Mr. Uchenna Uzuawu, a leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Enugu, in this interview with Ozioma Ubabukoh, insists that the position of an individual or group of individuals does not negate the fact that APGA is part of the opposition merger
With the merger arrangement and metamorphosis of four political parties into the All Progressives Congress, do you think APC will stand the test of time and go ahead to pose a threat to the Peoples Democratic Party?
The kind of merger that All Progressives Congress represents the will not only stand the test of time, but will ultimately rout the Peoples Democratic Party from power. I say this with every sense of responsibility. PDP as a party has lost its credibility to the extent that of All Progressives Congress does not even need a serious campaign during the next elections to establish its ideological dominance. Already, Nigerians are not just aware but tired of the ruling party’s incompetence and are yearning for a change which APC represents. Let me admit that the merger is beyond quest for power alone, but more than that, the desire to arrest the seamless derailment and refocus the country in more purposeful journey to greatness.
Have you considered that members of one of the parties involved, All Progressives Grand Alliance, are singing discordant tunes about being, or not being part of the merger and if this is not checked, it could truncate the arrangement?
All Progressive Grand Alliance was duly represented at the merger talks. What some people mistake as discordant tunes may be because of a statement credited to marginal interests in the party dissociating the party from the merger talks. But let me tell you that APGA as a party has grown beyond individuals. What you read, apparently in the papers, are the views of certain individuals who, for their selfish interests, are comfortable remaining in their ethnic cocoons, making no appreciable political progress whatsoever. All the parties involved in the merger like Congress for Progressive Change, All Nigerian Peoples Party and Action Congress of Nigeria, and of course, APGA, have a vision that transcends regional interest. It is what drives the merger and it will not be truncated until the mission of salvaging the country from the PDP is achieved.
If you say APGA gave its nod to the mega party, why was Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State not at any of the pre-merger meetings?
Governor Obi does not have to be at the merger talks for it to work. With due respect to him, he might have had other engagements that took him away from the talks. Apart from governing his state, he is also fully involved in other national engagements. Again, you must realise that APGA as a party controls only two states and if one out of the governors was in the merger talk, it will be wrong to say that the party. As it stands today, APGA is a bonafide partaker in the merger that has given rise to APC. No one individual is greater than the collective interest of our great party.
But have you equally taken to consideration that Governor Obi did not even show up on the occasion of unveiling APC, and has not said anything that seems to support the idea?
Neither has he said anything against it. As I said earlier, Governor Obi may have interests that are at variance with an enlarged picture represented by the new party, APC. I am sure that on the day in question, not all the governors of the other parties involved in the merger were present. I am surprised at the kind of attention given to a governor’s absence in a merger that saw more than nine governors present. I believe that at the appropriate time, those who may have nibbled at the merger will appreciate the great vision and identify with the All Progressives Congress.
You insisted that the APGA leadership gave its support to the growth of APC and is indeed part of it. If that is so, why is it that the ousted national chairman of the party, Mr. Victor Umeh, is still pursuing his case in court seeking to nullify court’s order which sacked him as APGA national chairman?
Yes I did. The recent high court judgement, which declared the office of the national chairman of our party vacant, has not foreclosed an appeal. At any rate, what you are saying in effect is that without Mr. Umeh, APGA will fail to function. My understanding of the case is far from this. Don’t forget that the party is not rudderless. With the national chairman out of the way, the party still carries on and the merger is superior to any individual. If you know that the aim of the merger is to win elections, then emphasising individuals will be without justification. Is the Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, not representing the party? Except you are saying that certain people’s involvement in the party is superior to others or that without Obi and may be Umeh, APGA ceases to function – to which I disagree.
If APGA has collapsed into the mega party structure, don’t you think Umeh wouldn’t have filed an appeal seeking an order that will enable him to function as the national chairman of a party that is supposedly no longer in existence?
Again, I disagree. Are you saying that because APGA merged, if Umeh feels strongly about his removal he does not have to appeal the judgement? I don’t think so. Until he exhausts all available channels, he is free to carry on. On the other hand, chairmen of all the other parties that merged have not ceased to be important to the overall interest of the party.
What will be Umeh’s position in the new order if his appeal fails at the court?
My happiness is that APGA is still waxing strong at least with the presence of people like Governor Okorocha and Mr. Annie Okonkwo. The latter who is also the leader of C21, a political group, today champions equity, and fairness in the country. In addition, other stakeholders are determined to make sure that APGA’s involvement in the merger stands. Recently Governor Okorocha stressed that there is the APGA –APGA and APGA-PDP and that the APGA-APGA is in the merger talks.