…Plot to drop Umeh, Otti uncovered
Since Tuesday last week when the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was dissolved, the battle over who makes the new list of members of the board has once again rekindled the old internal squabbles within the family of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
It would be recalled that the National Secretary of APGA, Chief Labaran Maku, had explained to reporters in Awka that the dissolution of the BOT was as a result of the fact that the tenure of the Board has expired, adding that a new BOT would be set up after the party’s National Convention on May 31 this year.
Authoritative sources have it that the widow of Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Amb. Bianca will not make the new list of BoT members following the face-off between her and Governor Willie Obiano, which was a fall-out of her losing the Anambra South Senatorial District ticket in the last primary elections.
Also to be affected in the shakeup is the immediate past National Chairman of the party Sen. Victor Umeh, who was alleged to have taken sides with Bianca as well as the gubernational candidate of the party in Abia State Dr. Alex Otti, who was earlier suspended by the Abia State Chapter of APGA for challenging the outcome of governorship election at the tribunal without the consent of the party.
Currently, the trio of Otti, Umeh and Bianca’s relationship with the leadership of the party has been estranged and during the last primary elections, they all lamented over the controversial conduct of the exercise in their respective states.
It was equally learnt that Amb. Bianca Ojukwu is to be replaced by first son of late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu Emeka Jr. who is being wooed by the leadership of the party to dump the All Progressives Congress (APC) and return to APGA. During the last APGA National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Awka, members concluded that Bianca Ojukwu should be dropped from the BoT following strong allegations of anti-party activities against her after the party’s primary elections.
“Yes, her activities in the past months after she failed to get the ticket at the primary elections have been unbecoming of a woman that represents our life leader Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and she believes that being the widow of Ezigbo Gburu Gburu confers on her the right to do or say anything she likes in the party and insult the party leadership and the Governor of Anambra State.
“Our worry at this stage is will Emeka Ojukwu (Jr) accept to return to APGA and take Bianca’s place? We have been reaching out to him and we have been talking but it has not clicked yet. “Some other members of the Ojukwu family have also been approached to convince him (Emeka Jr) to return to APGA and become member of the Party’s Board of Trustees,” said a party source.
Confirming the overtures at him, Emeka Ojukwu (Jr) told reporters in Awka that the National Chairman of APGA Chief Victor Oye, had earlier visited him at his residence in Abuja, urging him to intervene in the crisis in the party adding that it was under that circumstance that he returned the visit to Oye at his country home in Amawbia, Anambra State. Ojukwu, however, maintained that he is still a member of APC, but failed to confirm if he has been offered the membership of APGA BoT in place of his father’s widow Bianca.
“Victor Oye the National Chairman of APGA visited me in Abuja and was talking about problems in APGA and wanted me to intervene and not to join APGA as people are claiming. “Ezeigbo Gburu-Gburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu- Ojukwu, my late father, sacrificed his youth, his time, his health, his wealth, for the good of his people. APGA is his legacy, and as such must be protected. If we allow our grievances, justified or unjustified, perceived or otherwise to lead us into actions that will lead to APGAs demise, we would be destroying Ojukwu’s legacy and the ideologies he bequeathed to us.
“Being the first son of Ezeigbo, I have a moral burden to protect those things he held dearest and sacred while exercising my right to freedom of association. “I am honoured that the APGA National Chairman found it imperative to solicit my contribution.
“He is the Governor and the first citizen of Anambra state. He is my elder and in Igbo land we give respect to whom it is due and that is our tradition. Beyond that we have been friends and continue to enjoy a good relationship. In terms of this particular visit, I am not aware that he is involved. By the way, APGA as a national party has been relevant in the national discourse over the years and is even more so today than in years past.” On the plot to drop Sen. Victor Umeh as a member of the BOT, the media aide to the Senator, Mr. Emeka Ududema contended that it is against the constitution of the party to drop his boss.
“APGA has a constitution and it stipulates that all former chairman and secretaries of the party are life members of the party’s Board of Trustees and unless there is no APGA or that the constitution of the party is amended. “So for one to say that Sen. Victor Umeh would cease to be a member of the BoT is unconstitutional and is of no effect.
“The allegation that he is backing Bianca Ojukwu does not hold water and it is not a reason to stop him from being a member of the board,” he said. Supporters of Amb. Bianca Ojukwu described the move to drop her as part of the actions of the governor whom they accused of “use and dump”.
Mr. Ebel Chukwuogo, leader of a pressure group in APGA known as APGA Oriental Front (AOF), said: “You cannot replace the widow of Ezeigbo with Ezeigbo’s son, Emeka.
This is the style of Obiano government. They have used her to win second term and now they want to push her out after rigging the primary election against her. “We insist that Amb. Bianca Ojukwu remains a member of the APGA BoT in the interest of peace in our party and you cannot appoint a card carrying member of another party a member of our Board of Trustees.”
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