In this piece, DAVID-CHYDDY ELEKE writes on how the new national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Dr Victor Ikechukwu Oye emerged, defying permutations which favoured known APGA stalwarts.
Since the beginning of the year, lobbying has been on over who will succeed Chief Victor Umeh, the national chairman of the APGA whose tenure was billed to come to an end in June this year. Some have argued that for equity and justice sake, after the tenure of Chekwas Okorie who comes from Abia, and with Umeh from Anambra completing his tenure, it will be just for an Imo national chairman to reign.
Perhaps this line of thought was responsible for the reason why some people in the party were optimistic that Capt Emmanuel Iheanacho may emerge the national chairman. They argued that if APGA was truly an Igbo party as claimed, its leadership should be rotational among the states in the zone, and if it grew into a truly national party, then the party should consider its leadership coming from anywhere in Nigeria.
Last Saturday, members of the party thronged the Women’s Development Centre, venue of the national convention of the party from all states of the federation. It was reputed to be the most attended convention of the party, just as it was done amidst tight security, with security personnel carrying out double check on the delegates.
Among delegates of the convention, most did not know what shape the convention will take, nor those that will emerge for the various positions in the party’s executive. But among the bigwigs of the party, it was also clear that they already knew what lay ahead, and this was latter confirmed by the outgoing national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh who stated that the peace that has characterized the party was as a result of the accord that was reached before various conventions as to who should be elected.
Dr Victor Ikechukwu Oye, a former journalists and aide of former governor Orji Uzor Kalu who worked as a speech writer, and also the managing IDrector of Blaze Advertising was elected the national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA alongside 28 other members as the executives of the party.
This brings to an end the jostling from former minister for interior, Capt Emmanuel Iheanacho who was the favoured candidate of the members of the party, and the duo of Chief Austine Ndigwe and Senator Alphonsus Igbeke who were jostling for support to take the position. The entire delegates to the convention voted in a voice vote to elect Oye and members of his executives which also included the former Information minister and candidate of the party in the 2015 governorship election in Nasarawa, Mr Labaran Maku.
Barr Peter Ezeobi, the state chairman of the party in Imo State upon the election moved a motion for the dissolution of the Umeh led executive and was seconded by Barr Kayode Alabi. The speaker of Anambra State house of assembly, Right Hon Chinwe Nwaebili moved a motion for the adoption of the Oye-led executive as a replacement of the out-gone, with an uproar that signified the acceptance of the new national chairman.
Chief Umeh while addressing the delegates to the convention went down memory lane narrating how the party was formed, and all the travails it had undergone in the past, while thanking the members of the party who have remained steadfast, despite attempt by both Okorocha and Peter Obi to rock the boat after using it to attain success.
Umeh told members of the party that Oye was lucky that he is inheriting a party that is stable, and a party in which all unwanted elements have exited, leaving only committed members. He added that when he assumed leadership of the party, it had an empty treasury, and was also faced on all fronts with litigation, all of which it surmounted to emerge victorious. He said that as he exits the leadership of the party, he has left behind the sum of N40million, with the rent of the party’s national secretariat which will expire in December 2015.
The out-gone chairman said he is happy that his leadership of the party has come to an end in a glorious note, he also said that his leadership was not the type to declare billions in the coffers of the party but yet refuse to declare its liability. “Today, I am leaving behind N40million and I can tell you that there are no liabilities to be inherited,” Umeh said.
On the politics that surrounded the election of Dr Oye who is largely seen as a greenhorn in politics and party management, sources said that the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Governor Willie Obiano was more comfortable with Oye who is largely seen as a candidate from Abia State, even though he hails from Anambra State.
However, the applause and cheers which heralded the election of Oye was a testimony of his acceptance by all people in the party, and also other members of the new executives. The chairman of the organizing committee, staqted that the new members of the executives were the once who met the requirements after procuring the forms of the party, completing and returning them.
Upon his election, the new national chairman of the party, while reacting to his election said he has come to move the party from the point he met it to a higher height. He pledged his commitment to ensuring that the party will maintain its winning streak in litigations, while also assuring candidates of the party who were rigged out of the just concluded elections not to despair as his leadership will ensure that they pursue their cases in court and return their victory to the party, especially with the support of the BoT chairman of the party who has shown commitment to furthering its cause.
On his part, Governor Willie Obiano assured that the party is on the way to rebranding, and that the party is on a historic moment, just as it will work hard to ensure that it moves on to become the major opposition political party of the country. Obiano said that the last election gave the party the opportunity to test its might, And that it is satisfied with the result it got as the people were very at home with the party following overwhelming votes from the people.
Though there have been mixed feeling about how the new leadership would be able to pilot the affairs of the organization, following the big shoes Chief Umeh is leaving behind. Umeh proved himself a very hard working national chairman and was able to galvanise its members and moved ahead as a win litigation against the party to the level that he was seen as the face of the party nationally. His exit may leave a big gap in the party, but this may not be felt as Umeh has promised to be there for the party and the new executive.
“I may not be the chairman any longer, but I will always make myself available for the party. The new executives will enjoy our support and we will always be around to advise them whenever they need us,” Umeh said. With words like this, it is sure that the new leadership would be mentored to take the party to greater height as Umeh said that he will not play the role most leaders play when they leave office and would want to destroy the leadership of their successor so as to look like the only people that are capable of performing the task.