APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh
By Christopher Isiguzo
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, Monday said he was ready to accept the mediation offer by the South-east chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to open up a dialogue between him, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and widow of the late former Biafran warlord, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu.
Umeh, who briefed journalists in Enugu Monday, said his acceptance to dialogue with Obi and Ojukwu was borne out of his desire to ensure that lasting peace returned to the party which he described as the only platform open to the people of the South-east in particular and Nigerians in general.
He said he was concerned about the crisis bedevilling the APGA, but expressed optimism that with the public declaration of its intention to intervene in the crisis by the CAN leadership in the zone under the Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
While commending the CAN leadership in the South-east and the Anglican cleric in particular who he said had consistently remained passionate on issues affecting Ndigbo and Nigeria in general, Umeh said he had high regard for the religious body.
Umeh said CAN’s offer was the first time a credible group would be offering to dialogue among the warring factions since the crisis broke out in the party as some others had shown interest “privately”, adding that since those behind the crisis are mainly Christians, “I and my colleagues including the non-Christians have agreed to present ourselves to dialogue by CAN.”
The APGA boss stated that he was emotional about the party, having recorded second term victory for Governor Obi, first term victory for Rochas Okorocha in Imo State as well as Senate, House of Representatives as well as state Assembly seats in Imo and Anambra States in 2011 general election.
“People have just started tripping into the party after the victories and the crisis started and if peace now returns to the party, the party will become even stronger. And I can assure you that after the crisis, our people will get the kind of leadership they desire,” Umeh noted.
He charged his rivals to open their hearts to the dialogue, recalling that without his leadership of the APGA, the party would have long ceased to exist.
“I am ready to forgive and they too should be ready to forgive too. I thank Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma for being outspoken on issues of Igbo interest and I encourage him to restore peace in APGA. Our politicians must allow Jesus to walk in their hearts in order for them to achieve that which has been destines for them by their maker,” he said.
Bishop Chukwuma had last week urged the warring factions in APGA to sheath their swords in the overall interest of the party and that of the people of the South-east zone.