Barely 24 hours to Anambra governorship election, Amb. Bianca Ojukwu, wife of the late Igbo leader and national leader of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), on the occasion of his posthumous birthday, November 4, speaks on the chances of the party.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to Spain said that Governor Willie Obiano should be held responsible should APGA lose the election.
Today is Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s birthday. In this election year, are there any programmes or events that have been put in place by APGA, his political party to mark the event?
This birthday anniversary of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu is symbolic because it is taking place barely 48 hours to the gubernatorial elections in Anambra State, the political stronghold of APGA, of which he is widely referred to as its eternal leader. However, with the current situation in the party and the calculated attempts by the present party leadership to expunge his image from the party; it is given that they will not host any remembrance events, even on this birthday anniversary. In any case, is it not a united and harmonious party that can come together to host such an event? There is far too much turmoil and infighting going on within the party at present. However, our family is hosting a dedicated Mass celebration in his honour today.
What is your take concerning the crisis within the party and the spate of defections taking place within its fold almost on a daily basis?
The bitter truth, if it is to be told, is that the situation that exists in APGA today is a direct result of leadership failure of the party leader, Governor Willie Obiano, coupled with the abdication of his responsibilities both to the party and to the state. This has left a deeply wounded and visibly divided party, with APGA party members decamping from the party almost on a daily basis with the alacrity of rats deserting a sinking ship. Curiously, they are almost all defecting to APC. Our party has lost almost half of our state and national legislators, several principal members of our Board of Trustees including the Secretary of the Board, party local government leaders, countless party executive members including Governor Obiano’s own ward chairman and to cap it all, the serving deputy governor of the state, Dr Nkem Okeke who joined the APC recently. What cannot be denied is that Obiano and his henchmen have run APGA like a secret cult and reduced our once vibrant party to a shadow of its former self. In the process, they have squandered the massive goodwill our party once enjoyed among our people.
In what ways is he responsible for the dwindling fortunes of APGA and this collateral loss of goodwill in the state?
This is visible for all to see. I have persistently raised the alarm signals that the events of 2018, when party officials executed the biggest heist in the party’s political history and party aspirants were subjected to untold extortion and impunity would surely come back to haunt the party during these elections. This event has left the party deeply divided, as has the party’s orchestrated and high handed disqualification of gubernatorial aspirants during this year’s primaries, after collecting millions of money from them. This has also caused factions within APGA. Moreover, the Governor has not only instigated a religious denominational crisis within the state but also friction between the state and traditional institutions by his highhanded approach and arbitrary dethronement of traditional rulers who go against his views. The state is suffering the most extreme state of insecurity under his watch which has seen several citizens, including a traditional ruler in his community gunned down in broad daylight recently. There is palpable fear and anxiety among citizens within the state.
To the governor’s credit, Anambra airport is nearing completion but then, the intercity roads and roads leading to the communities are in a terrible state, and this has created a persistent logjam and traffic gridlock within the state, making motorists to spend hours in transit.
Another critical factor is that traders and artisans who used to be APGA’s most ardent supporters have, over the years, been subjected to crippling levies and multiple levels of taxation by state agents, thereby breeding deep resentment against the Obiano Administration, and by extension, the party. Added to this is the governor’s refusal to conduct local government elections throughout his years in office so as to facilitate better development of communities.
In fact, there are so many other factors which have pitched citizens of the state against this administration, which has not been made any better by the nonchalant attitude of our governor who surrounds himself with sycophants who convince him that all is well.
What is then your assessment of the party’s chances in these elections?
I am confident that despite all these shortcomings, we will do well. APGA is not just a political party, but a state of mind. The party has been in control of the state for almost sixteen years. This was due to the Ojukwu factor. The people transferred the love they had for him to the political platform identified with him. While it remains true that those comforting combinations of stability, fraternity and decency which have always rallied our people behind APGA as ‘Nke Anyi’ have been somewhat eroded, the fact remains that our party has a good candidate in this guber election in the person of Prof Charles Soludo and he has all it takes to chart a new course both in the trajectory of the party and of the state.
Source: The Sun