· Say Okoroacha, Annie Okonkwo on their own
From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka
The emergence of a new opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday received more knocks yesterday as some stakeholders of one of the parties involved, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), dissociated themselves from the merger arrangement.
This was just as a faction of the party wrote a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intimate it that it was not a party to the merger. During a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, Chief Tom Ikimi, Alhaji Garba Mohammed Gadi and former Kano State governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, all chairmen of the merger committees set up by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Congress (CPC) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) respectively announced the formation of a new party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senator Annie Okonkwo at the event told newsmen that he was there to represent APGA. Dr. Ifedi Okwenna, national secretary of APGA in a letter dated February 6 and addressed to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the party was not involved in the process that culminated in the formation of the All Progressives Congress.
Also, the National Coordinator of APGA National Stakeholders Forum, Chief Sylvester Nwobu Alor said the party was not part of the merger, describing its inclusion without consultations as political suicide.
He said the stand of the stakeholders was that Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, was not an officer of the party and could not have taken any decision on the affairs of the party, just as he disowned Senator Annie Okonkwo, describing him as an Accord Party (AP) member. According to him, “Okorocha is not an officer of the party.
He was probably on his own, there was no way he could have represented the party in such plans. He has every right in his state to take decisions and not when it concerns the national secretariat of our great party.
“We will not support any merger arrangement with any group or political parties. Somebody who is not a member of the party, Chief Annie Okonkwo who has been a member of Accord Party, was said to have signed for APGA. These are some of the terrible things happening in the Nigerian political terrain.’’
Nwobu Alor, who had been leading the war against the Chief Victor Umeh national leadership of APGA further said: “We, the stakeholders of APGA condemn in its entirety the unfortunate attempt of some people to drag the party to extinction through a process of consummation of the merger.
The aims and objectives of APGA, which are related to the basic core interest of the people cannot be allowed to be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. “We, the APGA stakeholders, the authentic owners of the party, totally and unequivocally, dissociate ourselves from the purported merger, but without prejudice to the right of any individual who may wish to join the merger as an individual.
“It may interest the political pundits to note that the issue of the leadership of APGA is currently pending in many courts in Nigeria and it may be sub judicial to enter into a negotiation of this magnitude. “Finally, let me state categorically that the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi is certainly not a party to this merger as reported in one of the daily newspapers.”
APGA letter reads: “This is to notified INEC of Our total rejection of the purported merger of our great party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form what they called All Progressives Congress (APC).”
The party further said in the letter that though Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Senator Annie Okonkwo were sighted at the meeting of governors of the main opposition parties in Lagos, “we wish to state in strong terms that these gentlemen were there on their own and were not in the meeting as official representatives of our great party.
“We have since realized that they are out to pursue and project their individual agenda which is at variance with the position of our great party. “We wish to officially inform you that our party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has never participated in any merger talk with any other political party before now and is therefore not in the merger.
“The party leadership have never been invited, consulted nor participated in any merger meeting nor have they ever set up a merger committee for that purpose just as other parties have done.” The party national scribe further disclosed that the issue of merger was never discussed at any of the party national executive committee (NEC) meetings held last year.