Ngige emerges APC candidate for Anambra gov election •APGA: Okwu drags Umeh to court
by Dapo Falade and Christian Okeke
The All Progressives Congress (APC), on Wednesday, adopted Senator Chris Ngige as its flag-bearer in the Anambra State governorship election scheduled to take place in November.
The adoption was followed with the raising up of Ngige’s hand by the Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, at the first interactive meeting of the elders and leaders of the party which took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who announced the name of the serving senator as the preferred APC candidate ahead of Mr Ani Okonkwo, said the adoption was a fallout of an inclusive meeting of the party leaders in state.
Also congratulating Ngige, another chieftain of the party, Chief Tom Ikimi, said he had always assured the senator that he would once again govern Anambra State and advised Okonkwo to patiently wait for his turn.
The meeting also witnessed the inauguration of the party’s Interim Executive Committee (IEC), headed by Chief Bisi Akande.
In his welcome address, the APC Interim National Chairman said the party came on board in the quest to save the country from total collapse and reposition it on the route to a modern and stable democratic nation.
“The philosophy underpinning the coming into being of the APC therefore is the determination to bring the country back from the brink of collapse, despair, and possible disintegration; reposition it decisively on the route to emerging into a modern stable democratic nation, with a productive economy that is based on equity and justice for all citizens”, he said.
The APC chairman said the party would be able to achieve the task through the harnessing of what he described as the abundant energies, enterprise and intellect of all Nigerians.
“It is common knowledge that our country has for many years now been confronted by fundamental, daunting and multi-dimensional challenges. This is clearly indicated by the recurring crises that bedevil its social fabric, political processes, structure of governance and, indeed, its economic and developmental processes. The result is that the nation and its citizenry continue to exist in a state of near permanent trauma.
“In its over 50 years of independence, Nigeria has suffered seven military coups resulting in 28 years of military rule, the tragedy of a civil war, twelve constitutions, and a little over 20 years of civil democratic rule. Added to these are countless incidents of religious, ethnic, political and civil unrests leading to the loss of millions of innocent lives.
“Trapped in a vicious cycle of political crises, social upheavals and economic under-development, Nigeria has become, not only one of the most unstable countries in the world, it is also, regrettably, one of the poorest despite its huge human and material resource endowments.
“We believe that at the core of the paralysing challenges confronting Nigeria today is the failure of governance which is manifested in the continuing inability of the Nigerian State to meet the basic requirements and aspirations of the nation and of it’s citizenry.
“Confronting these issues in a single minded manner is the raison de’tre for the formation of APC. The task before our party therefore is clearly cut out, that is, to create a partnership with the people to decisively change both tone and substance of governance in the country.
“The Nigerian State must not only be strengthened but reconstituted to become the veritable tool of resolving and managing the fundamental challenges confronting the nation,” he said.
Akande listed the challenges to include national unity and integration, threats to security, law and order, assuring that they can be surmounted through rapid economic growth with equity, protecting and consolidating the emerging democratic tradition and priotisation of human development in health and education and creating employment opportunities for the youth, among others.
He also told the gathering that the tenure of the newly-inaugurated IEC would be short, adding that its immediate area of responsibility was to mobilise its adherents and supporters for membership registration and conduct of congresses to produce leadership of substance for the party ahead of the 2015 general election.
“Today’s occasion therefore is to commence that process of sensitising our members and millions of supporters all over the country on who we are and what we stand for, as a party that represents and champions the aspirations of most Nigerian citizens,” he said.
Meanwhile, The crises bedevelling the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are yet to be over as Chief Maxi Okwu, who emerged chairman at the party’s national convention on April 8, held in Awka, has dragged the incumbent chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC), to a Federal High Court, in Abuja.
He is praying the court to recognise him as the authentic leader of the party that would nominate candidates for the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
This was disclosed via an email sent by the Senior Media Assistant to Okwu, Victor Eneh.
In suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2013 dated 18th August, 2013 filed by Oba Maduabuchi, lawyer to Okwu and four others elected with him in the party’s national convention on April 8, 2013 in Awka, the plaintiffs averred that the APGA convention and election on 10th February 10, 2011, in Awka, in which Umeh was re-elected the National Chairman and Shinkafi National Secretary, including other members of the National Working Committee was by voice vote contrary to Article 18(4) of the party constitution that stipulates elections shall be by secret ballots only.
The plaintiffs also asked the court to determine whether the second defendant (Shinkafi) can still validly occupy the position of National Secretary of APGA in 2013, when the constitution of the party provided a maximum tenure of eight years as he was first elected as the National Secretary of the party on January 10, 2003, 10 years ago.
The plaintiffs prayed the court for an order directing Umeh, Shinkafi and all the officers “purportedly” elected with them in February 2011 national convention by voice vote to vacate their various offices as their “election” was not in accordance with Article 18(4) of the APGA constitution which prescribes that elections shall be by secret ballot.
They argued that the convention merely ratified the tenure of the National Working Committee members by affirmation.
They also seek an order directing INEC to deal with the Maxi Okwu leadership of the party.