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2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS: ANOTHER GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY FOR APGA TO EXPAND .




By: Egbuna Amuta

After many years of gruelling legal battles, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has finally resolved the leadership tussle which hitherto bedevilled the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. Dr. Victor Ike Oye is today the undisputed national chairman of the party which has Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State as its national leader and board of trustees chairman.

The final judgement of Nigeria's apex court on APGA leadership squabble came at the appropriate time when Nigeria is keenly preparing for the 2019 general elections. Horse trading for the exercise has commenced in earnest with a gale of defections mainly affecting the two leading political parties in the country namely; the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. 

However, despite the fact that the APC and PDP are different political parties the duo do not really have any decipherable ideological differences. Unlike the governments enthroned in Anambra by Nigeria's third largest political party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, no government sponsored by either the APC or PDP since the commencement of the Fourth Republic, nineteen years ago, have proved to be truly people oriented. Despite the fact that APGA is a national party with relative presence in all states in Nigeria and the federal capital territory, Abuja, it undoubtedly has a very strong Igbo colouration. 

The party's ideological inclination is Welfarism which has been successfully implemented in Anambra state in the past twelve years.
The consistency of good governance and and verifiable delivery of democracy dividends by APGA administrations in Anambra since March 17, 2006, have obviously endeared the party to many Nigerians, especially in the Southeast geopolitical zone. This explains why besides Lagos and Kano, the Onitsha metropolis, nay Anambra state has the highest influx of people from other geopolitical regions of the country. The ceaseless visits to the State, for business and settlement, by non indigenes and foreigners is encouraged by the enabling environment mainly created by the present government of the state under the watch of Governor Willie Obiano. 

In demonstration of their happiness with Governor Obiano, the Anambra electorate re-elected him overwhelmingly in the November 18, 2017 gubernatorial election in the state. He incomparably won in virtually all the one hundred and seventy nine communities and twenty one local government areas of the state. Obiano's resounding victory was such that his two major rivals in the APC and PDP felt it was unwise for any of them to challenge their outright defeat in the Election Petition Tribunal. 

Due to Obiano's egalitarian disposition in the past four years and five months many Nigerians, especially those from the Southeast geopolitical zone regard APGA as their preferred political party.  Therefore, they want to be governed by governments controlled by the party after the 2019 general elections in the country. Recall that less than one year after its registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the All Progressives Grand Alliance actually swept the polls in the Southeast during the 2003 general elections in Nigeria. And that was because the presidential candidate of the party in that year's general polls was late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, a man who meant so much to Ndigbo.  

Unfortunately, the then federal government under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired army general, exploited its power of incumbency to rob APGA of its well deserved victory in almost all the five states of the Southeast. The party was fortunate to recover its stolen mandate only in Anambra after a three year herculean legal tussle.  

Notwithstanding its outstanding performance in Anambra state, the realism of Nigeria's politics and ethnocentrism might not permit APGA to sweep the polls, especially outside Igboland. Nevertheless, the party has the capacity to convincingly win again in Anambra, Imo and Abia, and make significant inroads into Enugu and Ebonyi states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Lagos among a few other states in the country.

However, this can be more easily actualised if the APGA hierarchy should without further hesitation, embark on massive grassroots sensitisation and mobilisation, particularly in Igbo speaking states. Members of the party should, apart from engaging in vigorous door-to-door canvassing, resort to effective use of radios, faith based or Christian newspapers and the social media to enlighten the masses. In addition to whipping up necessary sentiments and convincing the people about the benefits of a restructured Nigerian Federation, the All Progressives Grand Alliance should showcase and market the good governance and impressive delivery of democracy dividends it's governments have steadily delivered in Anambra state in the past twelve years and five months.

APGA should not shy away from explaining to the masses that it is a better alternative to the other two major  political parties in the country. For instance, PDP had negatively governed Anambra state from May 29, 1999 to March 15, 2006, to the chagrin of the people. The party unjustly denied late Dr. Alex Ekwueme its presidential ticket in 1999, and deliberately made a mess of the office of the Senate President when it was zoned to the Southeast between 1999 and 2007. Most of the characters who slurred the integrity of the Igbo nation in the former ruling party in the country are presently members of the APC. 

Therefore, neither the APC nor PDP is fair to Ndigbo. Besides, APGA is more genuine and trustworthy than both parties in the quest for Restructuring of Nigerian Federations. It is also the only political party in the country today that can restore the honour and integrity of the Igbo race. So long as Ndigbo continue to wear the cloak of inferiority complex unjustly placed on them as a result of the outcome of the Nigerian Civil War which ended forty eight years ago, they would  continue to play the second or third fiddle to other less endowed ethnic nationalities who would not desist from disrespecting, disregarding and undermining them in national affairs.
Therefore, the Igbo race must shun timidity amidst the prevailing political developments in Nigeria. They must be very vocal through APGA which should  assert its independent mindedness as a political party but endeavour to always stand with what is right and in the interest of Southeast Nigeria. With such attitude, APGA would become a more powerful political party in a vantage position to maximally obtain and secure the rights and privileges of Ndigbo in the country's political calculations and permutations# 


EGBUNA AMUTA is the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Media Mobilisation to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
Friday, August 10, 2018. 

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