The series of media attacks pointed towards the direction of the APGA chairman by a few but aggrieved and garrulous individuals calls for a proper review.

Azubuike Ogbonnaya

For Chief Victor Oye, National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), this is not the best of times. Reason being that since the conclusion of the candidates’ nominations and primaries in October in readiness for the 2019 general elections, there have been scathing and coordinated attacks and criticisms targeted at the national leadership of the party.

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The attacks may not be misplaced, because he could have equally taken the glory if everything had gone well, hence anyone could justify the recent criticisms following the primaries that ignited internal resentment and ill-feeling.

Admittedly, it is predictable that leader of a party takes responsibility whenever things go wrong within the party and Chief Oye is culpable here. He should be blamed partially for not putting his eyes really down to know what his subordinates were, in fact, doing. It’s wrong to totally exonerate Chief Oye of any guilt. But no matter what has happened, one cannot throw away the bath water with the baby.

In all these, what his traducers have not done is to sit down to dissect the influences, which were responsible for the problems with APGA primaries. Many will agree that, to a large extent, the process that led to the emergence of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume as APGA governorship candidate in Imo State and the alleged denial of senatorial ticket to Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, widow of the founder of the party, in Anambra, have been the twin issues that Oye’s traducers have put forward against him.

In as much as the nomination of candidates and primary election were not tidy and transparent, the entire failure of the process should not only be placed on the shoulders

of the party chairman, the NEC of the party should also be roundly condemned, while also addressing such issues that have led the party to the present crossroad.

One should not also take away the fact that one of the things that illustrate every political period is puffery. Most times, some of the misinformation is too feeble to deserve a response, hence they are allowed to die a natural death. Some are professionally shaped and manufactured to a point that the receiver or the target would have to engage media experts to counter and change the storyline.

However, overtime, events have exposed the fact that no matter how feeble or preposterous a narrative appears to be, there is need to combat it with truth before the little false story grows into a monster and causes so much damage to one’s political career, as people would say.

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This is because lies, if unremittingly propagated, “watered, fertilised and allowed a favourable ambience to thrive, will always attack and dominate truth, thereby causing individuals affected by their peddling to count loses, unreservedly.”

And as all lies are like “cankerworms, which should not be allowed a space near a priceless wood furniture, else it wreak damage on it. Hence, no serious minded individual, public figure, group or organisation smiles at lies, especially when mischievous individuals with the intention to damage a reputation or deprive a price, unleash them.”

This is the more reason the series of media attacks pointed towards the direction of the APGA chairman by a few but aggrieved and garrulous individuals, who have not shown signs of shutting up, calls for a proper review, with the view of establishing lasting truth that will not only exonerate Chief Oye, but will recognise his place in the party and Nigerian politics.

Even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police reports try to right the wrongs of the APGA primaries in some states, especially in Imo State, some of those who are political associates of Chief Oye and analysts say it was evident and known to party members from the onset that the national chairman was out to engender new positive reforms that were to set the party clearly apart from other political parties.

They argued that one of such reforms was his decision to have delegate forms for each political office sold differently to different potential delegates. The implication

was to have different delegates emerge for the governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly primaries. This was in a bid to foster transparency in the entire process, they said.

However, it was particularly the gubernatorial aspirants in their quest to have National Assembly and state assembly aspirants in their line-up emerge as candidates, opted to hijack the process by purchasing four forms per delegate. Another area Chief Oye’s critics are making mince meat of him is on the N10,000 price tag pegged on delegates form. In as much as many will not appear to defend the leadership of the party on that price tag, other political observers also believe that the chairman could not have made it a unilateral decision all by himself, because in normal circumstances, when such a decision is taken, the National Working Committee must have agreed to and endorsed it.

Yet, even when such price was agreed on, it was not forced on party members, others further argued. The delegate forms were available and open to everyone who wished to be a delegate and could afford the form. The forms were well-patronised and party members bought same freely, while it is also on record that money received for such were appropriated accordingly.

At this moment, what is paramount is for the party to support the APGA chairman in mending fences and building support base for the candidates presented and recognised by the INEC for a successful election. This is not the time for bickering and throwing stone or fouling the waters, because if reconciliation and synergy are not pursued immediately, the party would have itself to blame, not just Oye alone. Those who are close to the party chairman confirm that he has learned his lessons and ready to rebuild and strengthen the party for the task ahead – winning the elections, especially in Imo and Abia states and that those bent on criticising Oye should cease their attacks forthwith.

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