By Jude Atupulazi
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, says the Peter Obi factor in the presidential and national assembly elections affected the fortunes of the party, resulting in an underwhelming performance.
In those elections, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, won two out of the three senatorial seats in the state, while the Young People’s Party, YPP, won the remaining seat. APGA’s sole senator in the state, Sir Victor Umeh, lost his seat to Senator Mrs Uche Ekwunife of PDP. Also in the House of Representatives elections, PDP won the majority seats, reports Jude Atupulazi.
But speaking with Fides in separate interviews, the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye and the Anambra State chairman, Mr Nobert Obi, attributed the outcome of those elections to what they called the Peter Obi factor. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, was the vice presidential candidate of PDP.
According to Oye, however, the Obi factor created a confusion among the electorate in the state, with many believing that Obi was in the ballot.
‘The Obi factor played a major role in that round of elections according to people’s perception, even though it was a wrong judgement. They were just carried away in the euphoria and went that route in error and in the end, you saw the result. They thought Obi was in the ballot, while it was Atiku (Abubakar) that was,’ Oye said, noting however that even if Atiku had won, it would have made no positive difference to the Igbo people.
He said that APGA had continued to gain momentum in the country with big inroads in such states as Kaduna, Niger, Bayelsa, Taraba, Abia, Imo and Benue States where, he said, the party won election into different seats.
‘APGA has progressed beyond what she had before now and is growing in leaps and bounds. She has made inroads in hitherto impossible places,’ Oye said.
For Norbert Obi, the Obi factor gave APGA a raw deal in the presidential and national assembly. He however thanked God that APGA recovere3d lost ground in the state assembly elections where it won 24 out of the 30 seats on offer.
Apart from the Obi factor however, Norbert Obi blamed APGA’s poor performance on the party’s primaries which he described as poorly managed.
‘We had a poorly managed primary elections. I don’t mince words about this. People who should not interfere in the affairs of the party came in and interfered. People who should not have been candidates were foisted on the party and we lost woefully. Some of us saw this coming,’ he said, noting that although APGA did not do well in the initial elections, it bounced back in the last one and would continue to dominate the state.
As the way forward, he said the party was going to be reorganized to enthrone credible people at the helm of affairs of the party during the party’s next convention in June this year.
On the way forward for Ndigbo, Oye said until the Igbo Nation learnt to be united, the presidency would continue to elude her. He regretted the lack of great leadership among the Igbo as was in the days of Nnamdi Azikiwe, noting that the Igbo Nation needed a visionary, pragmatic, trustworthy and charismatic leader.
He flayed the Ohaneze Ndigbo for not providing such leadership to the Igbo Nation, pointing out that the body was now even divided.
On the calls for his resignation by a section of the party membership, Oye described those behind it as ignorant and being manipulated by forces behind the scenes.
It will be recalled that a group within APGA known as APGA Aggrieved Aspirants, had in a press conference asked for the resignation of Oye as national chairman of APGA over the conduct of the primaries of the party, alluding that the tickets went to the highest bidders, even as they demanded a refund of their monies.
But Oye swore to Fides that he did not collect any money from anyone during the primaries.
‘Who are they to demand a refund from me? Did they pay to me? Nobody among them gave me a farthing. They’re very unfair. Power belongs to people; not to charlatans. They paid money to the party and the money is still there. They know the guidelines, part of which says that party will make the final decision. What they’re now doing is what is called crowd syndrome,’ Oye barked.