Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe
• Says Buhari, Tofa, Akande, Ikimi are expired politicians
*Okorocha dismisses suspension by APGA as irrelevant
By Chuks Okocha
The presidency Sunday predicted the imminent collapse of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the ambitions of its leaders would hasten the destruction of the party.
It also described notable APC leaders such as Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, Chief Tom Ikimi and the party’s interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, as analogue and expired politicians driven by ambitions and ethnic chauvinism.
The presidency’s upbraiding of the APC and its members came just as Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, dismissed the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) over his suspension from the party for hobnobbing with APC, stating that it was “irrelevant”.
The presidency, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said: “It is clearly evident that the APC cannot and will not be an alternative to the PDP. This fact is further reinforced by the fact that even its political leadership parades politically expired, analogue and yesterday’s men, including the likes of Bisi Akande, Tom Ikimi, Bello Masari, Muhammadu Buhari, Audu Ogbeh, Bashir Tofa and their likes who do not promise any hope for today’s Nigeria and therefore cannot bring any meaningful change to the polity.
“In spite of the long years of existence of the ANPP, CPC and ACN, they have never been able to find credible personalities among their followers for national positions and offices.
“The ACN particularly is reputed to always outsource its presidential candidate to the PDP. It is not surprising therefore that in the new party’s national executive, six of its 11 members, which is about 60 per cent, are former chieftains of the PDP.
“The real question is whether this is APC or PDP 2? This is the poser Nigerians will resolve as time goes on”.
Okupe listed former PDP members, who were now on the executive of APC as the new party’s Deputy National Chairman, Hon. Bello Masari; Deputy Chairman (South-east), Senator Annie Okonkwo; Vice-Chairman (North-central), General Abdullahi Aboki; Deputy Chairman (South-south), Ikimi; and Deputy National Secretary, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai.
He recalled that ACN in 2007 fielded former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, a PDP member, as its presidential candidate and later in 2011, fielded former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, another PDP member, as its presidential candidate.
“Isn’t it surprising too that since their coming together, Nigerians are yet to know what the APC stands for in terms of definite programmatic agenda? What do they have that is better than the PDP?
“They have no official manifestoes; rather, what we hear from one leader is a sharp contradiction from what we hear from another.
“For example, the leading ideologue of the APC in the North, Buhari delivered a lecture in London, where he spoke unambiguously against the much talked about restructuring of the Nigerian federation, resource control, sovereign national conference and other core demands of the defunct ACN.
“The other leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, went to a similar event more recently and ingeniously listed out their proposed programmes on power, agriculture and rail transportation, which are not in any way different from the contents of the transformation agenda of the PDP,” he stated.
In describing the APC leaders as “yesterday’s men driven by ambitions,” Okupe said: “The membership and composition of the APC are nothing progressive. They are ideologically ill-defined and seem to have come together for only one purpose which is to grab power from the PDP and are united on one sentiment which is their peculiar hatred for the person of President Goodluck Jonathan. Is it an offence in being a president from a minority tribe?
“Those who cooperate with them from the north are not true mainstream northern politicians but rather anarchists and irredentists who pursue political power based purely on ethnic sentiments.
“From the first day of the Jonathan presidency, these people have tried all methods to suffocate his administration and make it impossible for him to govern.
According to him, despite the overwhelming and daunting security crises, the administration had been able to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Also at the weekend, the Imo State governor faulted the decision by APGA to suspend him, stating, “You don’t suspend a man that has since left APGA.”
He also defended his membership of the APC, which he said, would better serve the interest of Ndigbo in future.
Okorocha’s suspension has been blamed on his active involvement in the merger talks, which eventually led to the formation of APC.
This was buttressed by the National Executive Council (NEC) of APGA in Abuja on Saturday, which accused Okorocha of anti-party activities for associating with the APC
In a statement from Atlanta, the United States of America, the governor said at the Imo State Congress of America 2013 National Convention that his suspension was of little consequence as the APGA lacked the national spread to ensure the fulfilment of the Igbo political ambition of clinching the presidency.
“Igbos have not produced the president, vice-president, Senate president, Speaker of the House or the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), but I am confident that under APC, one or more of these positions will come to the South-east.”
“APC remains the best vehicle to promote the interest of our people. PDP has marginalised the South-east and has nothing to show for all its years in power,” he added.
Okorocha urged Ndigbo to embrace the APC because it guarantees equity and political opportunities that have been denied them by PDP.
Okorocha, in another statement by his media aide, Mr Chinedu Offor, also described his suspension as “irrelevant.’’
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported Sunday also quoted him as urging the people of the state to remain calm and be law-abiding.
The South-east chapter of APC also criticised the suspension of Okorocha, describing it as a sign that APGA had merged with the PDP.
APC zonal spokesman, Mr Osita Okechukwu, said APGA had failed to fulfill the political aspirations of its late leader, Chief Emeka Ojukwu, by not being part of APC.
“With the exit of Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Dikedioramma Ndigbo, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State commenced the final phase of the merger.
“Let’s not forget that our revered leader, Ojukwu, was the first chairman, BOT of APP, and if he were alive, he would have been the first Igbo man to embrace the APC,” he said.