It was a scheduled meeting of N-APGA, a supposed splinter group of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, of the Imo State chapter, at a popular location on Whetheral Road Owerri, the State Capital. The meeting was scheduled at the office donated by one of the aggrieved aspirants who lost out in the governorship race, Uche Onyeagocha.
As at 9.am, an attendant in the make shift office arranged the seats and dusted the tables awaiting influx of members as usual. But at 4pm of the same day, when the attendant wanted to lock the office and step out for onward home movement, no one had arrived. The meeting of N-APGA recorded zero percent attendance beginning of the end to the group.
What happened on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 barely a month, N-APGA wave swept across the state is a reverse of events witnessed after the party primaries that produced Ifeanyi Godwin Araraume was concluded.
Typical of the system obtainable in the country’s political structure, a group of aspirants who wanted APGA party ticket to governor Imo State in 2019 wasted no second to from alliance with an intent to resist the emergeance of Araraume as the governorship candidate of the party.
Jolted by the manner the two- time Senator who represented Okigwe zone picked the ticket, the group led by the ex-governor of the state and aspirants, Ikedi Ohakim nominated a former lawmaker and aspirant Ike .C.Ibe to be the protem chair.
After exhibiting signs of massive war chest to obstruct APGA proceedings against having Araraume as the candidate, the N-APGA appears to have become a history only to be remembered as part of the thrills and frills trailing the 2019 primaries in Imo State political hemisphere.
In the build up to the governorship primaries of political parties in the State, one platform that excited watchers of politics was that of APGA.
From a very unattractive posture in 2015 election, the party showed enormous trappings that witnessed Armada of aspirants into it in 2018. Most of those who trooped in sought the party’s ticket to become governor of the state come next year.
The countdown also saw the entrance of Araraume. A seasoned politician and two- time Senator who represented Imo North Senatorial district, his sojourn in the party enjoying grassroots support of the Igbo folk undoubtedly changed the tide in the race for the governorship ticket.
Coming with a solid political structure known as Destiny Organisation, unrivalled in the state, in terms of years of operation, followership and capacity to deliver, the Senator didn’t hide his desire to pocket the governorship ticket if the confidence he exhibited was considered. In the first appearance in APGA function at Awka, the Anambra State capital, Araraume indicated enormous signal as the man to beat in the race with an intimidating entourage that not only had quality personalities in the field of politics but also capped his maiden outing in the party with the donation of a handsome amount of money that made him the highest donor from Imo State.
Back home, the familiarization visit to the party office in Owerri was epoch-making as it left memorable taste in the minds of the party officials who got a lifeline. The Senator in his magnanimity offered a monthly allowance to party officials, a remarkable trademark that has earndered him to the party officials.
Before then, a deluge of aspirants had been formed. From different party platforms came contestants who protuberated the number of guber seekers. From PDP came Bright Nwanne, Charles Onyeagbako and Humphrey Anumudu who were part of the umbrella party’s 2015 governorship race. On a lone range into the Okokoroko party after dumping Okorocha in APC were Onyeagocha, Nick OparaNdudi, and Obi Njoku, while freshers like Frank Nneji of the ABC Transport fame and Stanley Amuchie were not left out too in the sojourn. Two old timers who wanted the APGA 2015 tickets, Okey Eze and Ike C Ibe also showed fresh interest without forgetting the involvement of former governor, Ikedi Ohakim.
The Friday October 5, 2018 date of the governorship primaries set the stage for the mother of all showdown in APGA. After it failed to hold on two occasions, the exercise finally took place on October 7, to enable the party beat the deadline as prescribed by INEC and avoid losing the right to fly a governorship candidate for 2019 election. Reports have it that Araraume won.
The declaration of Araraume as winner sparked off negative reactions from majority of other contestants who boycotted the primaries when it became apparently clear that the Senator was destined to emerge victorious. The aggrieved aspirants resorted to protest and in the process formed the N-APGA.
Apart from calling for the rejection of Araraume and disapproval to the leadership structure at the national stage of the party, the N-APGA had one of its progenitors and governorship aspirants, Ike. C. Ibe as chairman. A court case against the emergence of Araraume was also instituted by the group asking INEC not to recognize the APGA candidate.
But before the N-APGA could be domiciled, the project has become a past tense as the APGA ticket losers have abandoned the New APGA project to face fresh challenges in other party platforms ahead 2019.
The premature death of N- APGA began when one of the vocal members behind the donation of office, Onyeagocha shifted support to the PDP governorship candidate. The former Owerri Fed Constituency House member who may did not realize the importance of Owerri zone for Governor in 2011 and 2015 when he strongly backed Governor Rochas Okorocha’s first and second tenures, after losing the APGA guber ticket, now intensified his clamour that 2019 is for his zone, by romancing PDP candidate, Emeka Ihedioha. Hours after Araraume emerged; Onyeagocha who came up with the N-APGA concept hosted the PDP candidate at his Obinze, Owerri West country home where he declared interest to back the Ihedioha project. Invariably, Onyeagocha’s body language indicates the N-APGA was a wishful thinking after the lost of party primaries.
A Nunc Dimitis song for the N-APGA was the manner some of the major signatories to the first public stalement of the group quickly dashed into other parties to snatch governorship tickets already won by others. Before INEC closed shop for publication of candidates name, the likes of Okey Eze, and protem chairman of the dieing N-APGA Ike C Ike, had booked another platform to pursue their ambition thereby making the resistance outfit, a foregone alternative. Another major stakeholder behind the New APGA project, Ikedi Ohakim was also linked to Accord party, while Humphrey Anumudu has Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), in his kitty to contest the 2019 election.
In SDP, Okey Eze is tenaciously holding the governorship ticket the acclaimed winner, Casmir Anyanwu is crying foul, by alleging that his ticket has been stolen from one of those who had formed N-APGA becasue Araraume won. It will not be surprising to see the emergence of N-SDP orchestrated by Anyanwu and supporters against Okey Eze, whose associates spoiled for war against Araraume with the N-APGA stunt after the Senator emerged victorious.
One of the N-APGA progenitors spotted at the Federal High Court, Owerri during the case against Araraume, Ohakim is relying on the Dec 2nd 2018 last day of window granted to parties for Accord party to insert his name against the one earlier submitted to the electoral body. Should the arrangement finally work out as planned, the former governor will concentrate on becoming Imo State next governor than dissipitate energy and resources on a malfunctioning N-APGA.
Ohakim, Ike.C Ibe, Anumudu and Okey Eze’s quest to continue their governorship interest in other political platforms has reduced their N-APGA project to an abandoned project condemned into history books.