Nigerian state governors on Thursday approved the release of $1 billion from the country’s excess oil account to the government to help fight the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. The account holds foreign reserves from excess earnings from sales of crude. It currently totals $2.3 billion, according to Nigeria’s accountant general. “We are pleased with the…
Like most readers, I was keenly interested to read Dr Matthew Njoku’s “God Saved Imo From Agbaso”, (The Sun, Wednesday, August 10). It was a beautiful read. However, the issues raised in this lovely piece are dispiriting. Martin Agbaso has been confirmed to be a total embarrassment to every person with a modicum of conscience. As one of the radio journalists who attended the ceremony of his return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Owerri, Imo State, on October 24, 2014, I am in great shock that the same PDP member who contested for the governorship of our state in 2015 is boldly laying claim to being the National chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Though Agbaso was the APGA gubernatorial candidate in the 2007 gubernatorial election in Imo State, he returned to the PDP in 2014, with a view to contesting the 2015 governorship election. Again, he lost out.
Here is how a section of the media covered his return.
First is a report in THISDAY of October 25, 2014, written by the paper’s correspondent in Owerri.
“2015 – Agbaso Returns to PDP, Declares for Imo Governorship
By Amby Uneze
“Owerri — Former leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State, Chief Martin Agbaso has formerly returned to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with a vow to deploy all within his reach to ensure victory for President Goodluck Jonathan who he described as having performed so well for the country.
“SACAgbaso who was the winner of the 2007 annulled governorship election in the state, however declared formally, his intention to run for the governorship of the state under the umbrella of the PDP in 2015. At the official ceremony marking his return to the party at the crowded PDP State Secretariat along Okigwe road, Owerri yesterday, Agbaso expressed gratitude to the leadership of the party at the national and state levels for moving the party to greater height through the many transformational projects embarked upon by the various PDP led states and at the national level. He noted that it was through the party that he could realise his ambition, stressing that the role he played in 2011 governorship election by championing the victory of the incumbent Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha was indeed very regrettable. “I must tell you today that I apologise to PDP and the entire Imo people for bringing in the man I did not know too well to govern the state. Today you can see that he had failed Imo people”, he said. Agbaso who was a foundation member of the PDP stated that he remained humbled by the reception accorded him by all major stakeholders of the party and promised to live up to their expectations through deploying his weight to bring victory to the party in 2015 in the state.”…
Chief Victor Umeh, who was then the APGA National Chairman, reacted swiftly to Agbaso’s defection to the PDP. The report, based on an interview with Umeh, was published in PREMUIM TIMES of October 2 7, 2014, under the headline “Agbaso left APGA for selfish reasons”. The respected online paper reported:
“All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has said the defection of Martin Agbaso to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Imo would not affect its electoral fortunes in 2015.
“The National Chairman of the party, Victor Umeh, stated this in Awka, Anambra, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.
“Mr. Umeh accused the decampee of leaving APGA for selfish reasons and said his defection would not lead to a collapse of the party in Imo.
“Rather”, he said, “APGA is more determined to win back Imo”.
“He added that the defection was “an act borne out of selfish interest which does not portend good leadership quality”.
“He disclosed that the party had no fewer than five aspirants struggling for its ticket for governorship election in Imo.
“No single individual, no matter how highly placed, can make APGA lose its strength in Igbo land in 2015.
“Martin Agbaso has never won election in APGA and that he left the party does not mean that APGA will die”, he said.
“The APGA chairman explained that Agbaso left because he was not promised automatic ticket to run for the governorship seat in Imo.
“We supported him in 2007 governorship election but he lost; he came back in 2010 to run for the same position in 2011 but he could not make it.
“He brought his younger brother to be deputy governor but along the line, the brother was impeached.
“We have given him all the support APGA can give any member. In 2015, we will try another hand”, he said.
“He said that the former APGA chieftain was a lone ranger in the defection and that he never had the support of other stalwarts of the party.
“According to him, Mr. Agbaso defected to PDP alone with his family members.
“I want to tell you that all major stakeholders in Imo APGA are still with the party, including the lawmaker representing him at the House of Assembly, Dan Ikpeazu.
“As far as we are concerned in APGA, we wish him well in his sojourn”, he said.
“Mr. Agbaso on October 16 defected to the PDP, claiming to have left with 98 per cent of APGA members.
“He has declared interest to contest the 2015 governorship election of the state on the platform of his new party, the PDP.”
How can such a person we all covered at the PDP secretariat in Owerri when he returned to the party be claiming to be the APGA National Chairman? We have not seen any record yet that he has left the PDP once again and returned to APGA.
All this nonsense is because of the impending governorship election in Anambra State. The gubernatorial election in the foremost Southeast state will hold on November 18, 2017, and Agbaso is clearly determined to stop Governor Obiano from getting a landslide victory. Agbaso and those he is in cahoots with must have figured out that the only way to stop Obiano is to do some nasty stuff. It is a shame that a judge even granted him audience.
Dr Njoku is right. God did save Imo people from Agbaso by using Obasanjo to deny APGA its 2007 polls victory in Imo State.
•Onuoha is a journalist in Owerri, Imo State.