“When birds want to lay eggs, they carry materials about in order to build a suitable nest. If, after building such suitable nests, a snake comes to live in it, the heap of materials can no longer be called a nest, despite that a bird built it. It may be called anything really but definitely not a nest. A nest is nest because a bird lives in it, regardless of who or what built it. ………………. Strangled Fate. APGA is not APGA unless an APGAn bears its ticket. Patience pays, and we believe things will add up soon, for those who have patience and are dogged.” ……Kelechi Abonuyo.
Long before some aspirants declared their intention to be part of the team to salvage what is now the remnants of Imo State, Rt Hon Ike C Ibe had foretold the nemesis – a self-inflicted implosion – that would catch up with All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party. Rt Hon Ike C Ibe is a frontline gubernatorial candidate for APGA. Today the present circumstances, which fulfilled his warnings, have made him a ranking political prophet. An Ezekiel really.
Few months before those aspirants were all betrayed, Rt Hon Ike C Ibe coined the catch phrase “Odeberele” – a staunch Igbo word which simply means, “the die is cast.”
He coined it because a certain destructive threshold had already been reached, if not exceeded, in APGA. Since then Odeberele has also become a demeaning slang used by other political party members to vilify and mock the hell out of members of APGA for not heeding to serious warnings.
Many storytellers, including yours sincerely, have planned the theme and title of a new book but are at a loss with which is the best title between “Oderebele” and 2The Unelected Messiah.”
The new book will be based on the real events and actors in Nigerian politics, taking APGA as a reference point. Nothing is lost really to those with full presence of the mind. Every circumstance is a gain. Simple as!
And what really happened? Many would like to know.
APGA is an Igbo political party. Simple as! Any non-Igbo in APGA party is like a non-Yoruba in a Celestial church in Ibadan. In Celestial Church, woe betide you if you speak anything else but Yoruba. In fact you must come with a tribal mark; that’s those “Akintola” facial four strokes. So to hell with His Excellency Labaran Maku and company from the north, especially as the APGA national retreat was actually held in Awka, not in Abuja. I know some aspirants joined APGA because they are Igbo and full and alive with all the necessary tendencies. So to hell with the Nigerian national anthem.
The intention of these aspirants is to reposition Igboland since Nigeria is so unwelcoming under President M Buhari. Their target is a self-indulgent retreat, where they can tell themselves the hard truth, then rediscover Igboman’s foot and chart a new course. Igboland would then be better. Igbos can then open their doors to the outside world, taking China’s socio-political and economic example.
Do you still mind Nigerian anthem? Bone that thing! If APGA captured Imo and Abia States, having got Anambra, then Enugu and Ebonyi States are a walkover. Then we can negotiate political power truly. We would better our lot. We would make Igboland a Japan of sort. APGA party paraded the best candidates, many of them staunch technocrats. It was a party to beat at the general election, after it had become a household name for the electorate and an antiphon in churches. All of a sudden the trouble began.
I saw the trouble coming. And that was even before the party officials turned the aspirants into a cash cow. I was with a House of Assembly aspirant, whose name is Fortune Akujiobi, at the APGA head office in Owerri, Imo State. I was there to cover an event. The police orderlies to APGA party Chairman had embarrassed us, and we complained bitterly.
These sentry men – one of whom wore unremarkable looks, with puckered lips resembling the developing vulva of a young bitch – were taking their chance to rip aspirants off. They were collecting tolls of various amounts, in the thousands of naira, before any aspirant could enter the chairman’s office to submit their nomination and expression of interest forms. These forms, by the way, actually cost the earth. One million naira is not here! And upon submission, an aspirant was made to pay un-receipted twenty thousand naira.
Odeberele also meant that it became fashionable for an aspirant to receive unknown telephone calls from someone in Awka, who proffered help to fix the primaries.
If the aspirant agreed, s/he found that such unscrupulous and dodgy person actually had a strong link to the national working committee of APGA. Some overseas resident folks, of Anambra origin especially, even returned home to advance this side of the scam. It was such a field day for these criminals.
Yes, although those with vaulting ambition were the ones that actually got fleeced, yet it isn’t possibly a nice story to tell of an Igbo man anyway. APGA party ticket therefore became a cash and carry, despite that aspirants were encouraged to spend their money in order to energise and vibrate the party structures at the grassroots to the consciousness of the public. Ward tours and other party activities cost them the earth! APGA became a household name.
After APGA national officials, together with their State and Local government officials as accomplices, committed themselves “here and there” with untenable promises, the party couldn’t hold party primaries eventually. First, APGA set up an elaborate scheme to deceive party men. They called it Delegate Form, which cost ten thousand naira each. Soon it became a merchandise. It resold at fifteen to twenty thousand naira at some point. In the end APGA, comfortably seated in Amawbia in Awka, made a little above a billion naira from Imo State alone, with no party primaries to show for it.
And here is the real tragedy. With the arrays of technocrats that aspired to leadership through APGA party, it is possible that a third force – namely the Nigerian Presidency or the animal in Igboman called Greed/Vaulting Ambition – sponsored a mole to distort a possible Igbo consciousness and emancipation. An APGA resounding victory at the general election would have implied this emancipation.
With Restructuring as a national topical issue, Nigeria knows that the odds favour the Igbos the most, which will eventually create a State within the State of Nigeria. APGA is a ready tool to achieve this. If the Presidency has a hand in it, it may be borrowing a leaf from former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who has history with Igbo people and their Biafra. And it has become a case of twice beaten, possibly forever shy. APGA may be gone forever.
During Obasanjo’s presidency, he tried his best to destabilise the Igboland to halt possible emancipation. He detailed the Uba Brothers and the Emeka Offors, his willing tools, to molest sitting governor Chris Ngige. Anambra State is the cradle of Igboland. It holds all the key performance indicators to judge the Igbo nation. Whatever happens to Anambra always has ripple effects throughout Igboland. It was such an Igbo pilot state that Obasanjo tried to fiddle with, having orchestrated the embarrassment at the Senate Presidency that was zoned to the Igbos at that time. One can read further commentaries and gain some insights on that incident in the book titled, “There was a Country,” by Chinua Achebe.
When issues of this magnitude befall the Igbos, we can look beyond daily politics in order to seek for answers. In and around Imo State today, where the scam hit hardest, APGA party-ticket-carrying politicians are making merry and celebrating their dubious success. They carry on with victorious air of a teenage boy, who has conquered his virgin girlfriend. This article is therefore a call to look beyond frivolities, beyond our noses.
Today APGA is in disarray. A New APGA (nAPGA), which is formidable, has been formed, with all the betrayed politicians as the rallying point. The apathy for APGA is now very strong in the heart of the electorate in the twenty-seven local government councils of the state. The Catholic Church, especially, has “boned” APGA. Those who now claim APGA ticket are spending more to bring the house together, rather than planning for the general election. The APGA party tickets no longer worth the headache. And the reason is quite simple. They were dubiously achieved.
A retired two-star general, who is my leader, made a homeboy, suitable illustration from the present circumstances of APGA party. He said that when birds want to lay eggs, we see them carry materials about in order to make a suitable nest. If after making such nests a snake comes to live in it, the heap of the materials can no longer be called a nest. You can call it anything else but definitely not a nest. It is a nest because a bird makes and lives in it. The retired general was profound with native sense.
APGA is no more APGA unless an APGAn leads it. Patience pays, and we believe things will add up soon, for those who have patience and are dogged.