Anambra State

Gale of defections in APGA: Willie Obiano, there’s danger lurking (agwo no na akirika)

 By Okoro Chinedum Benedict
A file photo of Okoro Chinedum Benedict, the National Administrative Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

For nearly one month, APGA has been hit by a gale and conflagration of defections. As expected, political analysts and pundits are locked in keen competition to decipher what has gone wrong with the ruling party at Anambra State. Some say that the defections tally with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which allows for freedom of association.

Apparently, section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides as follows: ‘every person shall be entitled to assembly freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any association for the protection of his interests.’ Others argue that it falls in line with the pursuit of political interest, since politics is all about who gets what, when and how.

Clearly, the Nigeria constitution recognizes this basic right as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is one of the greatest legacies of the liberal democracy. In my earlier write in 2018, titled ‘New Frontiers in Modern Agitation: Indigenous People of Biafra in Perceptive’ I did observe that ‘the 20th century established democracy as the only game in town (Linz and Stephan, 1996:15). In line with this, the ‘third wave’ of democratization saw many countries, including Nigeria return to democratic rule (Huntington, 1993 and Diamond, 1996).’

However, discerning minds are impelled to ask; are these defections normal? If not, what are the likely causes?

Indeed, these defections indicate that the current occupant of Agu Awka and National leader of APGA, HE Willie Obiano may be sleeping on duty. It either he is totally nonchalant about the matter or he does not understood the enormity of the crisis that has bedeviled APGA or his aides are on a mission to ensure he does not produce a successor.
But, what shall it profit HE Willie Obiano if he rules and reigns for 8years without producing a successor? One of the quintessential attributes of a great leader is his ability to produce a successor. If not for any other thing, producing a successor affords some sense of psychological fulfillment and mental security.

Glaringly, all is not well with APGA. Contrary to the cover ups, pretenses and showmanship of the Ozonkpu Oye led APGA; tidal events have continued to mock his façade impressions to the public. When a leader does not serve the interest of the people, such an organization is bound to reap crisis. A leader must possess the ability to connect with the people, the temperament to accept criticisms, the milk of kindness to be approachable and the integrity to command respect. Unfortunately, Ozonkpu Victor Oye is a combination of all these in reverse.

There are many reasons why every society cherishes certain values and customs and hold them so dearly. In the Jewish cosmology, leprosy was considered a grave ailment. People suffering from it were ultimately considered unclean, to the extent that they are mandated to strap a bell round their waists so that when they walk the sound of the bell gave them out as being unclean. This practice was to curb the contagious nature of leprosy and tame its spiraling effect.

Despite Naaman’s greatness as a soldier, his leprous state rendered him worthless and despicable. But, he was brave enough to have taken the bold step, by swallowing his pride; he went to Jordan and had his bath seven times, as instructed by Elisha.

In contemporary society, corruption is viewed from the sense lens as leprosy. Oye is corruption personified. Here is a man whose leadership is characterized by duping party men and women. Here is a man whose idea of politics is to steal from the public just to look big. Oye’s avariciousness and greed has become subject of small talks the same way as weather is to the English. A leader who licks his plate after meal runs a risk of going on errands meant for children. People are leaving the party to avoid being contaminated by what Oye and Obiano appreciates and stomachs.

Is it so difficult for HE Willie Obiano to come to terms with the fact that Oye is leprous? Why is it too difficult for him to understand that his resolve to swim and sink with Oye has done irreparable harm to his image and personality?

Barely, 24hours of the charade called flag of Soludo’s campaign at Alex Ekwueme Square at Awka, on Saturday September 25, 2021, Amb. Bianca Ojukwu raised alarm that Dim. Emeka Ojukwu’s image has been fully commercialized and reduced to a totem for the exploitation of the unsuspecting public.

As if that was not enough, 48 hours later, after the Alex Ekwueme Square charade, Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezim, the Director of Contact & Mobilization of Prof. Charles Soludo Campaign Council (APGA) left the party in a most embarrassing manner. This last onslaught is quite portentous. It indicates na agwo no na akirika. What has Victor Umeh’s inchoate reconciliation committee achieved? What is its impact? HE Willie Obiano, this piece is not actually about those that had left the party; it is about those that are still echoing Hosanna to the Son of David, whilst waiting for Good Friday to hand you over to Pilate. Remember, in politics, no one protects the other’s interest. Sir, be thou not deceived. No one is protecting your interest.

Finally, in 1962, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty composed a wonderful song called ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ it was a protest song against war and oppression. Perhaps, the lyric of that song goes thus;

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
How many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?

HE Governor Willie Obiano, history has placed a great and daunting task in your hands. Take a bold step, take charge, call a meeting of various dissenting voices, speak peace to their ears and take a bow like a great leader. Dispense with Oye. He is such an enormous baggage. Make him Chief of Staff or SSG for the few remaining months. It is on the strength of this sacrifice that a new APGA will emerge.

Okoro Chinedum Benedict is the National Administrative Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).