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Ojukwu summons warlords...To meet in Enugu tomorrow

Posted by By Christian Ochiama, Enugu and Anselm Okolo, Abuja on 2005/01/09 | Views: 299 |

Ojukwu summons warlords...To meet in Enugu tomorrow

Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has finally moved in to save the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) from total disintegration in the wake of the leadership crisis currently rocking it.

Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu has finally moved in to save the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) from total disintegration in the wake of the leadership crisis currently rocking it.

Ojukwu contested the 2003 presidential election on the party’s platform.

Sources close to the politician told Sunday Sun that he has scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting Monday at Zodiac Hotel, Independence Layout, Enugu to try to resolve all contending issues.

Sunday Sun spotted at the Independence Layout residence of the Ikemba, the gubernatorial candidate of the party in the last election, Chief Ugo Agballa, the party’s only member of the House of Representatives, Hon Uche Onyeagocha and another prominent member of the party, Chief Azu Okwuosa leaving the residence at about 12 mid-night Friday.

Sources disclosed that "they were part of a crucial meeting to put finishing touches to the Monday stakeholders’ meeting and were also mandated to coordinate it."

Expected at the meeting are all National Executive Council (NEC) members of the party, its gubernatorial flagbearers in the last election as well as National officers of the party.
The meeting according to a source, is to " pre-empt a move by the factional Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh to formally announce the expulsion of Chief Chekwas Okorie from the party. Okorie is also said to have perfected plans to expel Umeh from the party.

“APGA is nationally perceived as an Igbo party especially after fielding Ojukwu as its presidential candidate in 2003.
“To that extent therefore, Ojukwu is seen not just as a rallying point for the party but also its soul and therefore was in the best position to check the drift within its ranks.

“Throughout the Christmas holiday, prominent Igbo people mounted pressure on-the former Biafran leader to save APGA".
Meanwhile, the embattled National Chairman of APGA, Chekwas Okorie has dismissed the plot to remove him from office as a waste of time and fingered President Olusegun Obasanjo as the agentprovocateur behind the plot Speaking exclusively with Sunday Sun in Abuja on the allegations of financial and administrative mismanagement leveled against him by a faction of the party that had called for his removal as national chairman, Okorie who identified himself several times during the interview as the founder of the party, said there are no grounds for the allegations.

"There is no money in the party for anyone to embezzle, in fact I have been running the party from my personal income and goodwill, how can I embezzle my own money then" he said before reeling out all the funds that the party have so far received and their sources.

"The totality of funds that have so far come into the party since registration was N43 million. This is what we have used in running of the party, this covers our convention costs, legal costs at the Supreme and Appeal courts, the costs are still running, salaries, cost meetings, each NEC meeting cost us a minimum of N 2 million, each NWC meeting cost us a minimum of N350,000."

Challenging the leadership of the aggrieved faction to show a better score sheet, Okorie said he had giving the party his best and managed its paltry funds in the most prudent of manners.

"There is no way anybody could have better used N43 million or let us give them the benefit of the doubt, N60 million to build a party of this stature in this country. At the risk of sounding immodest, if you give Victor Umeh, the guy making all the noise N600 million he would still not have been able to run a party as vibrant as APGA or lift a party beyond the state level"

Okorie maintained his first love is APGA could therefore not have mismanaged its funds. "Look nobody who is living today can be more or love APGA more than myself. To register the party, I worked hard from 1995" adding "all financial transactions of the party are recorded and available including audited reports of its accounts by external firms, for all to see"

He traced the story of the party to 1995 when he made the first attempt to get it registered, "I had paid from my pocket a non-refundable deposit of N500,000 but it was not registered. By 1998 I made another attempt, by which time they had reduced the deposit to N100,000 and I paid, and satisfied all the requirements but we were not registered because in those two attempts I made Ikemba Nnewi as the rallying point of the application, so all those who opposed him made sure that we were not registered. In 2001, I embarked on this third journey that succeeded, how can I now turn around to destroy what took this long to build."

He said the crises in the party had nothing to do with the allegations raised by the break away faction, but with the zoning of the presidential ticket of the party to the south east.

"APGA recently affirmed the zoning of its presidential slot in 2007 to the south east, and that has made so many people very uncomfortable, I had been approached to review that policy and I said no, because when I begged God to help get the party registered, I did so with the mindset of getting a party that would give the Igbo people opportunity to be active participants in the electoral process"
Win or lose, Okorie said it was no longer pleasing for the Igbos to be mere political spectators in a country where they constituted about 40% of its population, "how can I after God granted this request go back to trade away that gift" he queried and explained that "each party zones its presidential ticket for strategic reasons to its advantage.

In this case there is no way it does not make political sense to have the presidential ticket zoned to the south east, which is our strongest base, just the way that ANPP will willy-nilly zone its presidential set to the north and the AD when it wants to contest the presidency zone it to the south west"

Funds from INEC
INEC has so far released the sum of N11.75 million in three trenches, the first was N3 million, the second N6 million and the last N2.75 million. The last came after the 2003 elections when INEC received N750 million for distribution to all the parties according to performance in the elections. From that amount, PDP got N245 million, ANPP that came second got N111 million and APGA that came third got a paltry N2.75 million. This is supported by official records, the money was not given out in cash by via cheque. Our auditors have also verified how we spent that money.

Signing of cheques alone
There is no truth in that, if they say I have been signing the cheques of the party alone, did I do that in one day, why have they waited for two years to make their accusations, let them bring evidence, because I have my evidence to show that they especially the national treasurer have been signing all the cheques of the party. I have made an application to the banks for photocopies of the cheques issued by the party which I intend to make available to all members of the national working committee of the party and representatives of the press on the 12th. Our audited account which INEC appointed an external auditor to do is there available and it is the national auditor that signed it showing the totality of the funds that came into the party.
Mr President and crises in APGA Mr. President has said it times without number, in fact it is written in his book "My command" that Nigeria would be united under one party state. He has also said a number of times that he would leave a legacy of a united Nigeria under one party and had even derided, the other three parties in the big league as regional parties. Every body knows what has happened in the AD, it has not recovered, it is a shadow of its old self.

It went into elections with eight governors, do not forget that two decamped to it, and came out with only one, that one is still dazed, the ANPP their crises is on going, and it would appear that APGA is the only one and we were even boasting that we were the most peaceful until they turned their search light on us, and chose our weakest link, but the only thing unfortunate for them and fortunate for us, is that in recruiting their agents of destabilization they recruited amateurs who have launched an amateurish attack.

Their paymasters are now living with their naivety.

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Comments (2)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown