By EZE Amaeshi: 08068185335
One of the legacies of the great leader of the Igbo race, Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, at the hour of his departure to eternal glory was the gift of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the Igbo nation which has been a part of Nigerian federation since the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914 into one country called Nigeria. Ikemba Ojukwu, as the visionary he was, knew that the Igbos could never achieve their noble goals of respect, relevance, prosperity and security, if they should deal with the Nigeria question in different fragmentations called political parties. He wanted a united Igbo race that could face and negotiate with other Nigerian ethnic groups as a united force. This vision of Ikemba Ojukwu was understood by the cabal in Nigeria who have vowed to “contain” the Igbos and have them in subjugation as conquered people. And so the cabal went about to ensure that Ojukwu’s dream of a “free” Igbo race remained a pipe dream. They knew that Imo State, as the eastern heartland and Ojukwu’s most dependable people among the Igbo race, would champion the realization of this vision as they played a key role during the Nigerian/Biafran war as the motivation hub of the Biafran people. This informs why they have never allowed genuine APGA and Ojukwu’s followers rule Imo State since 2003 when the party participated in their first general election and overwhelmingly won the governorship election through Dr Ezekiel Izuogu. Though denied the victory, the accomplishment by APGA which was only less than a year old prior to the 2003 general elections jolted the powers that be in Nigeria who came to realize that the Ojukwu factor was very potent and influential among the Igbos, hence the need to ensure that APGA would never control Imo State. And I am surprised that the Igbos are used as agents by the anti-Igbo cabal in this highly orchestrated plot to keep Igbos in “check” by ensuring APGA never got far. Thus, some of them started pronouncing APGA ”dead.” Some called it a “cultural” association. Whatever they have done, APGA has proved to be an entity with a life of its own. APGA has a spirit. It is a movement for the emancipation of the Igbo race and once a movement has a spirit, it can never die again, as long as there is at least one man standing. Today, the last of the many buccaneers who have come into APGA have departed leaving the true owners to pick up the pieces. The members of APGA are happy that once again their party is in their own hands led by one of their own, Chief John Iwuala.
John Iwuala is a foundation member of APGA since 2002 it was registered. He has been a loyal and faithful APGA man. At one time he was the National Youth Leader, former Acting Chairman, former Chairman of APGA in Niger State, former candidate of APGA for Ezinihitte LGA election. Now, he is the State Caretaker Committee Chairman. There is no one more suited to lead Imo APGA at this critical time than Chief John Iwuala. He has paid his dues, there is no one genuine APGA members tcan be trusted to lead their party other than their own like Chief John Iwuala. Regardless of that impositions that Imo APGA had to contend with since 2011, people like Chief John Iwuala had remain loyal to the party’s national leadership and state leaders. They have never left the party. Even those aggrieved ones who were not pleased with the impositions, on hearing that Chief Iwuala had emerged State Caretaker Committee Chairman, returned to party. Iwuala is competent to lead APGA electoral victories in 2023. However, there are other things involved if APGA really want to win the 2023 general elections in Imo State.
First of all, the national leadership of the party must agree and decide to win Imo State in 2023. This is very important because decision to win naturally raises the question of how to win. The national leadership must not impose any candidate at any level on party members. This has been the major problem of Imo APGA since 2011. How could the national leadership allow and impose Rochas Okorocha in 2011, Captain Emma Iheanacho in 2015 and Chief Ifeanyi Araraume in 2019? They even imposed Barr. Peter Ezeobi as State Chairman. All these impositions brought untold catastrophic outcomes on the party that everyone had tipped to win the state’s governorship election. The 2019 general elections were the most painful to faithful APGA members. When 95% of Imolites were calling on APGA to conduct a credible primary election among the over 30 governorship aspirants and give them a guber candidate, somebody who joined the party barely two months was given the party’s governorship ticket.
APGA members and Imolites in general became disappointed and withdrew their support from APGA and the party was no longer counted among contestants. Today, those buccaneers who were on a mission to stop APGA from winning the 2019 elections have departed. It was a well orchestrated conspiracy against Ndigbo and our people were used to realise it. What a pity! This is now history. John Iwuala must not allow this to happen again! Bags of money alone don’t win elections. Credibility which consists of character and competence are always considered. Ordering party members and leaders to work with a candidate who is not acceptable to them cannot work. 2019 remains a case study for 2023, the national leadership must not allow a newcomer to APGA fly the ticket at any level. APGA must not be for sale to the highest bidder!
Secondly, Chief Iwuala needs to become the substantive Chairman of APGA in Imo State. He has done a lot already in re-building and re-positioning of the party and deservers to lead APGA into the 2023 general elections.
Thirdly, the state and LGA leadership of the party must respect any zoning arrangement in operation anywhere.
Fourthly, APGA should now position itself as the main opposition party in the state. APGA should form a sort of shadow cabinet of competent party members to scrutinize every action or inaction of the present administration and keep them in check in all areas.
Fifthly, the State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief John Iwuala must run an open-door policy.
He should welcome criticisms, especially those that are well-intentioned. As a leader he must tolerate the shortcomings of his people and actually be a servant-leader, coach, and mentor. No sentiment should be allowed other than the sentiment of a vision of APGA winning the 2023 general elections in Imo.
The Chairman needs competent advisers. He must practice task delegation and empowerment and should resist the temptation of doing everything alone while sidelining his compatriots. In short, the task of APGA being strong enough to win the 2023 general elections is a collective responsibility.
Finally, Chief John Iwuala needs support and encouragement of APGA loyalists to succeed. A tree does not make a forest. Iwuala is not perfect and no human being is perfect indeed. He will surely make mistakes as a human being, but the sincerity of his heart must not be over looked.
APGA leaders at all levels must remember that everything rises and falls on leadership. Carry everyone along and reconcile aggrieved members. With a united APGA in Imo and other South East states, Ikemba Ojukwu’s vision of the Igbo race with a united voice in the Nigerian project, significance and secured will become a reality. Igbos cannot achieve anything in Nigeria without coming under one umbrella which APGA provides. The Yoruba’s are an example!