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APGA: Red Card For Umeh, Yellow Card For Okwu

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A long battle between Sir Victor Umeh and Chief Maxi Okwu for the chairmanship of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, may have come to an end with the former shown the exit door from the party's chairmanship he coveted from Chief Chekwas Okorie since 2003. Widely known as the founder of the party, Okorie was removed by the court of law, for the reason that Umeh was voracious for the position.

The heat for the chairmanship was intensified last year, when Umeh and Okwu were craving to nominate the party's governorship candidate for the November 16 poll in Anambra. Okwu who was then in court was praying that he should be recognised as the authentic chairman of the party, till January 15 2014, when the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court sacked Umeh from office and directed the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to without-delay, recognise Okwu, as the chairman of the party.

Before the victory came in favour of Okwu, the party operated like different opposition political parties, with numerous court judgments recognising them at dissimilar times. The last, but not the least, was a Court of Appeal, ruling in support of Umeh. Today, the court ruling did not go the way of Umeh and, he has regarded the judgment as a kangaroo type.

Umeh has said that the ruling was fraud; he is bent on not heeding to the ruling, hence he is calling on all not to adhere to the court ruling. But when it was a long encounter between Okorie and the forces that hijacked the party who were vehemently in support of Umeh, they were jubilating when an Abuja High Court ruled against Okorie in an appeal Okorie instituted challenging the decision of an Abuja High Court, and the tussle came to an intimidating end on 13th January 2010, as a Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, delivered its judgment against Okorie.

Umeh did not see the judgment then, as fraud. He jubilated around and said that the judiciary has risen to the occasion in delivering of its judgments. Besides, it is on record that Umeh was one time expelled from APGA and, the party never granted him pardon till date, except that he was using the court to challenge that.

Investigation shows that no court has ever set that judgment aside till today; what Umeh does not want to take to cognizance is that the expulsion still holds water against him and that, he lacks the right to go to court in any thing that matters to APGA. It is an embarrassment to APGA that Umeh had been in the fight for the position of the National Chairman of the APGA, since 2004.

Don't say that he knows how to give a dog a bad name in order to hang her. That was the fate of Okorie in the hands of Umeh, but it seems that Okwu knows better and has given Umeh the fight he least expected. The propaganda Umeh used against Okorie was that Okorie was shooting to sell out the party's mandate than. Governor Obi was then seeking to retrieve the state from Dr. Chris Ngige, who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. The forces that were in support of Umeh against Okorie later turned against him and Maxi Okwu replaced him in acting capacity then, but today on a substantial level.

It is high time Umeh left the leadership of the party for progressivism to reign in the party, as Court has sacked him, and reinstates Okwu as APGA substantial national chairman, instead of filing an appeal and insisting that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, therefore dragging the Justice before the National Judicial Council, NJC. It is understandably that Umeh is losing sleep over the judgment, because of his actions since the ruling.

From the look of things, Umeh was not a good representation of APGA. The proof is that under Umeh, APGA did not make any headway, except in Anambra State. If not that Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu was involved in the APGA politics, which gave the party respect, especially in the South-East zone, the party would have been dead long. Come to think of it, just one state that the party which Umeh-led controlled, yet there was no peace in the party.

That was the same thing that the PDP experienced under the leadership of Bamanga Tukur. Internal democracy was sent on an errand. It is gemstone that Okwu may reposition the party that had been in turmoil under Umeh. Nigerians have seen the potential that Umeh was made up of, which could not lead APGA to anywhere, except to war internally. It is the duty of Okwu to showcase his untapped potential in this cause, so that Umeh could be finally shamed. He should not see the problems in the APGA that the proud-Umeh was unable to resolve as massive and chomping, but as problems that he could nip in the bud and send on exile.

Okwu should ignore all the brouhaha and tantrums that Umeh has been using the court to cause, but should not ignore him as a party member. Umeh's posturing shows him as an undemocratic person. If Umeh was a democrat, his crass fights to retain his position as the APGA's National Chairman would not be relevant. If Umeh was a democrat, he could not have allowed himself to be the chair of APGA since 11 years. He knew that he was supposed to have given up that position 3 years ago, (after consecutive two terms of four years each). If Umeh is crying and fighting Chief Maxi Okwu this way, what does he expect Okorie who formed the party but was arms-twisted to do?

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere