We are prepared to accommodate everybody in Ebonyi APC – Emeghia
Stanley Okoro Emeghia is the caretaker committee chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Ebonyi state. He spoke to our correspondent, RUTH OGINYI on his plan to move the state forward having stepped into a very big shoe as the Chairman of the ruling party in the country.
What is your party doing to appease your members who may feel threatened by the defection of Governor David Umahi and his probable take-over of the party structure in Ebonyi state?
We are reaching out to everybody. It’s not that some of the stakeholders didn’t know that their paramount interest was the movement and the progress of the party, rather, there was no common front for them to rub minds together and understand what we are doing now. We are reaching out more especially to the new caretaker committee, first on individual ground, assuring them that there is no point of struggling for anything; that everybody’s opinion must be considered.
You are leading the party at a very turbulent political period in the state after the governor’s defection. How do you intend to proceed even when your friends are still in the PDP?
If you take to biblical aspect, there is no time the Israelites were moving from one place to a better that there was no turbulence on the way. I am telling you thar all these things are about reaching out to people, talking to them. Those my friends in PDP cannot come out and say that Governor Umahi has not performed. If the Governor is saying that he wants to contest for president, it will be a pride for any Ebonyi man. So, we should be proud. So, those people that are there in the other side, are there because they have not come to understanding of the genuine belief that the governor is working. We will explain to them and, before long, all of them will join us. Nobody is going to join issues with anybody. We are talking about peace.
In 2003, the state was sharply divided into an Abuja group and state (home) group with Governor Sam Egwu and then senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim, engaged in a political fight that led to loss of lives. Now, we are gradually entering into such fight. What is your take on this?
It is a practical thing which all of us here in the state know. Start from number one to the last national assembly member that is there, does any of them have the capacity to win councillorship election? Is it not the governor that made them to be National Assembly members? Can Dr Sam Egwu come out and say yes, this was how he won his two elections to the senate? Some of these people don’t have capacity, they don’t at all. It is just that they have gone to Abuja and then they feel they have arrived.
So, let us see how popular they are in their various areas. They will return to APC because they know that the governor has done wonders in the state within a space of five years which they all know and they are enjoying them. Let them stay in Abuja. We will welcome them if they come but if I tell you that there is going to be any crisis in the state like in 2003, it is not true. We are wiser now and time is past for such range of crisis.
PDP is supposed to be owned by Igbo but what is happening now? None of these our national assembly members are saying anything about the way the Igbo get treated in it. You will come here and run down to River state to be a slave to somebody. We are not a third-class state. We are part of Nigeria and very courageous to determine what is due for our state and that is what we are doing. Instead of them to rally round our governor, these so-called national assembly members are talking rubbish because some of them want to go for 4th term. When will you breed another person? Somebody has been in power for getting to 24 years and you have nothing to show for it.
You have just been inaugurated by the National Working Committee of the APC to be in charge of the state APC. What plans are you making to ensure that the party is strong in the state?
Within just two weeks that the national working committee of our great party came and inaugurated us, we have held a meeting with the former executive committee members at the local government, zonal and state levels. We made it very clear that we are one united family and nobody is left behind, all of us moving together.
After this meeting, we are going to embark on local government tours to know how our members are faring and then get their offices very prepared for them. If there is an area that is not too good for them, we will change it and then make sure that they have very comfortable places that they can stay and then be interacting with people.
Some of your party members support the governor’s defection into the party while some do not, even distancing themselves from party activities. What are you doing to unify them?
The people that do not support it are a minority and we believe very strongly they still need an explanation and we will let them understand. We are still reaching out to them, to let them know that it is the best thing that is happening, and at the very best time.
There are factions in the party and the one led by a senator is believed to have spearheaded the governor’s defection while the other faction led by a minister appears to still be at the periphery, even after the dissolution of the state working committee of the party. What are you doing to end the factionalisation in the party in Ebonyi state?
You know, all the factions were dissolved by the National Working Committee of the party and Chief Ogbonnaya Onu is an elder statesman whose interest, from the innermost heart, is for the progress of the party. Both factions (are now) dissolved and in a united house. I believe very strongly that the most important thing is to carry everybody along and there is no way his opinion in the house, and as a father, will not be listened to.
I believe very strongly that the party has a constitution and we are all working on guidelines of the constitution. So, the decision by the national working committee of our party, in dissolving the factions in the state, is the best decision and then I believe very strongly that in a matter of time now, all of them will come to a round conference table. It’s just understanding and we are very prepared to accommodate everybody in Ebonyi APC and ensure that everybody come back together.