?

Victor Umeh
Victor Umeh

Confusion reigns in APGA as Appeal Court reinstates Victor Umeh, earlier deposed as chairman of the party by a high court while Maxi Ukwu emerged the national chairman at an INEC monitored convention April 8

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 22, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

JUST when the battle for the soul of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, was about receding, the Appeal Court in Enugu has stoked fire. In its judgement on April 8, 2013, the court said Victor Umeh earlier deposed by a high court in Enugu, is still the chairman of the party. This came on the heels of the national convention which was approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and held on the same day. The national congress and convention was conducted by the faction of APGA led by Peter Obi, governor of Anambra State.  INEC was present at the convention which took place at the Women Development Centre, Awka, on April 8. The group elected Maxi Okwu as the national chairman of the party.

Chekwas Okorie
Chekwas Okorie

Okwu said the successful congresses and convention marked a new dawn in the history of the party. He thanked the delegates for their peaceful conduct and deep sense of commitment throughout the exercise and promised to work with others to recreate the vision of the founding fathers of the party.

“I would work harmoniously with everyone to re-invent the vision of the party in line with the vision of the founding fathers. APGA shall be stronger, progressive and formidable,” he said.

For days before the national convention, the Anambra State chapter of the party sacked Mike Kwentor, the state chairman, Ifeanyi Udokwu, deputy state chairman and William Obiorah, assistant secretary, over allegations of anti-party activities. Kwentor and his group were said to have denounced the convention in a press statement issued earlier in the week saying they were not part of it.

Fidelis Okafor, the state vice-chairman of the party, Anambra North zone, who announced their dismissal, said Kwentor and his group were dismissed because of disregard for the party’s leadership total dereliction of duties and attempts to create confusion and disorganise the much-needed congresses and convention of the party.

As if they allegations were not grave and worrisome, Okwu and some members of the faction visited Chekwas Okorie, the founding national chairman of APGA and of the United Peoples Party, UPP, for reconciliation.

Okwu said during the visit that their aim was to apologise to Okorie over the injustice he suffered that led to his removal as the party’s national chairman. He urged the national chairman of the United Progressive Party to forgive and forget what happened as a practising Christian. “We came here to apologise to you. We have realised that a lot of wrongs have been done to you in the past, but since I took over as national chairman of the party, I deemed it fit that members of the party should reconcile with you”, he said.

Peter Obi
Peter Obi

Reacting, Okorie said he was glad that his vindication came while he was still alive. He recalled how he was frustrated out of the party through selfish propaganda. Okorie regretted that despite the 25 attempts made in the past to settle the crisis in APGA, those who were working against him never gave any chance to make peace.

“It is on record that 25 attempts were made to make peace so that APGA will remain, but all of them were rebuffed. We attended all of them but they did not attend one. I am so happy today that I am alive to see my own vindication; this visit is significant to me in so many ways. If you check the DNA of both the APGA and the UPP, it is  the same. Today, we are debunking the belief that we are incapable of reconciliation. I will say in the spirit of Easter that we shall forgive one another,” he said.

According to Okorie, Umeh, the sacked but reinstated chairman of the party, should seek for forgiveness. He urged Umeh’s sponsors and supporters to desist from supporting him, stressing that their investment would result in waste and destruction. “My advice to him is to repent, amend his ways and embrace the path of rectitude. I also advise him to replicate what is happening today so that God can forgive him his sins.”

Umeh told Realnews that the congresses and the convention conducted by Obi’s APGA, would not stand. Umeh asserted that there would be no congress and convention of the party before 2015. “The leadership of APGA is intact. Okwu has never written to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, informing it of any programme of the party because he knows very well that he has no locus standi and INEC will not recognise him,” he said.

Maxi Okwu
Maxi Okwu

On the reconciliation with Okorie, he said the party did not commit any injustice against Okorie. According to him, Okorie deserved his removal as the national chairman of the party because he betrayed it. He said only posterity would judge the present relationship between Obi, Okwu and Okorie. He explained that it was because of Okorie’s sabotage of Obi’s governorship ambition that led to his removal as the national chairman.

“The APGA leadership can never forgive Okorie because he betrayed the party. The party did not commit any injustice against him because all the actions taken against him were approved by the court. We have no regret morally and legally for removing Okorie as what we did was to install democracy by insisting through litigation that APGA won the election in Anambra State.”

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