Dr. Tim Menakaya has accused you of falsely parading yourself as the national chairman of APGA in disobedience to a court injunction.
It is very sad that someone like him can refer to me as a former chairman. Who is the new chairman? Did he tell you? It is very terrible when elderly people join young ones to peddle falsehood. Dr. Menakaya, very unfortunately, has brought too much hardship to this party in the past few months; something nobody would have expected would come from an elderly person like him.
He tells you that he is the only member of the Board of Trustees of APGA and he was appointed in 2005 alongside our late Dim Ojukwu and one Ambassador Godwin. It was by virtue of the party that they were appointed on the first basis and then to expand it by minimum of 24 as required by the constitution. If you have followed APGA in the last seven years, you will know that when that appointment was made, it was sequel to the expulsion of our former chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie who immediately after that launched three litigations against the leadership of this party. While those litigations were on, Ojukwu remained the chairman of the board and Tim a member. He was just a member. He was appointed by this leadership of the party. It will be hypocritical of him to tell you that the chairman of the party prevented the BoT from being expanded to 24 members. Ojukwu just died less than a year and he was the chairman of the board for five years before he took ill and died in 2011. It will become clear immediately to you that if Ojukwu were alive as the chairman of the board for five years, should Victor Umeh have prevented the board from a membership of not less than 24?
Unfortunately, what Menakaya has decided to do is misleading the public. At various times, Ojukwu made efforts to increase the board to 24 but nobody accepted because of the legal issues affecting the party at that time. When we finally defeated Okorie, the final one was on February 29 and immediately after that we buried Ojukwu in March and in April, I wrote a roadmap for APGA after the legal hostility with Okorie. That memo was given to Dr. Manakaya on April 8 and one of the things I recommended on behalf of the national working committee would be to reconstitute the BoT and bring it in line with the constitution of APGA. He was the first to receive the memo and on May 6, at Menakaya’s home again, I circulated the memo to Peter Obi, Bianca Ojukwu and the rest of the people in attendance. So, for him to say we don’t want to constitute the BoT of the party is like someone deceiving the public.
What about the NWC, he alleged that you only take issues at the executive level?
It is something that you cannot hold to be true in any aspect of it.
Have you been asked by the court not to act as the national chairman?
Which court? The truth about what is happening is that Menakaya is acting out of selfish interest to attack the leadership of this party. That is what he is doing. He is just hired by Governor Peter Obi to attack the leadership of this party and he has been part of this party in all material times. Each time he sees us doing anything, he is always carried along as an elder in the party. We have met with government two times with him; he comes here to collect money for his expenses as a member of the board.
Last year during the election campaign, he collected N2.5million to enable him participate in the election and this national working committee he is disparaging today was elected at a convention on February 10, 2011 and he was there sitting on the high table along with Bianca and Governor Obi. At that same convention, APGA adopted President Goodluck Jonathan as our presidential candidate. It is the same convention that he has now turned around to deny. Is he denying that the convention never took place? I saw a publication in the newspaper where he claimed to be taking decisions on behalf of APGA only in Anambra State. APGA is a national party but they assembled in Anambra to dish out instructions to a national political party. So being part of a convention that elected the national working committee of this party, it is very depressing that a man of his standing can make such claims.
If you claim you have been working together, what then could be responsible for the sudden sour relationship?
To tell you why we have disagreed with them, we said the constitution of the party should be used to take decisions. But people who are not within the working organs of the party will want to take decisions for the party. Before you started hearing about him, he was not criticising us until Governor Obi made his son a commissioner for Special Duties and made his brother-in-law chairman of Dunukofia LGA. Obi also told him that the governorship of Anambra State has been zoned to his senatorial district, Anambra North, and he joined Obi to fight us.
When Obi told him that we said the ticket of the party should be thrown open and he said he is working for an Anambra North indigene to become the governor of Anambra in 2014 and that is how Menakaya emerged as an opponent of this leadership. He is sponsored by Obi. Have you ever seen or heard that he is addressing the press on behalf of APGA? These things are done for selfish interests and the only way they can do it is to disparage an honest and transparent leadership in APGA. All the accusations they have leveled against us in the past failed, they said we embezzled party funds; we have no account records until we started bringing out vouchers where he signed money in the secretariat here. He is no longer talking about missing money. Dr. Menakaya is not telling the truth because, from what I have told you now, if it was possible for the BoT of the party to have more than 24 members, it would have been done under Ojukwu’s chairmanship.
I challenge him to produce the result of any election APGA has won in his ward in the past ten years, even in his local government, we have never won there. He has no real political value to the party. Instead, he has been benefiting from our own toil and achievement for this party. Instead of making peace in the party as a father; he has decided to be an agent of crisis.
He said you threatened to reveal certain things about the death of Ojukwu and that he would not stop you?
Menakaya is not a member of Ojukwu’s family. If I make any statement concerning Ojukwu’s family, it is not for him to reply me and I have not said anything in my statement that he is trying to be suggestive of the attack that he is putting my way. I merely called to caution and call them to order. I am sure that you know that as the chairman of APGA with Ojukwu for five years, I was very close to him and within this period, Menakaya was absent in Ojukwu’s life. He was not coming to Ojukwu’s house until he became ill and indisposed that he appeared. I said they should rein in themselves and stop embarrassing the party and the Igbo people. So, for them to say that they are projecting the doings of Ojukwu today, how close was he to Ojukwu when he was alive? That was the question I posed.
Is it possible to have peace in APGA?
Peace is possible in APGA if the people who are chasing shadows stop what they are doing. This executive in the party was elected in a convention they attended and now they have five suits challenging that same convention thereby telling the court that we did not use secret ballot to elect the officers at the convention, that we did not resign two month before the convention and these are things that are purely internal affairs of APGA.
Is it true that 2015 is responsible for this crisis?
It is not 2015, that one may be a far factor in the whole thing. I would say the problems of APGA are localized in Anambra State. Remember that APGA has two state governments in Nigeria, Anambra and Imo states. If what they are doing in Awka government house is holistic, the governor of Imo State would have been there. Rochas is a major factor in APGA and because he has seen through what they are doing and that they are not honest about it, he decided to stay away and stay with the leadership of the party. I traveled to London on November 2 to attend to convention of APGA in UK and also to attend Ojukwu’s birthday at the University of Oxford where I was a guest speaker along with Dr. Ben Obi. We were away in London when Obi purportedly arranged a meeting to discuss APGA at Government House Awka.
Even on my return, I put my phone on and no text message came in from Obi that there will be a meeting.