By Onyebuchi Ezigbo -allAfrica.com
The leadership crisis bedeviling the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Thursday took an intriguing twist as the rival faction led by Mr. Maxi Okwu yesterday appointed the wife of the former leader of the party, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, as APGA’s new national leader. Rising from its National Executive Committee meeting (NEC) in Abuja, the faction said it had reconstituted the Board of Trustees (BoT) of APGA and that the new Board with 24 members would be inaugurated at its maiden meeting in two weeks time in line with the provisions of the party’s constitution.
While reading out the communique of the NEC meeting, the Acting National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Stanley Chira, said the party resolved during the one year anniversary of its late leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu that his wife being the next of kin should replace him.
“NEC confirms and further resolves the earlier decision taken on February 16 and March 22 at the one year anniversary of the demise of our late leader and icon Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu. That he remains our symbol and leader the fact of his transition to glory notwithstanding. His wife and next of kin Iyom Bianca Ojukwu is hereby adopted as the living embodiment of his ideals, she shall in his stead be acknowledged as leader,” he said.
The group expressed support for the 2015 election time table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but advised that the commission maintains the old practice of consulting with political parties in its decision making.
The communique also expressed the party’s support for the guidelines and schedule for the national conference, assuring them that the party will soon forward its nominees to the conference.
With the appointment of Ojukwu as national leader, the stage is set for a possible clash of interest between her and Governor Peter Obi, who was also elected as APGA leader by the Chief Victor Umeh-led executive.
However, Okwu who spoke to journalists after their meeting said there is no reason for such conflict, insisting that Mrs. Ojukwu was the rightfully nominated leader of APGA by a legally backed leadership of APGA.
He said the NEC meeting at which Obi was named the national leader in Awka was an illegal gathering as against yesterday’s NEC chaired by him
“Our national leader had been Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu and since he is no more we have decided to appoint his wife Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu as the next person to replace him. She is holding the position for her late husband and we have her consent in taking our decision. That is an authoritative decision taken by an authoritative NEC of the party,” Okwu said.
“We respect Obi as one of the leaders of APGA, but we have chosen our national leader as Iyom Bianca Ojukwu. We are urging Obi to use his good offices to try and resolve the APGA leadership crisis amicably before he leaves office as governor. If the governor failed to do this, history will not be kind to him for abandoning APGA when it needed him most,” he said.
Speaking on the outcome of the governorship election in Anambra State, Okwu said his faction will not recognize Chief Willy Obiano as the winner, adding that as far his group is concerned the authentic APGA governorship candidate for the election is Dr. Chike Obidigbo.