APGA NOT SERVING IGBO INTEREST -EZIEFULE, NATIONAL AUDITOR
He is an Engineer. He is a proud alumnus of the University of Nigeria Nsukka where he was an activist. Little wonder Major Anthony Obiefule[Rtd.] ended up with the Nigeria Army after graduation. Restless as ever, he retired young after becoming a Major. He is now involved in politics as National Auditor of All Progressive Grand Alliance[APGA] where he insists that Chief Chekwas Okorie is the rightful chairman of the party and that the party is currently not serving the interest of Ndigbo.
Here are excerpts
What do you know about the origin of All Progressive Grand Alliance
What I know is that Chief Chekwas Okorie pioneered the formation of the party as one that will serve the interest of Ndigbo. He formed the party almost single handedly. Our party is about the only one that has the name of the chairman written in its constitution, especially on the issue of tenure. It is written that he shall have two terms in office. Chekwas was chairman of the party until issues arose between him, Obi, Umeh and Ojukwu. Somewhere along the line Victor Umeh was made chairman of the party without due process. He has hung in there by all means, resulting in series of litigations in the last six or seven years.
This was aggravated by INEC beginning from the time of late Abel Goubadia to the time of Maurice Iwu and now Jega. INEC has not really observed the court cases to sift what direction they should go regarding leadership of the party. It is unfortunate that Igbos have no political platform like their brothers in the south west and the north. At a point prof Iwu was relating with Umeh, without caring what he court had said. Yet he had said, sometime before the 2007 elections that APGA would have no candidates because of the unsettled cases. But shortly after that statement he went ahead to produce a list of candidates for that party. We are having a similar case now where Professor Jega is relating with Chief Victor Umeh while INEC lawyer Kanu Agabi [SAN] former Attorney-General was in court on November 3, 2010 when Justice H.D. Sogba declared that Chief Victor Umeh does not have valid evidence that he is chairman of the party. Even as I am talking to you INEC did not list any body as APGA party official. Why should INEC pick and choose which court order to obey?
What was the actual court ruling?
The ruling was that Umeh sought to strike out the communiquÃ© of a convention held by our faction of APGA in September 2009, where he and Shinkaffi were expelled and Chekwas was reinstated as chairman. This was prior to the 2006 polls in Anambra where Professor Maurice Iwu had said the person to relate with is Chekwas. But there seemed to be a lot of arm twisting from the powers that be such that Iwu could not implement what he had said, only for us to have Peter Obi as our candidate and his nomination form was signed by Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu who is not a party chairman. This was the background before Umeh went to this court to set aside that our communiquÃ© and the court said he had no valid evidence that he was chairman of the party, yet INEC has not corrected it self. And if I may digress, I do not believe that the upcoming election in April will be devoid of rigging because what INEC would have done is to effect a system whereby voting can be electronic in the sense that once you vote, it registers in a system elsewhere, so that the data does not change along the line. That would have been an effective way of checking electoral fraud. The crisis we have had economically and socially is on account of poor leadership and that comes about when the peoples vote do not count.INEC has a big role to play in there.
Lets go back to Apga. If you say the party was meant to give a platform to the South east then why are you fighting the only governor that your party has?
We are fighting because he has not seen his mandate as something that should embrace everybody. He has not helped the platform to grow. Now they have adopted President Goodluck Jonathan against the aspirations of our people. From his body language Peter Obi can easily pass as a PDP governor. So if I have my grouse against him even though he is from my platform, I have my reasons. He is governor yet there is no Apga member in the state Assembly, same in the National Assembly. Yet he is in power. So how has that benefited the party? If he wanted to he can influence the emergence of Apga people in those positions.
But he has not had the opportunity to do that?
He has. Do not forget that he was a sitting governor during the 2007 elections.
Why would he not do that if he had the opportunity
Well my personal view is that Obi is not a politician. If Chris Ngige was there he would have ensured that his people came on board.
Now you have confirmed allegations that your faction was hob-nobbing with Ngige which was why Obi distanced himself knowing that you people were working against him.
You may insinuate that. But what I am telling you is my own personal reading. I am not talking on behalf of my faction. My personal view is that in the whole of Igbo land, the only true Igbo governor we have had was Chris Ngige
But do you really blame Obi for aligning with Jonathan. He is only one out of five governors in the South East and he has no senator, no National Assembly member, yet you do not want him to align with the President to get something for his people.
My real grouse with Obi is that he did not reconcile the feuding factions in APGA. He should have been magnanimous in reconciling the feuding factions in the party, that is really my quarrel.
What about Chekwas, what move has he made. I believe that both factions have maintained a hardline position. So you cannot lay the blame solely on Obi.
Chekwas claims to have made moves. He said it is the Umeh group that has remained adamant. But I insist that Obi can settle this matter if he wanted. There was an ad hoc arrangement by INEC used in validating his candidacy in the 2010 elections but since he came to power he has not respected that committee in the party. Now they are fielding PDP members as their candidate. All these Joy Emordi and Dora Akunyili that they have given party ticket will eventually return to PDP after they win the elections. As things stand now APGA is not serving Igbo interest as far as I am concerned.