Time to heal the wounds- An appraisal of the APGA Primaries


By Capt. Barr. Casmir Nwafor

The recent “APGA primaries” without doubt remain the worst ever conducted by the Party since its inception. As a victim and though I have decided to draw the line, the pain of the injustice continues to hit like a migraine. Hence,

I needed time to enable me just like thousands of other victims to tune my minds to fully forgive.

What happened to APGA with due respect is a clear manifestation of inability to manage success and lack of Will to take decisions. I will explain.

After the landslide victories of our able Governor, Dr. Willie Obiano and Chief Victor Umeh, it became clearer that APGA had become the Party to beat in the state. It therefore should have been obvious to the Party leaders that this will lead to influx into the Party by aspirants seeking for elective offices for the 2019 elections. Surely this happened. People came into the Party from all walks of life, majority of them feeling that money can “buy” tickets, purportedly chasing some party leaders and lobbyists with loads of money to have their ways in one office or the other.

This inability to manage success was reflected in the amount charged for  delegates to the primaries. Such wasn’t necessary as it looked as if the party seeing the large number of aspirants, wanted to exploit the opportunity of most aspirants buying delegates forms for their supporters. It was further alleged that it was a ploy to deny some aspirants who aren’t money bags from getting delegates in the primaries so that some Party leaders can allegedly have their way with the aspirants they already support for the Primaries. All allegations, but they played out. Instead of making efforts to ensure a free and fair primaries, it appeared that some Party leaders believe that any person that gets APGA ticket has won the general election.

The events of the primaries also showed inability to take firm decisions. Most of the aspirants cleared for the primaries ought to have been disqualified from contesting the primaries having not been up to 18 months in the Party as provided by the Party Constitution. This was not done because allegedly money exchanged hands. All these complicated the process and made the number too bogus to handle. The Party forgot that there are chances that other Parties can sponsor aspirants in APGA with the view to causing disaffection in APGA and therefore derail the Party in the general election. This is not to say that all those complaining about the outcome of the Party primaries are all agents of opposing parties. Surely there are many genuine Party members whose complaints about the primaries are very genuine.

Another aspect of the primaries worthy of mention is the unholy conduct of most aspirants and the Party ward Chairmen. Right from my political tutelage in SDP, PDP and APGA, delegates for elections are selected or elected at ward Congresses. At the end of such exercises each aspirant gets the names and contacts of the delegates, reach out to them and try to convince them to vote for him.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t what we saw. Most aspirants turned themselves into wards and in their respective houses held ward Congresses and sent the names of the delegates to the Party as elected delegates of the wards. What a sham, what a  dishonesty! I warned against this and refused to compile such list. Most of the ward Chairmen unfortunately let down their offices, compiling different ward delegates for aspirants on Pay as You Go basis. What happened then?

In this confusion and conflict of different lists among the aspirants, the aspirants played into the hands of the Party to make a list as it chose. Not done yet, some aspirants pursued some party heads to their hotels and residences demanding that their list be adopted as the delegate list for the primaries. None asked for harmonisation of list at this stage. Where then is the clean hand with which you come to equity? My main grievance which I have forgiven is that in most cases, the exercise turned violent, many delegates left, yet the exercise purportedly held without a full house of the aspirants and delegates.

The way forward

The BOT of the Party should seize the initiative in this crisis. All allegations of financial misconduct against anyone should be investigated and appropriate sanctions handed down on those found culpable. Even if it means some people resigning from their offices or removed if need be.

The Party should as a matter of urgency set up various Reconciliation Committees to reach out to the aggrieved especially aspirants who lost out to the stage managed primaries and calm frayed nerves.

Lessons learnt from this unfortunate outing should be documented so that they aren’t repeated.

Finally, I join our Anambra South Senatorial Candidate, Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu, MFR in his call for all party members to work for the progress of the Party in the general election. We still have the opportunity to salvage the Party and reposition it for greater laurels tomorrow. If your compound is hijacked, you fight to recover it and not run away. May the good Lord keep us to see a better APGA and a greater tomorrow.

Capt. Barr. Casmir Chinonso Nwafor Rtd. (Nwachinemelu), writes from Oko, Orumba North LGA of Anambra State.

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