Since the conclusion of the primary elections, our great party APGA has come under ceaseless attacks from all manner of pundits especially in the cyberspace. Sadly, the senseless battery of the party and needless vilification of her leadership has become the favorite pastime of these paid agents intent on pulling the party down.
While I am not the official spokesman of our party and neither is it my intention to hold brief for him, I nonetheless consider it imperative that the false narrative currently trending the blogosphere be challenged with the aim of putting the records straight and providing our party members the proper lenses with which to view the issues that arose in the course of the primaries. And given my position as a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of our party, I think I am well placed to properly appreciate the forces at play in the course of the primaries, the contending issues and the perspectives that resulted in the political outcomes that have become the objects for fiery contest and disaffection.
First, let me start off by stating expressly that the primary elections of the three leading political parties in Nigeria in this dispensation — APC, PDP, APGA, was encumbered by obvious challenges. And this is understandably so given that our entire democratic enterprise is still a work in progress. All major parties faced major primary election challenges and APGA’s case wasn’t different. The only reason APGA’s challenges became an issue for media frenzy was because the current leadership of the party has worked tirelessly to position the party as the most credible and reliable alternative in key areas like Imo state where the incumbent had built a bulwark they felt could not be pulled down. And then from the blues APGA emerged as a political David intent on shooting down the Goliath they had made of themselves, and all hell was let loose and all manner of strategy devised to abort the party’s triumphant march to political glory. A key aspect of our opponents strategy in Imo state was to stall the nomination process and rail road the party into a political cul-de-sac technically known as “Failure of Nomination.”
We all would recall that the party had slated her governorship primaries for Friday, October 5, 2018. In Imo state however, the process could not hold that day as a result of protests from some governorship aspirants who cited late arrival of materials as their reason. To ensure that everyone was carried along, the party leadership consented and directed the electoral panel to shift the process to the next day. And when the next day being Saturday came, the same set of aspirants still stalled the process by mobilising such an unprecedented number of thugs and touts that the electoral panel could not even guarantee the security of the real delegates. Saturday passed without the panel to organize the primary. Next day was Sunday and INEC’s deadline for the primaries. At that point, the party’s leadership had to step in to safeguard the party’s political capital and assets in Imo and avoid the failure of nomination that was impending and imminent.
And while I am at it, it is important to state here that while these whole process was ongoing, the party received credible intelligence that over nine of the governorship aspirants were on the sponsorship of Rochas Okorocha. And their charge was simply to ensure a failure of nomination in the party. And so it was up-to the party leadership to muster the needed political dexterity to maneuver the process and ensure the nomination of a flagbearer for the party, or forever wear the tag of the odium of the failure of nomination that some internal enemies of the party masquerading as Guber aspirants were working towards. And it will stand to the credit of the current leadership of the party that they were able to maneuver the party out of that cul-de-sac. Take note that in Zamfara state for instance, the current leadership of APC couldn’t muster the needed dexterity to do that. And by the grace of God, APGA will be the ultimate beneficiary of APC’s inability to avoid Failure of Nomination in Zamfara.
And so by Sunday, it was obvious to the party leadership that something drastic and urgent has to be done to ensure that the party fields a candidate in Imo in a manner that will be acceptable within the ambits of the law. That process gave rise to the emergence of an Ararume.
Now, I’ve heard some pundits trying to cast aspersions on the integrity of the members of the National Working Committee (NWC) by insinuating that Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume entered into a financial deal with the NWC members running into billions of naira. A deal which they alledged resulted in his emergence as the Guber candidate of the party. Nothing can be farther from the truth. For one, Ararume unlike most of the other aspirants didn’t even have the opportunity of addressing the NWC in session. Ararume’s emergence is primarily the outcome of the experience he has garnered overtime running for governor. By Sunday morning while the other aspirants had gone home in the belief that the primary had failed, an Ararume new from experience that the only way the party could avoid Failure of Nomination was to organize a primary against all odds. And judging from the character of the members of the NWC, he could reasonably guess that they won’t give up until a candidate emerges within the time available. So while other candidates were at home, Ararume kept his ears to the ground and kept his men and resources mobilised. And when the primary eventually happened, there was no stopping him.
Now, while an Ararume might not be the desired outcome even for some party leaders whose preference was Owerri zone, it’s most possible that there is a divine hand ordering his emergence. For if APC has gone Orlu zone and PDP Owerri, then political wisdom demanded that APGA go Okigwe to be able to reap the needed block vote to be in major contention. And that’s what an Ararume’s emergence has done for us.
As a key player in this whole exercise, I am convinced beyond every doubt that APGA will win Imo and Ararume will be governor, because he has all it takes to win. And that’s what should be uppermost in the heart of every true party man and woman.
Before I conclude this piece, let me make one critical observation about we Igbos and our approach to politics. Every now and then, the attitude of our elites betray a regrettable lack of political sophistication and a chronic penchant for individualism. In Lagos State for instance, an incumbent governor was denied a reelection ticket. He didn’t destroy the party neither did he let hell loose. He accepted his fate and moved on in the true understanding that when the team wins, everyone wins. I appeal to all our governorship aspirants to borrow a leaf from an Ambode of Lagos and give Sen. Ifeanyi Ararume the support he needs to win in Imo. That is the APGA spirit in its truest term and form. As Igbos, APGA is our collective heritage and we must do all we can to keep it soaring. Many thanks and God bless.
Comrade Chinedu Anselem Nebeife,
National Youth Leader,