From GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka and DAVID ONWUCHEKWA, Nnewi
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State yesterday dismissed allegations that he was plotting to destroy the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and join another party, saying he could not plan to destroy a house that he spent time and fortune to build. Obi who spoke shortly after a meeting of state chairmen of APGA loyal to him in Awka, the forum called the bluff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisting on holding a national convention of the party in April against the commission’s rejection, stated that if he left APGA he would leave politics.
The governor who had been accused of sponsoring the removal from office of the National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, by the Enugu State High Court, a judgment which appeal is pending at the Court of Appeal, Enugu, stated that though he was not laying claims of forming APGA, he had been a financial pillar of the party. He said, “what I am saying is that APGA is a political party that has to be run in a manner that is all inclusive, a party where everybody must have a sense of belonging.
If it is an institution, it must be run like an institution. APGA is a great party. It is a party that has its roots here. “If you count those who have sacrificed for APGA there is no way you will do that without mentioning me. I am not claiming to have formed APGA but I have sacrificed for it. If I had left all my court cases, there wouldn’t have been a party called APGA. I have never jumped from one party to another. I have been there faithfully and I remain in it. If I leave it, I leave politics. Everybody has seen it and I said it here that I have been invited severally by people to join other parties. I have been made offers and everybody knows that I have been committed to help this cause; I have been a pillar of this party financially.”
Earlier, the chairmen had said they were going ahead with the convention because, according to them, they were backed by the Constitution of APGA to conduct the national convention as against the position of INEC. INEC had in a reply to Obi’s alleged letter requesting it to come and monitor the party’s convention slated for April 18, rejected the request insisting that the governor had no powers to convene a convention as the party constitution vested such right only on the national chairman of the party.
But in a communiqué of the Chairmen’s Forum after the meeting signed by its Chairman, Dr. Isa Jega and Secretary, Mr. Olusola Ademibo along with other state chairmen, they resolved that the convention would hold as scheduled on April 18, in Enugu and went ahead to appoint a National Convention Planning Committee of 12 members. They also resolved to readmit, without pre-condition, all former members who expressed a desire to return to the party.
Further grants of clemency were also given to former members who had been sanctioned in the past by the party to return and help rebuild the party. The forum had in attendance some members of the National Executive Committee (NEC), who lauded the Justice Umezulike’s judgment that sacked Umeh and commended the role of Obi, endorsed him as the deputy national leader of the party and called on him to continue in his laudable efforts to salvage and reposition the party.