Anambra APC:Yesteryears. are gone
By Jones Akora
One recurrent poser in the post- June 26,2021 struggle to eliminate internal, semi-external, and complementary external compromise of primaries, and congresses in Anambra State Chapter of APC has been whether such happened in the past and what today’s protagonists did in response.
Is it a legitimate question to ask?
My dispassionate view is that it is. But after that, attention needs to shift to the response by the Vanguard of the struggle , which cannot but be legitimate as well.
Whats wrong with the convergence of two legitimate questions? It can only lead to a discourse, and in
turn to a new paradigm.
To deepen this understanding, those who study the Bible will agree that when God wanted an apostle to lead the conquest of conversion, he had loyalists but chose to convert a non-loyalist.
His timing was calculated to coincide with when this enemy was on a mission against Christians. God struck him with blindness in a singular incident that made Damascus popular.
He, being almighty, created the challenge, providing the solution and led the reorientation of the target.
‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ was His way of signaling his personal leadership in the project which ended up with a new name, Paul. Through a new, identity, the end one era ended, and another began.
Why has the story , of Saul/Paul become useful in illustrating the struggle of a state chapter and a party.
Whateve people did in the past; whatever they did not do, and to the extent each was done and undone in the past quickly pale into insignificance when the critical mass in a polity get to that inflex point to declare that enough is enough, or to bring it home ‘ our mumu don do’
Yet, to appreciate it even more, it is not the individuals to which fingers have been pointed that define what becomes of the democratic events of congresses and primaries.
Rather, the National leadership of every political party in Nigeria, no less APC, have been the custodians of policies and laws guiding these events and have taken the credit and flaks for successes and failures respectively.
So when a June 26 primaries which ought to be fair to all and be true to the stipulations of its guidelines, developed by the National Secretariat of the party, guided still by the APC Constitution fails in Anambra State, it should not be in doubt who failed primarily. But secondary failure is not a conjecture.
The hen reportedly said that when it raises an alarm that the kite has snatched its chicks, its not doing so for any force to fly up and retrieve the little domestic birds, but that the world may know her predicament.
From the core message of this age-old Igbo proverb comes the nucleus of understanding the failure at chapter level which has defined the struggle to retrieve the party and her values.
To journey through the past in issue, in 2018 the National Leadership of the party sent a team of seven persons led by Barr. Bisi Idaomi to conduct primaries in Anambra State to arrive at candidates in the legislative elections of February 2019.
Although Barr. Idaomi is of Esan stock in Edo State where Oshiomhole comes from , intelligence and a conspiracy of events have shown that she might as well be a native of Uga in Anambra State.
Bisi was hijacked from Enugu International Airport by agents of Sen. Uche Ekwunife and Andy Uba and diverted to Nike Lake Hotels, Enugu, Enugu State, with all election materials.
When party members gathered in 326 wards to vote in Direct Primaries to choose their candidates, results generated in Enugu made their way back to Enugu Airport and the safe custody Oshiomhole national Secretariat, manned by Mai Mala Buni as National Secretary.
Anambra APC members dispersed in anger. A new culture of impunity had invaded from a bunch that came a year before to use the incumbency of APC in the Federal Government to their own ends, which no doubt differs from that of PDP where the bulk came from.
Aspirants to various legislative offices addressed the press. Among them were Nelson Onubogu
who had the pathetic challenge of losing his bid for a ticket to represent Anambra North Senatorial District to a non-member of the party at the time who had a classmate in Abuja high places and who never obtained any forms before the deadline.
Also in the resistance were Chief Azuka Okwuosa, two-time Commisioner in Anambra State gunning for Anambra South, Hon. Ebele Obi, who represented Idemili South state Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly and wanted to fast-track to the Senate for Anambra Central among many House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates.
Then the battle shifted to Abuja, literally for a second round in the stock exchange.
Petitions followed. Two petitioners attached official chapter press statements issued against the lack of conduct of the primaies, yet the arrival at results. To who? one may ask. To an arbiter or a master mind?
Reconciliations were fixed for Anambra State and later moved to Abuja and in the Kano State Liason office. Predictably it broke down. Another team was led by Godswill Akpabio former governor of Akwa Ibom State, himself then a fresh decampee from PDP came for reconciliation rituals and as expected, nothing was ever heard about the visit of his committee after.
Naturally, dialogue finally broke down. Litigations came. Uche Ekwunife ran away from the party, into PDP. A second voiding of primaries would have hurt her career. Some won, some lost. Some did not file on time and some felt demoralized. The certified true copy of INEC report supported the positiom that there were no primaries. This was 2018.
And the election? Disastrous! Andy Uba with his unclean ticket was the fourth out of four strong contenders. Ifeanyi Ubah emerged from new YPP, Chris Uba placed second for PDP, APGA came third.
Many such examples of heist may have happened earlier, but 2018 became the worst and hence the turning point.
That background preceeded the making of the June 26,2021 APC primaries ,this time under the elevated but less legitimate hands of Mai Mala Buni, now Governor of Yobe State as well as Chairman Caretaker Committee, with unanswered questions from the APC Constitution and a ‘tenure’ continously improving in elasticity against, objective.
Like 2018,like 2021, one would say.
When guidelines were delayed, when wrong collation centres for Anambra State were published and sent to INEC, when protests of aspirants were ignored, and ,when stakeholders meeting had to take place late night on account of delays in Imo State and those sent to Anambra State left the state same night, only to camouflage with a hotel outside the state capital the next day, a seige had been laid to Anambra State Chapter of APC.
When objections were raised by the state chapter, local government party chairmen and aspirants in the botched primaries, and most remarkably the leader of the party Sen. Dr. Chris Ngige, and the response was divide-and- rule, the intent of Buni’s Abuja and a handful of 2023-ambitious collaborators were confirmed.
The deliberate formula seems to have worked in Ebonyi and Abia States. With the actions, or inactions of Sen. Ken Nnamani it seems Enugu Chapter is divided. Nnamani had also without illustration claimed to be an observer in the rape against Anambra State APC, one of the five chapters he ought to be representing in the Interim National Leadership, with or without mandate.
If only he had gone there on a democratic mandate.
Yet, such is the high stake in the plague dropped in Anambra State Chapter of APC by ambitious persons struggling to keep the South East out of the 2023 bargain, using liliputians from within.
Those who favour this outcome may exercise their rght of choice, by joining the renegades who stole primaries and were caught by the courts, or join those who built and nurtured the chapter and are ready to do more, despite human shortcomings that everyone has.
One predictble outcome though is that the latter would prevail, and Anambra APC will never be the same again.
Akora writes from Ekwulobia