Dr. Victor Ikechukwu Oye became the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in June 2015, after the tenure of former chairman, Chief Victor Umeh. In this interview with Nwanosike Onu, the APGA boss narrates the journey so far, the party’s plans for the presidency in 2019, Peter Obi’s, Victor Umeh’s senatorial ambitions and the impact President Mohammadu Buhari has already made in the country among others. Excerpts
HOW has it been since you took over the leadership of APGA almost a year ago?
The past nine months have been very eventful; it has not been easy and I never expected it to be easy anyway, because nothing good comes easy. I have a great vision for the party. We have APGA offices in 35 countries in the world. We have a very strong base in Europe and other African countries. Our greatest problem is funding; there was a time INEC was giving subvention to political parties but all that have stopped.
So, we are managing with the little resources available to us and with that we have been solving our problems.
We want to start fund raising in four cities in Nigeria, namely, Abuja, Lagos, Awka and Aba. Nobody can build a strong political party without sufficient funding. In the meantime, we are raising money through membership registration and printing of vest or caps.
We are happy at the rate we are growing. We have established a very strong base in the north. In the last local government elections in Niger State, APGA won 13 councillorship seats. They are scared of conducting election in Suleja because they know that APGA will win it.
The way you see APGA, is not the way others see it; they refer to the party as a one state party, but you sound as if the party is bigger than others?
APGA cannot be described as a one state party. We have won elections in many parts of the country. We control the executive and legislature in Anambra, we have three members from the state in the House of Representatives; in Bayelsa State we have two members in the House of Assembly; we also have one member in Taraba State and one in the House of Representatives.
In Abia, we have 10 out of the 24 members in the House of Assembly despite the intrigues that trailed the election in that state. So generally, APGA is a strong brand.
By 2017, Nigerians will see a different APGA, before we go into the 2019 election. Remember that APGA is still in charge of Imo State; forget that Governor Rochas Okorocha jumped ship on his own. Up till today, we have not seen his resignation letter. So, he is still a member of APGA.
There is nowhere Rochas Okorocha wrote a letter legitimately resigning from APGA. He only attended APC meeting and assured the leadership of the party to negotiate for acceptance of the party in the APC contraption.
He went in as APGA governor into APC and told APC that APGA was part of what he was doing. It is because in this country, people do things anyhow, ordinarily, Rochas Okorocha should remain in office as governor, Imo State remains APGA state.
What are the plans of APGA for 2019 general elections?
APGA will present a presidential candidate in 2019. That is why I am appealing to our members all over the world to continue to support us. There is nothing we can achieve without unity. 2019 is our year and we are ready. The sham that happened in Anambra State during the last National Assembly election can never repeat itself.
By 2019, APGA will take over the entire South-East. Remember that Bola Tinubu started with AD and won election in Lagos, but he was able to mobilize other parties to form APC that took over the federal government. We are therefore optimistic that by 2019, APGA will grow from controlling one state to controlling many states.
What is happening to the senatorial ambition of Chief Victor Umeh in Anambra Central?
There are forces of darkness working against him but it’s in vain. Umeh became a senator the day he won the case at the Court of Appeal. And every material evidence shows that he won the election on March 28, last year. However, the Court of Appeal ordered for a rerun and the judgment was clear. We were preparing for the rerun and our opponents saw the handwriting on the wall and did what they know how to do best, which is to use court to intimidate INEC. Surprisingly, the same judge that gave PDP the judgment was the same person that declined jurisdiction in Kogi and Niger.
Why did she suddenly assume jurisdiction in the case of Anambra? As a law-abiding political party, we decided to obey the law and thank God that INEC has appealed against the judgment.
I am optimistic that the election will take place between May and June this year. They only succeeded in postponing the evil day. Whatever goes up must come down. Any day the election will take place, Peter Obi will not contest because he never participated in the process that produced candidates for the election of last year. His picture was never on the ballot paper; Obi was only a spoiler, a confusionist and a destroyer. He is only expressing his hatred of Victor Umeh. But he is not God. He is our brother.
He came to Anambra and did wonderfully well. If I were him, I will go to my house and sleep and remain a statesman for life.
Some people have criticized President Mohammadu Buhari, especially the opposition parties, for what they described as his lack of leadership qualities; do you also see him from such perspective?
No, they are wrong for criticizing the president for whatever he is doing; what I know is that President Buhari I know has the vision and what it takes to lead the country to the Promised Land.
The only thing the people should do, despite the harsh economic situation, is to exercise patience with the present administration. What I am saying is that it is too early for anybody or group to criticize the president administration not even when the said administration has realised over four trillion naira mismanaged in this country.
The economic crunch is not only affecting the people of this country, rather it is a global thing and therefore nobody should crucify the president and I equally believe that within a short time the problem of fuel crisis will be a thing of the past.
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