Certainly, Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegw Ojukwu (Ikemba Nnewi) was a symbol of Igbo identity just like All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), a political party so dear to him that he invested heavily in its formation and success stories.
In life, Ojukwu apart from being a war lord was also a political oracle whose political activities cut-across so many political parties, but in all these, the political icon have special passion with APGA and thus gave her the slogan –Nke a bu nke anyi (this is our own) and its followership in Igbo land was like a hurricane among the masses. It was institutionalized grassroot oriented.
Yes, the formation of APGA in 2003 with Ojukwu as her Presidential flag bearer had the political colouration and stamp as an Igbo party and the party lavishly using Ojukwu’s picture as a symbol of integrity, transparency and acceptance. Members of BIM/MASSOB embraced the party with passion and galvanized its activities.
In Igbo land, Ojukwu equally represents true face of Love, Unity and Hope of the ethnic group and thus, most of her populace was passionately attached to him and all he stands for.
It was then not a mistake or a surprise that the acceptance of APGA in the Igbo land was like a hurricane and the people still kept faith with the party even years after the death of this great patriot just to honour, protect and sustain what he stood for.
The party for years have enjoyed tremendous goodwill and acceptance despite been seen as a regional party that even years after the death of their hero they have not been able to produced a presidential candidate of their own rather each election year they go into the adoption of presidential candidate of the ruling party.
Unfortunately, APGA fritted the hope, love and confidence the people reposed in them following imposition and impunity that allegedly characterized the conducts of their last primaries in the states of Imo, Anambra and Abia. The outcome of the primaries has polarized the party and its leadership engulfed in series of accusations and counter accusations.
Since the conclusion of political parties’ primary for the 2019 general elections, APGA as a political party is seen as a party that has murdered sleep as efforts to reconcile the aggrieved members always ends in deadlock. Many principal actors are dumping the party and the leadership stalled with litigations. The party despite ruling Anambra State currently is torpedo in crises of trust and confidence.
Unexpectedly and unlike the previous years, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu annual memorial lecture always sponsored by Chief Ralph Uwazuruka led Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) and Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and held every 26th of November in remembrance of the day he died at the prestigious Ojukwu memorial library, New Owerri in Imo State used to be part of the political smoke screen used to elevate APGA and its political activities, as the outlawed freedom fighting group identifies Ojukwu as their critical hero, leader, patriot and ambassador whose mission and vision must be guided jealously.
Unfortunately this year ceremony which was as usual graced by over 20,000 guests diminished and compounded APGA woes and its prospect of rejuvenating ahead of 2019 general elections as the duo of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and Iyom Bianca Ojukwu, Wife of Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu took time to lambast, discredit and casted aspersion on the party and its leadership.
They were aggrieved on the way and manner the party leadership allegedly conspired and denied Iyom Ojukwu the Anambra South senatorial ticket despite her contributions and that of her late husband and their Idol made to uplift and repositioned the party.
The occasion which was chaired by Chief Yul Edochie, a renowned Nollywood Actor and compeered by Miss Nkiru Sylvanus, another internationally recognized Nollywood actress as Chief Uwazuruike and Ojukwu’s wife poured vitriolic venom and vote of no confidence on APGA and her national leadership.
According to Chief Ralph Uwazuruike “Anybody, group or organization that insults Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu and all he stands for whether dead or alive have insulted the integrity of Igbo nation and must be punished. APGA and her leadership insulted Ojukwu by unjustly denied her wife-Iyom Bianca Ojukwu Senatorial ticket despite interventions. In view of this, APGA have no respect for Ojukwu and the family and therefore must be punished. No Igboman should vote for APGA in 2019 general elections, my group will definitely work against the party in every part of Igboland, APGA represents evil, it is a political party of thieves” he stated.
As if that was not enough, Iyom Bianca Ojukwu, as the Chief Host of the occasion who attended the well organized ceremony with members of her campaign team from Nnewi likened her experience during the senatorial primary as entering one chance bus noting APGA leadership under High Chief Victor Oye as “Fraudulent, ingratitude and selfish”.
The embattled senatorial aspirant while expressing gratitude to the crowd and leadership of BIM/MASSOB for their sacrifices in honouring her husband yearly noted Ojukwu as a man that believed so much in Igbo identity and touched people’s life through visionary and purposeful leadership as well as strict adherence to democratic principles and ethos.
According to her, “Ojukwu as the face of APGA believes in equity, fairness and social justice. Ojukwu was a democrat that championed a course for good governance and service to humanity but the present leadership of APGA under High Chief Victor Oye lacks these sterling qualities. All they know is money and impunity. They have no respect for my husband and all he stood for” she lamented.
She expressed dismay that all those who used her husband pictures in their campaigns and won governorship, national and State assemblies elections have never been at the memorial lecturer to honour the man they prophesied that they loved and cherished.
The Nigerian beauty queen who was also the country’s Ambassador in Spain recalled the motivational principles of Ojukwu’s Ahiara declaration speech while called on High Chief Victor Oye to resign as a National Chairman of APGA and refund all the money he allegedly took from aspirants during the party’s last primaries.
According to her “I reiterate my earlier calls that Mr. Victor Oye should resign for (allegedly) bringing shame to APGA. He must refund all the money he (allegedly) defrauded Innocent but naive aspirants. He (allegedly) sexually abused some female aspirants using his vintage position. Each day Oye stays in office further is an insult and disgrace to Igbo nation. The world is placing curses on APGA and her leadership for (allegedly) murdering democracy” she posited.
Ojukwu’s wife further accused the leadership of APGA of being insensitive and selfish, informing that “it is shameful that the party for the past 5 years despite my incessant request and plead to the National Chairman for APGA to host and sponsor a memorial lecture for Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, a founding father and symbol of the party, he bluntly refused but for 8 years now, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike have been doing same here in Owerri.”
To demonstrate her seriousness in her statement to APGA and her leadership, she further said “If Mr. Victor Oye did not resign soon, God Almighty will (allegedly) judge him and disgrace him accordingly. The last thing I will tell Igbo people is to sabotage Igbo interest. In 2019, the people should not because of money resist from voting credibility, integrity and transparency. The bone will rise again. The Egyptians you see today, you may see them no more. We will rebuild all the things the locust and cankerworms have eaten and devastated. I will not subscribe to APGA kind of peace, you cannot murder justice at the altar of peace. For genuine peace to hold, all those leaders who betrayed the party’s trust must resign and the peoples money refunded. There are things we shouldn’t encourage as a political party that believes in family affair Ndigbo must love themselves and stop stabbing each other at the back. What is the essence of Onye Aghala Nwa Nne ya?” she queried.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion Chief Yul Edochie (Ezedike I of Nteje) painted an ugly picture of his political experiences as a gubernatorial candidate during the 2017 Anambra State governorship election but vowed to Trajan on despite the challenges.
Edochie who thanked Chief Uwazuruike for organizing such a world class memorial lecture recalled that after the end of the civil war in 1970, that it was as if the Biafran Republic and her ideals have been forgotten until in 1999 when the leader of BIM/MASSOB started canvassing for the sovereignty of the ethnic group which he said is achievable through non violence strategic approach.
The youthful Nollywood Actor who also advocated for brotherly love and unity of purpose among Igbos further enjoined Ndigbo to lend their support and cooperation to Chief Uwazuruike for his commitment in fighting for the ethnic group interests.
HRH Eze Prof Amobi Uwaleke, who presented the memorial lecture titled – Igbo is One, extolled the virtues of late Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu especially as it concerned education, military, politics and leadership.
Uwaleke revealed that Igbos sustained the civil war for three years with ill equipped military forces and equipment, a feat he said was not easy noting Ojukwu as a hero who is dead but alive.
He advised on the need to declare the memorial lecture date a public holiday in Igboland as way of given further honour and respect to Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu while soliciting support for Chief Ralph Uwazuruike’s Independence.
In his sermon, Archbishop Chukwuereka Iheanacho noted that with political impasses being witnessed by major political parties in the country that a battle-line has been drawn to threaten the unity of the nation and that very soon the country may disintegrate.
From the above scenario, it is obvious that APGA is enmeshed in crisis barely three months to the general elections and the gladiators are certainly not blinking. The political war has crescendo to ego threat and here in lies the problem. APGA which is known as one of Igbos identity should not be allowed to die due to the avarice of few men.
Everest Ezihe 08033751078