By: Onwuasoanya FCC, Jones
In 2013, against the tide of prevailing political sentiments in the Southeast and more convenient offers in the then ruling Party, His Excellency Distinguished Senator Owelle Rochas Okorocha, took a big but dangerous leap into the future, in the best interest of Ndigbo particularly and in what he regarded at the time, as the best option for Nigeria, teamed up with fellow progressives to form the All Progressives Congress. At the risk of losing his reelection bid, at the face of intimidation by federal forces, at the face of harassments on his followers and associates by security agents, at even the risk of popular rejection by majority of Ndigbo, who at the time saw President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as their son, and the PDP as their political identity.
Okorocha did not go alone, he went along with majority of APGA members and leadership; leadership of about 27 State chapters of the Party and a good number of APGA’s national working committee members, he went along with members of the Imo State House of Assembly, members of the Federal House of Representatives and, more importantly, he was able to sell the APC idea to Imo people, against all odds. At that time, 85% of those who are today, answering APC stakeholders, referred to Okorocha as the Alhaji in Government House, because of his decision to join the APC. There were others like Eze Madumere, who would have joined Goat Party, if that was where Okorocha wanted them to go at the time. Simply speaking, Madumere and some of the other founding members of the APC, who today, posture as stakeholders were literarily led by the hands into APC by Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
In 2014, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu was the first governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Imo State, out of popular demand by Party faithful in the State, rather than any other consideration. He was to voluntarily relinquish the ticket to Owelle Rochas Okorocha after the Presidential primaries of the Party, where Okorocha was a serious contender, but failed to clinch the presidential nomination. Beyond that time, Ugwumba has been a most effective financier, mobilizer and leader of the APC in Imo State and the Southeast. We can’t count the number of people who joined the APC as a result of Ugwumba’s goodwill. Yours sincerely is one among the thousands of young and vibrant men and women, who were converted to the APC by Ugwumba.
As Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, Okorocha, with other leaders of the Party, helped to navigate the Party through some teething crisis it encountered across States of the federation. He led the Party’s campaigns across several States of the Federation and won supports from his natural stronghold – the masses- for the Party. He was at the forefront of stabilization efforts for the Party.
In the runup to the 2019 general elections, Owelle Rochas Okorocha arguably encountered the most caustic political conspiracy in recent Nigerian political history. He was ambushed, betrayed, demonized and defrauded, by no other people but members of his own Party. His political sons and daughters were recruited through deception to stand against him. The Party he nurtured from nothing had become the most beautiful bride and those who called him “Alhaji” began to wear babariga at night. Owelle was pushed hard against the wall, but his love for the Party remained and he remained steadfast in his support for the Party.
With all weapons arrayed against him even by his own Party, he was able to secure his seat in the Senate, got APC seats in the House of Representatives and ensured that Imo State, like in 2015, was the only State in the Southeast to give President Buhari the required 25%.
Ugwumba Uche Nwosu won the governorship primaries of the APC on a clean slate. He won clean and fair. Twice, the direct primaries were conducted, he won twice. He was robbed, not in Imo, but in Abuja. The result was rewritten by fraudtocrats, who were and are still so unpopular with the people, they can’t win any fair contest without manipulation of figures and outright forgeries. Out of pressure from his numerous and highly passionate supporters, he propped up a least known political Party, the AA, ran under its flag and won convincingly. INEC, with the connivance of some deadly politicians rigged him out and gave his victory to PDP’s Ihedioha. Yet, his popularity was so overwhelming that he was still placed a close second. That little known Party produced eight members of the House of Assembly, got two House of Reps and was cruising to victory in Okigwe North, before a magic happened, and he, who was fourth came first.
During the presidential and national assembly elections in 2015, Ugwumba Uche Nwosu delivered his booth and ward, 3/3 to the APC. The Senatorial candidate of the PDP was from his backyard, yet, he gave a good result. Can Madumere produce the results for these elections in his booth, ward and LGA? Can he tell us what figure, his House of Assembly candidate scored in his ward?
Ugwumba proceeded to Court after the elections. Eventually, the Supreme Court in a controversial judgement, disqualified him on the grounds that he was actually the duly nominated APC candidate as well as that of AA, they judged that he was doubly nominated. As a good Party man, as soon as that judgement was given, he returned to his Party, the APC. He reregisttered in his ward and was welcomed by the LGA and State leadership of the Party. He mobilized all the members of the House of Assembly elected on AA platform to rejoin APC. The two members of the House of Reps, who won on the AA platform also rejoined the APC. Ugwumba withdrew his appeal at the Supreme Court in order to pave way for APC’s emergence, but most of those fairweather guys posturing as APC stakeholders were already hanging around the PDP.
Today, if you want to know the real destroyers of the APC in Imo State and the Southeast, look no further than those characters trying hard, yet, futilely, to undermine these great Party men and patriots; Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Ugwumba Uche Nwosu, who have invested enormous resources towards the survival of the APC, not just in Imo State, but in the entire Southeast and Nigeria at large. These individuals and their sponsors know that the easiest way to destroy the APC is by taking Owelle Rochas Okorocha out of the Party, so they are doing everything to achieve that. I can assure you; they have been failing, they will continue to fail.