APGA Primaries in Anambra: A Charade… a Travesty of Democracy, Justice & Good Conscience
by Hon. Ebele Onyekwelu
The APGA party slogan “BE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS KEEPER” was shamelessly betrayed. What an endearing and soothing party slogan it was to the psyche of the Igbo man before the self-centered schemers took over. Coming from the backdrop of extreme subjugation in the Nigerian polity and smarting from an excruciating and debilitating Civil War or is it genocide or ethnic cleansing, the Igbo man had thought that, at last with APGA, he could, for once, get it right as a people in the Nigerian equation. Alas, having experimented these past sixteen years with APGA and judging from what transpired at the recent House of Reps primaries in Anambra state, a family affair so to say, one could not but imagine the level of descent into the abyss of parochialism and barbarism into which the Igbo, a people, have descended.
To think of the level and weight of resources, in terms of time, energy and funds expended by individuals on the project, only for the powers that be to have the process skewed in favor of strangely preferred candidates, leaves much to be desired. In fact, what happened at the purported primaries could, at best, be described as ‘A Charade… A Travesty of Democracy, Justice and Good Conscience’.
Taking Idemili North & South Federal Constituency as a test case, the following summarizes how the party-primaries charade for APGA aspirants was orchestrated:
What unfolded was a sham of what was termed ward congresses to produce ad-hoc delegates which, added to the statutory delegates and few other principal officers of the party and few elected individuals, would form the bulk of the delegates to vote in the primary elections. But contrary to the guidelines, the names of the successful would-be delegates were never announced nor displayed for perusal until the day of the party primaries and at the primary ground proper where they were read out by the umpire.
The entertainment of complaints, as envisioned by the guidelines, was never done.
A large number of the statutory delegates were deliberately barred from entering the party primaries arena.
The names of the delegates, as read out, were handwritten instead of typed out.
A large number of the ad-hoc delegates were discovered to be nonparty members while some statutory delegates were shortchanged by nonparty members too.
The primary arena was flooded with over one hundred and fifty thugs brought in by the one of the aspirants in whose favor the whole exercise was skewed.
The ballot paper for the voting, as explained by the umpire, is grossly less in number than the total no of accredited delegates.
The total number of accredited delegates were not announced to the audience before voting commenced.
The result sheets, as displayed by the umpire, were photocopies and were unsigned.
The aspirants were not given the opportunity, as convention demands, to address the delegates before the voting commenced.
These and many other irregularities too numerous to mention made two out of the aspirants, namely my humble self, Hon. Ebele Onyekwelu JP and Dr. Theodore Okonkwo, to decline our participation and walked out of the primary ground and process, having considered in our candid opinion that we can never be part of any illegality in the name of a primary election. Of a truth, what happened was a total change of our party’s slogan from ‘Be Your Brothers and Sisters Keeper’ to “BE YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS KILLER”.
What transpired in Idemili North and South federal constituency was replicated in the remaining ten federal constituencies of Anambra state. It is an orchestrated attempt by whomsoever contrived the evil plot to tear down the very fabric of our dear party, APGA and return the Igbo man to the old heinous era of a marriage of strange bedfellows in the Nigerian equation.
Frankly, one could have wished that APGA, as a party, could gather its act together and get it right this time around; more so, as our national leader, Akpokuedike and his wife, Osodieme, had taken paid advertorials in the electronic media to debunk rumors that there are anointed candidates among the pack of aspirants in the party primaries.
This issue is so disheartening given that Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezi had, before now, boasted that having worked so hard for our governor, the party and the state who, judging from the quantum of work he did for them, are supposedly indebted to him had promised to pay him back with APGA ticket to the Federal House. We, as a party, must watch this worrisome trend or else we, by our own hands, might be digging the grave for the ultimate burial of our dear party… God forbid.
I write out of love and passion for our party and the Igbo man. I know that I am speaking the mind of our teeming faithful supporters. May God help APGA.