By Nwaorgu Faustinus
I read with sadness the present wrangling between Chief Umeh victor and the uncle to the governor of Anambra State, Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor who have been in the news recently on accusation and counter accusation of incompetence, among other issues raised by the duo. My state of mind is informed by the axiom that says when to elephants fight the grass will definitely suffer and not that I am member or stakeholder in APGA, but because I believe in peaceful resolution of divergent issues for the progress and development of a polity. It is therefore important to let these chieftains of APGA know that disagreement on any particular issue is part and parcel of politicking, and if not handled maturely, could bring about the disintegration of the party with the consequence of having different factions of APGA being manned by lords of the ring. Again, the opposition political party will exploit such a situation to their own advantage. I am certain this not what those who have worked so hard to put the party where it is today want.
On the other hand, money allegedly not put to good use brings about name calling, and all forms of accusations and this is the situation the APGA Chair is facing. Recently in an interview with the Daily independent newspaper publish on May 4, 2012 Chief Sylvester Nwobu-Alor posited that the current National Chairman (Chief Victor Umeh) should vacate the seat. When asked by his interviewer, Okey Maduforo, if restructuring the party means that the party and the executive members are not doing well and that means that they have to go. Isn’t it? This was his reply “No! You are jumping the gun. What we are asking for is for Victor Umeh to vacate his seat. We are the stakeholders of the party and they are serving us. But we are saying that this officer is not doing well; please vacate the seat. We are insisting that he should vacate. If he does somebody will take over and then perform the functions of the National Chairman”.
The puzzle here is does Chief Sylvester has the unilateral or joint power to fire the National chairman base on his incompetence?
In another medium, www.pointblanknews.com, an online media site Chief Sylvester said that the N20 Million Mr Umeh receives as allowance has not impacted positively on the party which made the former to contend that the later was incompetent to head the affairs of the party. Following this, Chief Sylvester charged the National Chair of APGA to “give account on how he manages the N20 million made available to him monthly for the running of the party, rather than going around, telling people that Governor Peter Obi did not empower the party and has been blaming the Governor for the party’s failings.”
While exonerating himself from incompetence, Chief Umeh in the same medium averred: “
“He said he wants me removed because I’m incompetent to be chairman of APGA. I was incompetent and I got his nephew Peter Obi elected two times in Anambra State.
“My incompetence started when Obi got his second term in office and I advised them to conduct local government election here so that APGA members will be empowered, so that the party will become strong, they refused to conduct local government election. I opposed it that’s why they are fighting me and I refused to join issue with them in the press without restraint. For him to again, some days ago say he wants to remove me, he is a foolish old man, that is the way I describe him and if Obi does not know what he is doing, why is he still in his government at 88 years of age. This is the only state in Nigeria where somebody of that age is a member of State Executive Council. It cannot continue to happen. So it is for the Governor to send him back to Agulu to stay. He should stop using him to confuse people that APGA is in crisis, APGA is very solidly together in this state and in 2014, by the grace of God, APGA will win Anambra State again.”
“Let nobody stir the honest nest, I am the custodian of everything happening in this state and if they annoy me, I will open the can of worms. It is a challenge I’m giving them. If they don’t want to contribute to the growth of APGA, let them leave, this is my charge to anybody, no matter how highly placed. I read in the papers two or three days ago where President Jonathan was saying that nobody is greater than PDP including himself. It is only in APGA that somebody will get up and say he is the Alpha and Omega and yet that money is the state’s money, not his money.
Let them do what is right. Victor Umeh is not the problem of APGA, the problem of APGA in Anambra State is Peter Obi and Nwobu-Alor, write it,”Umeh alleged.
Needless to say that there may be some element of truths or half-truths in the accusations, allegations, claims or argument of the two APGA bigwigs. It is therefore important to look into such accusations.
There is nothing wrong to call for the conduct of local government election in the various local government areas in Anambra State as it obtains in any democratic setup and as being championed by the APGA Chairman. For me, any person or group who are against the conduct of election into the various council areas should be seen as an undemocratic element. For such persons, the saying that nature abhors vacuum have little or no meaning and would rather preserve the statue quo. Chief Umeh posited that it was because he supported and championed the conduct of election that some retrogressive forces were now calling for his removal in order to continue to have access to the council funds.
Conversely, I do not agree, support or subscribe to a situation whereby an individual, no matter his position, power and or respect he commands in a political party will singlehandedly handpick, and ultimately impose aspirants on the people of the state, (for alleged self-intensions) without taking into cognizance if such candidates are popular, credible and sellable to the electorate. It is not only anathema, undemocratic but also against the spirit of free, credible and fair election if the allegation Mr Obi’s uncle is anything to go by. “Today he is not in good terms with the governor because he, Umeh, wanted him to conduct the local government elections the Nigerian way, and get all those he had handpicked into positions for his selfish ends, even if it amounts to offending the law,” Nwobu-Alor stated. But if the intention of the APGA Chair is to honestly, fairly and credibly conduct election without any hidden motives into the LGA’s, there is absolutely nothing wrong in doing that and Mr Peter Obi should not dilly dally on this but should liaise with the Anambra electoral commission with the aim of fixing date for LGA election in order to offer all the political parties opportunity to present their candidates for election.
Chief Sylvester should honestly; clearly and tersely let the public know what constitutes the incompetence of the APGA chairman and adopt acceptable mechanism (if there is any) as enshrined in the party’s constitution to address such alleged incompetence without overheating the polity. If need be, the APGA Chairman should humbly give account of his stewardship on how he spent the monthly allowance for the running of the party so as to exonerate himself from blame and invariably prove himself innocent.
Whatever the disagreement, allegations and counter allegations which are at the edge of tearing the party apart, the question on the lips of many people in Anambra is: what is Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State is saying or doing about the current internal friction in the party with a view to calming it down. APGA should know that a house that is divided against itself is doomed to collapse and this may be the opportunity the opposition is waiting for. APGA should peacefully and amicably extricate itself from the current political quagmire it has immersed itself, if it intends to recapture Anambra State in 2014 election. APGA, this house must not fall.
Nwaorgu Faustinus writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria. +2348035601312