APGA TO SDP: My Pact with Destiny by Chukwudi Oracle Nwala
My dearest friends and supporters
In the last few days, I’ve been inundated with calls and messages from people seeking to know the outcome of the APGA House of Representatives’ Primaries which I was meant to take part in.
Regardless how the process has turned out, I am greatly humbled by your show of support and solidarity, and I will never take it for granted. I am further encouraged to continue in this quest knowing that I can always count on you to stand with me every step of the way. I am convinced that all you’ll require of me in the circumstance is the true position of what has transpired.
In every democratic process, there are Rules of Engagement. When these rules are arbitrarily flouted, it gives room for impunity to fester. As a party that claims to be progressive, necessity was placed on the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as a party and all its handlers to demonstrate the good conducts that make democracy the widely accepted best form of government. Unfortunately these Rules of Engagement were not adhered to and agents of anarchy were allowed to overreach their duties in their unholy quest to install their preferred stooges. This to say the least, went a long way in subverting the wishes of the people and denying them the opportunity to freely choose who should fly their party flag.
Relatively, I have had cause to complain privately and openly to the party leadership and my key supporters on the unwholesome activities of the Director General of Dr. Alex Otti’s Campaign Organization Dr. Max Nduaguibe, and on all occasions, I was given assurances and guarantees that the process will be devoid of undue interference and that I had nothing to fear in the process. As someone who has given his ‘sweat’ and ‘blood’ to the party, I had no reason to believe that I will be betrayed and grassed in a brazen manner that not only denigrated my sacrifices in building the party, APGA over the past few years but also rubbished democracy and everything the party stands for.
When I decided to run for the office of House of Representatives and having agreed with our leader and friend, Dr. Alex Otti OFR, the first person I proceeded to consult with is Dr. Max Nduaguibe, who incidentally, is the Director General of Dr. Alex Otti Campaign Organisation. I must state that I got the best of commendation and assurance from him. It is pertinent to state also that there were several other occasion I had to get back to him for his advice and support with regards to due prosecution of my campaign outreach. Fast forward to the time of the purchase of Nomination Form, I had remained the sole aspirant till the initial closure of sales. This was basically not for dearth of other qualified persons of Isiala Ngwa South extraction but because we made the issue of who must fly the ticket for my constituency a major issue for the various consultations we had.
To accommodate glaring issues in the party, the sale of the nomination Form was extended by few days and within the period of the extension, one Emeka Nwankpa who had joined the party from APC four days earlier and had declared to run for House of Assembly for Isiala Ngwa North proceeded to obtain the Nomination Form for Isiala North South Federal Constituency. According to him, he was directed to obtain the Form for Federal House by the same Director General of Dr. Alex Otti Campaign Organisation. It was in the public knowledge that Dr. Max Nduaguibe singlehandedly took the said Emeka Nwankpa round as their preferred candidate. While all these were going on, I specifically went to meet with Dr. Max on Monday, 22nd of September in company of the Director Media, Alex Otti Campaign Organisation, Paddy Anyatonwu. In that meeting, Dr. Max informed us that I was not going to have the ticket of the party for three reasons:
1. That I had allowed the Isiala Ngwa North Party Chairman and other party faithfuls to denigrate him and his office on a certain day I had attended the declaration of Ihuoma Ezechinyere (Gamiriga)
2. That I undermine his office by influencing Dr. Alex Otti against his wishes as well as tagging along Dr. Alex Otti without due respect to him as the Director General of Dr. Alex Otti’s Campaign Organization
3. That some leaders from Isiala Ngwa South said that I did not consult with them before obtaining the Nomination form
I make haste to state that I have no iota of ill will against Dr. Max for supporting a candidate of his choice but had every problem with using the Dr. Alex Otti Campaign Organisation, a platform I contributed immensely to what it is today, to undermine me.
While these infractions were going on and instances of their underhand dealings were becoming public, I kept in touch with the leaders of the party who had given me their words that the process will be free, fair, credible and transparent regardless of what Dr. Max was indulging in. It is telling that while all these shenanigans lasted, the people who gave me their word did nothing to abort this slap on my face neither did they frown at the rape of democracy.
Fast forward again to the date of the Primaries, the party had announced Mkpuka Hall, Isiala Ngwa South as the venue of the primaries and some of the delegates were there except the bulk of the statutory delegates who had been locked up in a location on the orders of Dr. Max for more than 30 hours. While the waiting was lasting long, I proceeded to the Party Secretariat office in Ikot Ekpene road where I found out that Dr. Max Nduaguibe had stormed the state party office with two truckload of thugs to make true his threat. He singlehandedly changed the officials assigned to conduct and monitor the election and insisted that the venue must be changed. He personally collected the result sheets and drove off with the returning officers he chose. Still bewildered, I followed after them but on our way to Mkpuka Hall in Isiala Ngwa South which is the recognized venue for the primaries, Dr. Max diverted at Ntigha junction and took the officials to his hometown Mbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North. This primaries was conducted without the Delegate List. When I eventually made my way to Mbawsi, I was stopped by hired thugs at the junction who restrained me from proceeding and I quickly saw wisdom in not insisting on proceeding further.
In all these, I refrained from open confrontation not for incapacity but because of the interest of Dr. Alex Otti, which I hold sacrosanct. I blatantly refused to fight back. I refused to allow my supporters make a fist. I stopped my media managers from engagements. A good number of my supporters were eager to match them violence for violence but as a man who believes in peace, as a loyal party man who has paid his dues in every sense of the word, as a man who is completely sold out to the OTTI struggle, I have huge stake I cannot toy with. But unfortunately, I was in a battle with men who had nothing to lose, nothing to refrain from and no general interest to protect.
The way it is today, it’s dawned on me that the refusal of the party leaders to call the intrusive DG to order, might be because he had their covert support to undermine my candidacy. Such betrayal from a party that I’ve given my sweat and blood without reservation, is most unfair. I was not asking for an automatic ticket, I was only asking to contest on a level playing field without overbearing interference and influence. I am therefore left with the only conclusion that suggests itself ‘that they covertly supported the brazen impunity and disregard for due process orchestrated by Dr. Max Nduaguibe’.
I am proud to say that I served APGA with unblemished loyalty and integrity even in the face of severe temptation and intimidation from those who accused me of betraying what they termed ‘Ngwa Cause’. My sincerity, dedication and commitment to APGA was total and extremely unquestionable and I can take pride in my efforts regardless of this outcome. Given another opportunity, I will not give less because I was trained to give my best to any cause I believe in.
In deciding my political future therefore, I am guided by what is the best interest of my people. I will not be in politics if not for my people and any decision that goes against their interest will not have my support. In 2011 and 2015, I unsuccessfully vied to represent ‘nde Isiala Ngwa’ at the House of Representatives. The respective aspirations were aborted first by what was termed ‘Return Return’.
Between then and now, things have worsened for my people. Infrastructure has decayed abysmally and poverty has increased astronomically. I am even more convinced that my services are much more needed today given the dire condition of things in Isiala Ngwa. Only a man with my capacity and character, experience and expertise, can provide the kind of leadership needed to turn things around for my people. Those who were given opportunity failed woefully and those who are jostling for the office, will not do any better because they too, lack the capacity to offer meaningful representation that will reposition nde Isiala Ngwa. I have the requisite skills, the needed exposure, the appropriate education, the right contact and network to maximize the platform of the National Assembly to the overall benefit of my people.
For this reason, I will not relent in my quest to bring succour to my people. I hereby announce that I shall run for the 2019 House of Representatives election under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). I have resigned my membership of APGA without bitterness or anger. I have moved forward and forgiven those who feel that they can thwart my destiny. My confidence is in knowing that the will of God always prevails over the affairs of men. This is by no means an easy decision knowing that SDP is not a very popular platform in my constituency. But, it is people that build a party and I’ll spare no efforts in building SDP into a viable platform that will galvanize our people into the collective duty of electing the right representative. If we did it in AGPA, we can do it in SDP.
It is also very important that I state very clearly that regardless of what has happened, and bearing in mind that the interest of our state comes first, my support for Dr. Alex Otti remains sacrosanct and unshakeable. I had long committed to his ambition of leading Abia into prosperity and that commitment still stands. Because I share in his vision and dreams for our dear state, I will commit my energy and resources to ensuring that he succeeds in his resolve to emancipate Abia. I also wish to state that I do not have any problem with Mr. Emeka Nwankpa. He was only used to scuttle my ambition but that does not make us enemies. I will expect him, together with other candidates, to showcase their credentials, capacity to do the job of a legislator and acceptance by our people in the most civilised way. I will not expect that we will come out to insult ourselves bearing in mind that it’s not all about politics. We still have our lives to live beyond politics. This same advice, I expect should trickle down to our supporters and media handlers. They hardly can insult unless they have our express or implied nudge.
Permit me now to thank the Leadership and members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) for the quality of reception they gave me. Going there was like a reunion with people I have been very close to; Chief Olu Falae, Prof Jerry Gana, His Excellency, Donald Duke, Hon. Emeka Atuma, Amb. Philip etc.
May I kindly request that you continue to support me in my desire to bring the much needed change to our people. I believe that with your kind support, I will win the race for House of Representatives to Represent the Good People of Isiala Ngwa North South Federal Constituency, regardless the platform.
God bless you!