Mr. Basil Ejidike is the Chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, speaks about the crises in the party in the state and efforts being made to resolve them
What is your impression about all these crises rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state?
There is this purported suspension by some people led by Barristers Uche Okonkwo- Okom. But to start with, Barrister Okonkwo- Okom is not a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Hon Nestor Okoro is not a member of APC neither is Mr. Okelo Madukaife who is our former Publicity Secretary.
He was suspended by the party in June and was replaced by his assistant, Barrister Nonso Chinwuba. So, these people masquerading around are not members of our party, hence they lack the locus to speak.
They are members of AAC which they joined alongside Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo who left the APC shortly after the June 26, 2021 governorship primaries. And if they desire to return, there are procedures to follow, not by stoking confusion and crisis or rabble-rousing in a very peaceful and focused party like the APC.
Therefore, it is clear that they cannot be in AAC and be removing a legally constituted executive member of APC, especially the Chairman. It is not possible. And even if they are members of our party, there is a laid down process and procedure to pass through to remove any officer.
That was why I never bothered to comment on the issue, because as far as I am concerned it is a no issue at all. I want to use this opportunity to reiterate and confirm that we do not have any issue within the APC family. However you are aware that some people are bent on destroying the party.
Unfortunately these people working to destroy our party are indeed the greatest beneficiaries of the system. I’m sorry to say that Senator Chris Ngige has never helped this party, rather every problem of APC in the state, both in the past and presently emanated from him.
Even the Okonkwo-Okom gang was all Sen. Ngige’s boys. He actually sent them on the road they are all traveling. Ngige is the person propelling all of these trouble makers.
What happened after the primaries?
After the party primaries in June 26, 2021 and the result were announced by the party, Ngige and his boys led the team that objected to it. And the protestations by some of the aspirants were clearly on the prompting of Senator Ngige.
This was because he immediately after the announcement of the result summoned and encouraged them to reject and denounce the primary election result. This was even when Mr. President had given his blessings and presented the flag to our party’s candidate, Distinguished Senator Andy Uba. They still resisted the position. I want to ask, is that the way a committed party man should function?
If there is no discipline in any organization, that organization will not stand. Come to think of it, if you check the records of the results from the polling units of these so-called leaders, starting from the 2017 poll you will find out that they all failed in their polling Units, Wards and Council Areas.
So if that was the situation, what then makes them leaders or stakeholders of the party?
However, the truth of the matter is that we are now very determined to reposition the party in order to make it stronger and formidable to withstand future political challenges successfully. Because we cannot continue to live in a circle and not move forward
But what about the recent “communique” signed and circulated by the State Secretary, Barrister Chukwuma Agufugo purportedly from the State Working Committee, of which he is a statutory member?
Mr. Agufugo was in the SWC meeting of November 28, 2021 held at the party’s State Secretariat in Awka. Towards the end he sneaked out with one other member. It must have been then that he cornered some unsuspecting members of the media and circulated the misleading material.
The party is already taking action against him and in a matter of days you would hear from us. As I always say, there must be orderliness and discipline. Any erring member, irrespective of status must be brought back in line through strict discipline.
APC is a highly respected and organised political party and all the members must be made to be proud of us. The entire membership must be governed by laws and statutes. We abhor dissidents
But these misgivings are usual in big parties, especially after such important elections like the general election, governorship election as was in this case and even after conventions. So what has the party put in place as a way forward out of these discontentments?
Well, we have been having a series of meetings. We are going to have a State Working Committee meeting soon, after which we will have an enlarged State Executive Committee meeting. We have also lined up a lot of activities that would involve all members, to enable us to disseminate information.
This is because once the information is not there, confusion would take over. We are going to set up a Congress Awareness Committee to get our members prepared because very soon the party will organise our Congress as already held in other states of the federation. Our state was asked to postpone ours till after the just concluded November 6 governorship election.
The congresses would begin from the Wards, then the Local Government areas (Councils), up to the state. This will enable us to level up with other states of the Federation. We are also going to set up a Disciplinary Committee. We must instill discipline in the party.
The committee is going to be set up today to try any member that is involved in any form of anti-party activity.
We are also reaching out to our stakeholders and leaders, to let them understand the need for us to remain focused and united. We have just concluded the governorship election and we have resolved to go to tribunal to challenge the outcome.
This is of course because we are very convinced that the right things were not done. We are going to file our petition if the Legal team has not done so already. We are going to pursue the matter to its logical conclusion.
Have you initiated any move towards reconciling members who left due to the outcome of the last primary election, especially the former aspirants?
This is a free world. There’s also freedom of association even in politics. Political associations are a body of people of like minds and anyone who feels that his/her interest is not protected there freely changes camp.
But for those who feel that they belong to APC we have reached out and continue to reach out to them. Someone like Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo was aggrieved at a point, but as a committed party man he remained in the party. He did everything possible to endure the party win in the election.
Also, Chief Azuka Okwuosa brought back all his followers into the party, all in an effort to see that APC candidate win the governorship poll. Chief Amobi Nwokafor also did the same thing. Chief Maxwell Okoye who went to court over the outcome of the primary election has also withdrawn the suit. So we are not folding our hands.
You were accused of disrespecting Mr. President. How?
Who are the people that accused me, members of the AAC? Ok, besides the identity of your accusers, did you in any way commit such an offense?
Not at all! How could I? Rather I have strived always to follow all the directives of the party to the letter. I’m a committed loyal party man. I must always be loyal to the party and to the leader.
You were equally accused of not holding regular meetings. That you were running a one-man show?
After the governorship election of November 6, we have held three meetings. We held a stakeholders meeting about two weeks ago. Does anyone expect us to be holding meetings every day?
However, for persons who are in another party, AAC, how would they know what is happening in APC? They are at a different party. It’s like me in APC going to say I have removed the chairman of the PDP. It’s not done. It’s indeed laughable.