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By: Hon. Egbuna Amuta 

Since it came into existence seventeen years ago, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has remained a force to reckon with in the politics of this Fourth Republic. The party has since the 2003 general elections, one year after its formation in 2002, moved up from the fourth to the third most powerful political party in Nigeria. This is more so for the fact that it chose one of the foremost icons of the Igbo race and forthright Nigerian citizen, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, as its presidential candidate in the the 2003 general polls.

Due to what Ojukwu meant to Ndigbo, especially during the Nigerian Civil War and the undisguised marginalisation of the race in the country, in addition to the grand conspiracy against the Igbo political elite by the first three registered political parties in this Republic namely; the PDP, APP and AD, the All Progressives Grand Alliance was quicky embraced by majority of the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone in the 2003 general elections. The party went ahead to win the elections in the region but was brazenly rigged out by the country's ruling party at that time. Ever since then, the PDP has generally deployed its power of incumbency at the federal and state levels to sustain its stranglehold on the Southeast except Anambra where APGA is overwhelmingly dominant. In the 2011 general elections, APGA won in Imo but unfortunately, it is no longer in charge of the state since 2014, when Governor Rochas Okorocha who used the party to ascend to power defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

It is equally a truism that intra party crises and numerous legal battles over its leadership at the national level also affected the party adversely. In 2004, the pioneer National Chairman of APGA,  Chief Chekwas Okorie, attempted to trade off the party's gubernatorial mandate in Anambra state during the 2003 general polls. The unsavoury behaviour of Chief Okorie, was not taken lightly by the Supreme leader of the party, late Dim Odumegwu and the gubernatorial candidate of the party in Anambra state, Mr. Peter Obi. This prompted them to throw their weight behind the then National Treasurer of the party, Chief Victor Umeh to take over from Chief Okorie as the National Chairman. After several years of legal tussle between Okorie and Umeh, which eventually ended in favour of  the latter, one Chief Maxi Okwu was curiously prodded by former Governor Obi to oust Chief Umeh as the National Chairman of APGA. Again, Umeh won the legal battle, ahead of the 2014 gubernatorial election in Anambra state. The party hierarchy headed by him was allowed to midwife the first electoral victory of the incumbent governor of the state, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano and the emergence of the present National Working Committee, NWC of the party led by the incumbent National Chairman, Ozonkpu Dr. Ike Oye.

Fortuitously and in accordance with the party's constitution, Governor Obiano is today the National Leader and Board of Trustees Chairman of APGA. Although he was not known as a partisan politician until August 2013, when he won the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Anambra state, Governor Obiano has however brought his administrative acumen as a technocrat to bear on his political career. More than his predecessors, the incumbent Anambra helmsman has demonstrated exceptional political sagacity, inclusiveness in governance and humaneness towards the masses. This has apparently made him one of the most popular political leaders in the country today. The Obiano administration is undoubtedly responsive and people oriented as exemplified by his introduction of Economic Stimulus Package to cushion the harsh effects of the recent economic recession in the country on less privileged persons, Community Choose Your Projects Initiative, Security Architecture, Welfare of Workers and Pensioners, etc.

Save for certain mistakes (which are natural in politics and not unforgivable sins), made during last year's primaries ahead of the 2019 general elections, APGA would have contested the election as a more united and galvanised force. Political pundits believe that the party would have easily won the governorship seats of Imo and Abia states if it had maintained a united front during the elections. 

That notwithstanding, the future of the party is still very bright now that Governor Obiano is poised to bring greater unity and cohesion to APGA. He is indeed a statesman who places higher premium on the overall good of the people than divisive politics. This explains why in spite of political differences, he has maintained cordial relationship with the APC controlled federal government. Also, despite the ideological differences between him and his immediate predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi, the incumbent Anambra governor respects and always acknowledges Obi's immense contributions to the socioeconomic development of the state. In a rare demonstration of humility during the funeral of the first indigenous principal of Christ the King College, CKC,  Onitsha, in July 2018, Obiano publicly apologised to ex-governor Obi for whatever infractions he might have unwittingly committed against him. Akpokuedike's humility is indeed a strong point for him. With this disposition, he has the capacity to win more friends and new members for the All Progressives Grand Alliance. 

The unfolding political events in Nigeria after the 2019 general elections would definitely compel more Igbo people and many other progressive minded Nigerians to be convinced that APGA is the only credible alternative to the APC and PDP in future polls in the country. Although APGA has so far not shown desperation in its quest for the Nigerian presidency, it has nevertheless used Anambra state to showcase its adroitness in good governance and delivery of  democracy dividends. The party's security architecture in the state, particularly under Governor Obiano's watch, is second to none in Nigeria as well as the West and Central African regions. Doubtlessly, security is the foremost enabler for the socioeconomic development and growth of any human society. Obiano has in the past five years used Anambra state to prove beyond all reasonable doubts that he has the elixir to drastically reduce or eliminate the lingering security challenges in the country. With the admirable leadership qualities of Obiano, the future of the All Progressives Grand Alliance is very bright. Therefore, the onus is on all party faithful and aggrieved members to rally round the governor to galvanise APGA and probably use it to negotiate fruitful alliances with other political parties with a view of  taking the party and the Igbo nation  to greater heights in the firmament of Nigerian politics. 

HON. EGBUNA AMUTA is the Senior Special Assistant on Grassroots Media Mobilisation to Governor Obiano of Anambra State.

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