Umeh wants MASSOB to wade into APGA crisis

By Mazi Odera

BARELY a week after a state high court presided over by Justice Hope Ozor, upheld the April 8 National Convention of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) that threw up Maxi Okwu as the party's national chairman, leader of a faction of the party, Victor Umeh, has sought the intervention of the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Raph Uwazurike.

The Guardian gathered that Umeh sent a delegation led by a party elder, Onwuka Ukwa, to Uwazuruike, asking him to mediate in the protracted leadership crisis bedeviling APGA so as maintain the vision and principles of the founding fathers of the party.

Confirming the delegation's visit to The Guardian over the phone, the MASSOB leader said “I do not know from which angle you are coming from, the fact is nobody does not want peace,” adding “whatever transpired in the past should not be allowed to scuttle the search for peace.”

Uwazuruike added that it was a good thing that political players in APGA have recognised the fact that they have to play as a united team to make progress, stressing that he would do his best to try to reconcile the parties to the “brotherly disagreement.”

But reacting to the development, APGA Chairman, Okwu, said: “I am aware; I got the tip of the visit to Uwazuruike. Remember I extended an olive branch to Umeh. I do so not out of fear but from the position of strength; I do so also because I believe all of us are needed. I went to Chekwas (Okorie) who you know, as the founding chairman was aggrieved and reconciled with him. He is still in UPP, (United Progressives Party) and most likely would remain there.

“But it is better that we bury the hatchet. So that being the case, if there is any way we can reconcile this matter, I am for it but then it must be based on the principle that the sanctity of the (April 8, 2013) convention would not be affected”.

On his feeling about Umeh's recourse to Uwazuruike instead of direct contact with him, Okwu noted that being a factor in Igbo land, Uwazuruike was welcome as a mediator, recalling that “it has happened before; I recall the saga between Umeh, Chekwas and me, as opinion moulders, three of us were approached (by Uwazuruike) then”.

Reiterating his acceptance of “any intervention if it would bring lasting peace in APGA” Okwu said such peace was direly needed to further his programmes of reconciliation, rapprochement and rebuilding, assuring that “there would be soft landing for Umeh, I agree with that; I have promised him soft landing”.