By Ikeugonna Eleke and Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
As lobbying continues in Abuja, the country’s seat of power, over the appointment of ministers into the President Bola Tinubu-led Government, the Anambra State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has marshaled out plans to ensure that only diligent, faithful and card carrying members of the party are given appointments in the new administration.
Fides gathered that the reason for the decision was because of past experiences that the party had with appointees of the Federal Government during President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight year term.
A source from the party who did not want to be named, said: ‘The former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, is an example of how the party has suffered in the hands of some people.
‘He got the ministerial appointment because of the platform of APC, but after his appointment, even though he was then seen as the leader of the party in the state, he did nothing to improve the party.
‘The two times that we fielded governorship candidates in 2017 and 2021, with Tony Nwoye and Andy Uba, respectively, as our candidates, he sabotaged the party as a minister.
‘As an appointee of the Federal Government who is making money from such appointment, Ngige was supposed to be funding the state chapter of the party, but he never did. Young party men were supposed to be getting appointments through him, but the only people he empowered were people from his community, Alor.’
The outcome of the 2021 Governorship Election where APC gave its ticket to Andy Uba, who was opposed by Ngige, had brought a bitter war in the party which led Uba to assume the role of the leader of the party in Anambra, toppling Ngige who was a minister and highest ranking officer of the party in the state.
Fides also learnt that some of the reasons that the party is insisting on only party men who are noticeable and vibrant in the chapter to be given appointments was because the party is finding it difficult to remain afloat without funding.
This much was however corroborated in a stakeholders’ meeting of the State chapter on Saturday. The meeting, which had only select stakeholders in attendance, was convened to tackle salient issues that concerned the party.
The stakeholders in the meeting made a resolution that only party members in the state will be given appointments.
The party resolved that in order not to have infiltrators who will be given appointments from outside and would later forget the party, there was need to write down the names of 50 prominent and recognizable members from all the 21 local government areas of the state for submission to the Federal Government for considerations for appointments.
The meeting stated that the two ministers expected from Anambra would be chosen from the list, same for other appointments, including heads of agencies and parastatals, and heads and membership of boards of organisations.
The state chairman of the party, Mr Basil Ejidike, who presided over the meeting, said the Tinubu presidency would not be business as usual. He said the era when people bypassed state chapters of their party to move to Abuja and buy appointments was over. He said Tinubu as a great party man and politician would give long suffering members of the party in the state the enablement to reap from their hard work over the years.
He said: ‘Anambra APC is now more positioned because President Tinubu is a politician and a core party man. We are hopeful that the labours of our hands in the party will be rewarded under President Tinubu.’
Giving credence to funding, as a major challenge of the party, Ejidike inaugurated three committees, including finance committee, which will fashion out ways the party can be getting funds to run its affairs.
The inaugurated committees are; finance, eminent and disciplinary committees. Ejidike said there was need for the party to have a disciplinary committee to sanitize the party. We are also inaugurating the eminent committee, and then the finance committee.
‘The essence of political party is to win election, and where we fail to win election, we would be a mere social club. It is from our members who are elected into offices that the party is funded. The finance committee will come together and fashion out ways to source funds to run the party.
Prominent members of the party were appointed into the finance committee, with Engr Azuka Okwuosa and Amb Elijah Onyeagba as chairman and secretary. A source within the party said the committee would monitor those to be appointed into offices in Tinubu’s government and now impose levies to be returned monthly to the party for its running.
The state chairman, Chief Basil Ejidike, who spoke with Fides, said his executive had been working round the clock to ensure unity in the party, including visiting all governorship aspirants of the party in the last Governorship Election in Anambra State to seek ways to reconcile everyone. He said there had been positive feedback.
‘Anyone who is still bearing grudges is not telling himself the truth because we have thrashed out all the problems and all we need is to forge ahead,’ Ejidike said.
He also added that time had passed when people abandoned the state chapter of the party and moved to Abuja and bought ministerial appointment for themselves and later abandon the party.
‘We are working to see that only Anambra APC members are appointed,’ he insisted.