There are indications that the All Progressives Congress (APC), is moving to swallow the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), following the poor performance of APGA in the last governorship and state assembly elections.
AGPA did not field a presidential candidate in the April 11 Presidential Elections but endorsed the candidacy of President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, national Chairman of APGA , Sir Victor Umeh and the governorship candidate of the party in Abia state , Dr. Alex Otti are rumoured to be prime targets of the APC leaders who have been charged with the task of moving the APGA machinery into APC.
The issue of the planned mass movement of APGA members to APC was said to have been mooted when Governor Obiano paid a courtesy call on the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Chief Umeh, speaking with Global Patriot Newspapers, Monday, however, said that the leaders of APGA, including Gov. Obiano, who is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, have no intention of collapsing the APGA structure into APC.
The APC leaders are said to be capitalising on what they perceive as a deep seated feeling of betrayal of APGA by PDP which APGA backed for the presidential election during the National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections.
In the South East geo-political zone where APGA claims as its stronghold, the party could not win any governorship seat or make any reasonable showing in the legislative elections.
The party is particularly bitter about the results of the Abia governorship election which it believes that its candidate, Dr. Otti, should have won if the contest, in their view, had been free and fair.
As it stands, our source, a top member of the APC said that the APGA leaders want to get back at the PDP and believe that the best way to do so is to move into APC with Governor Rochas Okorocha who was once an APGA elected governor and who has been re-elected after a keenly contested supplementary election.
The source further maintained that the thinking is that unless they do so, they would be losing on every front.
Part of what Gov. Obiano was said to have raised with Gen. Buhari was the fact that as Governor of Anambra state, he has the right to nominate candidates to represent the state in federal appointive positions such as ministerial and board appointments.
But with Senator Chris Ngige, a front line member of APC also from the state, the privilege may be abridged, unless the Governor agrees to move to APC with other leaders and members of APGA.
One of the governor’s aides, speaking to Global Patriot Newspapers on condition of anonymity admitted that the issue of APGA moving to APC came up at the meeting between his boss and the President-elect but insisted that Chief Obiano has not given the matter a second thought.
According to him, the Governor is committed to rebuilding APGA and is not considering decamping to APC or another party, stressing that after the “stealing of the votes of Anambra people during the National Assembly election, the governor rallied the people and they defended their votes during the state assembly polls and the result was very different.”
With such a vote of confidence on the governor, he said, there was no way Obiano could contemplate decamping to the APC.
Chief Umeh concurred, adding emphatically that; “ it’s impossible for the governor or any leader of APGA to decamp to APC,” stressing that their focus now is “to keep APGA alive for our people.”
He lamented that “the PDP’s marshal plan was to rig out every other party from the South East. Rochas Okorocha won because Buhari won the presidential election. If not, they would have muscled him out of office.”
He stressed that if the PDP’s plan for the South East had not worked, APGA would have done considerably better than it did in the National Assembly, governorship and state assembly polls, stressing that the task before them now is rebuilding the party.
However, Maxi Okwu, who is still battling with Chief Umeh for the Chairmanship of APGA at the Supreme Court, said that even if the governor, Umeh and others want to decamp to APC, he and his group would remain to ensure that APGA’s cock symbol is not wiped off the ballot.
He said that his focus is to get the party back at the Supreme Court, pointing out that “it is clear that APGA has diminished.”
According to him, it is doubtful that the APC would accept the APGA top shots, going by what the President-elect and other officials of APC have said that people should remain where they are.
Despite the denials by the leaders of APGA, however, our source insisted that the APGA helmsmen are under intense pressure to jump ship as that would guarantee the APC “a firmer foothold in the South East geo-political zone in the future elections.