The main purpose of this piece, is to put the records straight on the formation of APC in Imo state.
On July, 31, 2013 a new political party “All Progressives Congress” (APC), was registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This Political party came into existence, as a merger of three former political parties.
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN); the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), called the three legacy parties.
The written request for merger was by the National Chairmen, National Secretaries, and National Treasurers of the three merging parties. For ACN; Chief Bisi Akande as National Chairman, Sen. Lawal Shuaibu as the National Secretary, Chief Kenneth K. Kobani as National Treasurer. For ANPP, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu as National Chairman, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah as National Secretary, Alhaji Shuaibu Musa as National Treasurer. For CPC Prince Tony Momoh as National Chairman, Alhaji Buba Galadima as National Secretary, Hajiya Umar Farouk as National Treasurer. Neither Rochas Okorocha nor his faction of APGA was ever involved in this process.
Chief Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State merely led a group of his Government, within All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to participate in the merger discussions.
APGA as a party, did not join the merger discussions, the leadership of APGA under the chairmanship of Chief Victor Umeh, stated clearly that APGA was not interested in the merger. APGA went as far as placing advertisement in several National print and Electronics media, dissociating itself from the merger with APC. On this basis the three legacy parties merely received the Governor Rochas Okorocha group of APGA, including the faction of Democratic People’s Party (DPP) as mere groups but not as a party, and they never accepted any official document from them to INEC, they were rather asked to step aside, till the merger is consummated before they can join because of the legal implications.
So for Governor Rochas Okorocha to ascribe to himself as the “father and mother” of APC in the South East, is completely deliberate misrepresentation of facts. The three legacy parties ACN, ANPP & CPC were really on ground in Imo State, before and during the merger to APC, and participated fully with their counterparts from other states of the federation.
In Imo state for example, the Defunct ANPP with its state office conspicuous in No 129A Ikenegbu Layout, wrote a communiqué to join APC.
We travelled to the International Trade Fair Complex Gusau in Zamfara State, with all the National and State Executive and Five (5) delegates from each of the 27 local government areas of Imo State, with Four (4) Luxury Buses on the 10th of May to 11th of May, 2013 for the last convention of ANPP, where we surrendered the certificate of ANPP, and declared our intension to join APC, led by the then Chairman of ANPP Dr. Vitalis Orikeze Ajumbe.
Before then the ANPP merger committee with other parties was created, of which this author Arc. Sir Enwerem Allen was the Chairman.
The new party APC in its wisdom then, said any state with a serving Governor that has joined the party automatically becomes the leader of the party in the state. At this point, some of the leaders of the merging parties, sensing the type of treatment that will be meted on them by the then Governor Rochas Okorocha, because they knew him better than some of us, left the party. People like Chief Barr. Mike Ahamba, former governor Achike Udenwa from ACN to PDP, even then, the state Chairman of ANPP Dr. Vitalis O. Ajumbe left for PPA and many others.
But we stood our ground and piloted the affairs of APC. All the leaders of the legacy parties were invited by Okorocha for the launch of APC at Government House, from there to AhiajokuCultural Centre where we agreed to join APC. I Arc. Enwerem Allen spoke on behalf of ANPP, Dr. Ekenasi spoke for ACN, RomanusEgbuledike spoke on behalf of DPP in the presence of the Governor, that we have agreed to mergeand form APC.
A twenty one(21) member interim committee was setup anddrawn from ACN, ANPP, CPC, DPP and APGA to launch the party in the state. My party ANPP was represented in the committee by Mr. Chijioke Agugbue, Arc. Sir Enwerem Allen and Chief Nnamdi Olebara with Chief Romanus Egbuledike of DPP, as the interim chairman. While this committee was busy working for the launch, the Governor Okorocha went behind and asked all the then APGA Executive in the 27 local government, to take charge and never allowed the committee he set up to finish the job. From then, we were never invited for any meeting of APC. Any attempt by us to attend meetings, were stiffly resisted at the entrance.
During the Election of 1st APC State executive offices, the then secretary of ANPP Mr. Sebastine Okoraofor, who insisted on contesting for the state welfare officer, was publicly asked and pacified by Gov. Okorocha to step down for his preferred candidate, and wait for some other appointment from him of which he never gave him audience.
It is a long story. The painful side of the whole thing, is that never was any member of the three(3) three legacy parties considered worthy of serving in any capacity in the state, or nominated for appointment either in Local government, state or even nominated for federal boards or agencies, despite having capable men and women by governor Okorocha.