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Anambra 2014: Umeh predicts APGA victory

By Joe Nwankwo, Assistant Editor, Abuja
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National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Victor Umeh, on Wednesday declared that the party will win the governorship election in Anambra State, slated for next year.

He also received three members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC), who had earlier formed a parallel leadership.

The occasion marked the beginning of the end to the crisis that has rocked the party in the past seven months.

Three of the nine NWC members, who had pulled out in June, came to the party's headquarters in Abuja for reconciliation.

Receiving the returnee, Umeh said: “I had known that a day like this will come. The only thing I didn't know was the exact date.

“I know that the strength of a body is not in having no disputes, but in the ability to resolve disputes when they arise.

“The return and visit of our three exco members is a welcome idea. I am assuring Nigerians that by the next time we will gather here, nobody in the old APGA fold would be missing.

“I owe God all the gratitude for a day like this, because what is happening today is the real symbol of our strength and our motto of being one's brother's keeper.”

He also called on all members and leaders of APGA to pull their efforts together and “revive the great qualities of our great party that made it spring from nowhere to win two states, a senatorial seat, over 10 House of Representatives seats and 34 State Assembly slots.

“We will do more and that is the reason enemies of the party, who are bent on putting us in disarray to have their way, planted discord in our midst; but I am sure we have overcome today.”

Umeh also challenged party members to remember that: “It is the same leadership, all of you, including our brothers who are yet to come back, that did the magic of planting APGA as a strong party.

“I am sure we will do it again in Anambra State in 2014. I am from Anambra and I know for certain that the state is waiting to give us their mandate to continue leading it in the next gubernatorial election.

“I have no grudge against anyone. Governor Peter Obi is my brother, and as the election approaches in Anambra, I know we will transparently choose a candidate who everyone will support and we will win the election.”

He also used the re-union to pay tribute to a member of the NWC who left with the faction and just died, Morgan Anyalechi, describing him as a great mobiliser of people and one of the pillars that gave APGA the renown it got just in few years of its existence.

One of the returnees, Onwuka Ukwa, a former National Vice Chairman of the party in South East, said: “Our decision to come back to the fold is partly to strengthen the party and also in honour of our great leader, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who died a year ago.”

He restated his support for the leadership of the party under Umeh and called on other aggrieved members still in the splinter group to return and rebuild the party.

He expressed the hope that if APGA puts its house in order, it would take more states in the 2015 elections, and called on the party's two governors to work together and take the party higher.

The other chieftains, who also returned from the faction are Tondo Joseph, National Vice Chairman, North Central and Sunday Obasohan.

It would be recalled that the NWC had on June 21 indefinitely suspended its Deputy National Chairman (North), Sadeeq Massalla and National Vice Chairman, South East, Morgan Anyalechi, over anti-party activities.

Also suspended are Obasohan, Deputy National Organising Secretary; Bala Bako, Deputy National Legal Adviser; Ferguson Opara, National Youth Leader and Mrs Ella Nwabueze Ezeanya, National Women Leader.

They were said to have on June 19, accompanied by hoodlums, broke into the party's National Secretariat and conference room and addressed the press, where they purportedly suspended APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, and National Secretary, Sani Shinkafi.