By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) assumed new dimension yesterday as one of the three factions led by its former Deputy National chairman, Chief Chris Uche claiming to be the authentic formally merged with the United Progressives Party (UPP), founded by APGA’s former National chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie.
As if basking in the euphoria of the new merger arrangement, Okorie, the Presidential candidate of the UPP in tne 2015 general election announced shortly after that Anambra state governor, Willie Obiano should kiss his second term ambition goodbye describing him as the “inheritor of an evil machinations that snowballed into his (Okorie’s) eventual exit from APGA.
The party presently has two more factions with Chief Victor Oye and a former National President of ALGON, Nwabueze Okafor laying claim to the party’s leadership.
Okorie who spoke after receiving the faction of APGA that joined his UPP, said “it was with heavy heart that we left APGA. For the first time in Nigeria’s political history, a party’s certificate was willingly returned to the INEC, not under compulsion. I was seated here the day Victor Umeh went to the INEC and they gave him the same certificate, which I returned.
“I said it that it will burn his hand and that he will not know peace. Somebody should go and tell him that he will never be a senator till the end of his life; he will never be even a councilor till the end of his life. Peter Obi has come to say sorry and as far as I am concerned, that was enough; Sadiq Massala has also some to say sorry and I have forgiven him; so it is with many others.”
He however said although Governor, Obiano was not in the picture when the crisis that eventually led to his forced exit took place, “as an inheritor of evil marchinations; he will not return for second term. It is not his fault; I have nothing against him but he is an inheritor of evil.”
Members of the National Working Committee of the Uche-led faction numbering 16 included the chairman of all chairmen of APGA, Dr. Isa Jegga; a member of the Board of Trustees, Prof Francis Dike (SAN), Alhaji Sadiq Masara, Deputy chairman (North), Adekunle Shonubi (South West), and Chief Sunday Abosua (South-south), among several others.
While describing the “merger” as a “divine marriage”, Okorie said that APGA as a political party had gone into oblivion, adding that all those still working towards flying the flag of the party in future elections in ths country especially the forthcoming governorship election were only embarking on a wild goose chase as “the party is finally dead and buried”.
“Something historic has happened here today. There has been that urge by Nigerians for APGA and UPP to unite and give Nigerians a truly progressive party. It has taken a long time because of lots of negotiations, interactionsand assurances which had left to where we are now. I deliberately allowed all the APGA leaders from across the country to speak here before me so as to show the seriousness of what we are doing here.
The former Presidential Candidate of the UPP further declared his party as the only true progressives party in the country at the moment, noting that the party is presently reorganising itself with a view to taking active part in the 2019 general elections.
“UPP will bring about true federalism, fiscal federalism, resource control, state police, community policing, devolution of power. We shall bring to the minimum exclusive legislative list and ensure we return power to the federating units. Every ethnic nationality will have a sense of belonging. We don’t believe in the disintegration of Nigeria. We are the true disciples of new Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier, the factional Acting National chairman of APGA, Uche had described the party as a “dead horse”, explaining that the party had long failed to realise the objectives behind its formation.