Maxi Okwu emerges APGA National Chair, Promises to Reposition the Party
Chief Maxi Okwu yesterday emerged national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) at the party's national convention held at the Women Development Centre, Awka, and the Anambra State capital. Though people started gathering at about 11am, the Convention started with accreditation of delegates at 1 am and ended with the election of new party officials and their being sworn in at 8:30 am.
Except the positions of the National Vice-Chairman (South – West), Deputy National Financial Secretary and National Woman Leader, other 24 National Officers of the party out of the party's 28 were elected at the convention which was attended by a total of 875 delegates.
A six-man delegate from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs at the Commission's National Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Victor Agbonwaneten monitored the APGA convention. The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra state, Professor Chukwuemeka Onubuogu also monitored.
Oath of Allegiance and Oath of office were administered on all the newly elected APGA national officers at about 8.30am by Chief Ozoemena Onyali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Okwu polled a total of 764 to defeat his sole challenger, Chief Joe-Martins Uzodike, Commissioner of Information and Culture, Anambra state who scored a total of 91 votes according to the results announced by the Convention Electoral Returning Officer, Mr. Larry Nwosu at about 8.05am. Former Deputy Governors of Anambra State, Prince Chinedu Emeka and Dr. Okey Udeh, respectively were the results collation officers.
Other National Officers of the party elected at the convention included, Chief Chris Ejike Uche (Deputy National Chairman, South); Alhaji Sadeeq Massala (Deputy National Chairman North); Alhaji (Dr.) Sagir Maidoya (National Secretary); Mr. Bernard Akoma (National Publicity Secretary); Mr. Alex Ejesieme (National Legal Adviser and Mr. Ferguson Okpara National Youth Leader).
National Protem Chairman of the party, Dr Isa Arzuka Jega presided over the Convention.
The APGA National Deputy Leader and Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi commended the party members for the orderly manner they conducted themselves during the Convention and charged the new party leadership and the entire followership to embrace peace and reconciliation with all aggrieved members. He urged them not to visit the past but to work for the future growth of the party and assured that the party would retain the Government House, Awka in the forthcoming governorship election.
“We have to focus on tomorrow. We have to do so with reconciliation, we have to do so with love, let people not think that some people have been left behind, we will bring those left behind back in other to build a great future because our future is important. We are not going to leave anybody behind”, Governor Obi stated.
In his acceptance speech, Okwu thanked delegates and other APGA faithful for the confidence reposed in him and pledged that his priority would be to reconcile all aggrieved party members and to build APGA as the core political party in Nigeria.
He particularly extended a hand of fellowship to Chief Victor Umeh, factional national chairman of the party to see reason to make peace with his leadership and assured, “I believe that somewhere down the line Victor (Umeh) will find peace with us, I am extending a hand of comradeship to him and I believe he will bury the hatchet and come back. I will give him soft landing”.
Delegates at the APGA convention come from the various states of the federation. Also in attendance were many elected state and national Assembly members who are members of the party as well appointed political office holders.
The roll call included, Governor Peter Obi; his Deputy, Mr. Emeka Sibeudu; APGA National Protem Chairman, Dr Isa Arzuka Jega; former Health Minister and member of the party's Board of Trustees, Dr. Tim Menakaya; former Information Minister, Professor Dora Akunyili; Reps members fro, Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Awka Fededrderal Constuency, Nnewi South, Nnewi North and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency, Honourables;Amba. Frank Ogbuewu; Victor Ogene, Emeka Mogbo and Chris Azubuogu respectively, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Princess Chinwe Nwaebili, former Reps member for Ihiala federal constituency, Mr. Chuma Nzeribe and former deputy Governors Chinedu Emeka and Dr, Okey Udeh, former gubernatorial candidate of the party in Abia state, Mr. Reagan Ofomba among others.
Meanwhile, reacting to the Court of Appeal ruling that granted Chief Victor Umeh a stay of execution, Okwu said the judgment was most ridiculous arguing that one cannot abort a child that had already been born. “I do not know with the Justices considered, but it is an elementary law that injunction and stay do not lay against completed act. How can a relief granted around 12:30 affect an act completed by 08:30am”, he asked.