Why I left APGA For APC – Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor Opens Up
Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor, Member Representing, Nnewi North Constituency in Anambra State House of Assembly, who recently contested for the Governorship primaries of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA and has recently moved to the All Progressive Congress with other House of Assembly Members has opened up on his reasons for leaving APGA to APC.
Below is his statement:
My Political Journey To APC
Dear Compatriots, it is no more a secret that I have joined The All Progressive Congress -APC, which is currently the ruling party at the national level in Nigeria.
Ever since the news was made public, I have received hundreds of calls from my friends and well wishers. Many of them congratulated me, while others expressed their reservations but still wished me well.
However, because I am an elected representative and serving the great people of my constituency; Nnewi North Constituency, at the Anambra State House of Assembly, and was voted overwhelmingly across party divides, which makes my mandate the people’s mandate, I therefore owe it as a duty to inform you formally that I have moved to the All Progressive Congress, to continue to serve our people, while also delivering on my electoral promises.
I sought to represent the good people of Nnewi North at State House of Assembly in order to bring qualitative representation to our people. Two years after, if judged fairly, most people will agree that I have been committed to my stewardship. Based on this, I am convinced that history will be kind to us, especially given my personal commitment in promoting and projecting the interests of our people and in service to the people of Anambra State. With this in mind, I can say that I have contributed immensely to the success of the Anambra state 7th Assembly.
As many of you will recall, a few months ago, In a bid to serve the people of Anambra on a bigger platform, I declared my interest to be chosen as the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Before my public declaration, I consulted widely within the Party and was greatly encouraged by the APGA leadership to continue. It was on record that I was the only APGA gubernatorial aspirant that visited all the Party Excos in the 21 LGA in Anambra State, where I preached “The New Direction” and “VISA Economy”, as the main thrusts of our government, if elected. The message was well received and inspired hope in our people, across the 21 LGAs in the state.
Having earlier been assured by APGA leaders of a free and fair primary election, I had faith that the right thing would be done. To my greatest shock, the party leadership turned around in what can be described as mockery of the democratic process and an affront on the legitimate political aspirations of young people of the state. I was disqualified from participating in the party primaries for absolutely no justifiable reason, despite meeting all requirements. It was a huge surprise that I have not fully recovered from, because I had believed the leaders to deliver on their assurances of a free and fair process.
I became a member of APGA based on its founding principles of brotherhood, justice, equity, transparency, and good governance.
The party was built on principles which include a complete eradication of politics of bitterness and rancor, and genuine pursuit of peace with all men.
It operated on the principle where all law abiding citizens shall have equal opportunity in their pursuit of happiness and access to opportunities.
These principles were evidently found in our founding leader, the Great Ikemba Nnewi, the People’s General, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. It was these principles that built the soul of APGA.
Regrettably, today these principles are no more. The current leadership of APGA has buried these principles in the pursuit of their personal benefits. These facts are abundantly self evident.
However, after my uncharitable disqualification, as a law-abiding member of the party, I submitted my Appeal to the Appeal Committee through the National Working Committee of the party, as constitutionally required, but the appeal was ignored and altogether thrown out.
In the face of the provocation, humiliation, deceit and inhuman treatment, I did everything to the best of my ability to reach out to stakeholders of the party just to ensure reconciliation and peace. That was why I honoured Reconciliation Committee upon invitation. But at the end, it turned out that our party which is supposed to be reputed for equity and brotherliness appears to have become a tool in the hands of few selfish oligarchs.
Even as a sitting lawmaker, I was ridiculed and sidelined in the activities of the party both at the state and in my local government, to the extent that it was no longer possible for me to participate in political party meetings and engage the government on the developmental issues in my constituency, as member of APGA. This, to the extent that I was not considered relevant anywhere in the party’s campaign, yet, I am the only elected party member in my LGA of Nnewi North. There is no possible explanation for this.
Having a reflection of the above, I found out truly the very words of Razia Khan in the Movie- My Name Is Khan when he said “Remember one thing, son. There are only two kinds of people in this world. Good people who do good deeds. And bad people who do bad. That’s the only difference in human beings’’.
Truly we only have two types of people- The Good People and The Bad People and they are all found in ALL the political parties in Nigeria.
We have been sold a false narrative that APC is a “bad” party, filled with bad people and this has prevented our people from getting involved in inclusive politics. We have engaged in isolation politics and we have been the loser.
APGA leadership denied me the opportunity to present myself to serve my state, they also denied the party delegates the privilege to have a choice between myself and my fellow contestants by unjustly disqualifying some of us to pave way for their preferred candidate.
This is against the core principles upon which the party was formed as I earlier stated, and more interestingly there was no genuine reconciliation agenda by the party leadership, no remorse for their unjust actions, whatsoever. Why then do we accuse APC of being unjust to us while the party we call our own does the worst injustice to its people and have become unrepentant?
Worried by the development, I reviewed my membership of the party and reflected on how much the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) which was formed to meet and represent the identity, hopes, and aspirations of Ndi Anambra and Ndigbo in general, has been destroyed by her leadership leading to the fractionalization of the party.
While reflecting on the performance of the party, her promises and the recent turn of events, I came to terms with the fact that the present APGA is no longer a viable vehicle for me to serve my constituents in the capacity I would want, nor is it the vehicle for me to achieve my vision for my people, and the aspiration of my constituents and supporters.
I therefore, took the difficult but very strategic decision to resign my membership of APGA to pursue and continue my mandate to provide quality representation for my constituency and provide leadership driven by youthful energy, innovation and a clear vision under the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
As it stands, my membership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) will afford me the opportunity to negotiate, attract and drive development more to my constituency.
The politics of isolation which we have played for in this dispensation has offered us nothing. We need more good people, people with strong principles and integrity to be at the ruling party to stand for our people and be at the decision table when our future is being discussed and common heritage is being apportioned.
This has also been the philosophy of our great Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi
No wonder Ojukwu, Eze Igbo gburugburu, on his return from exile in 1982 joined NPN which was predominantly a Northern party led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari instead of NPP which was an Igbo party led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
To him, the war was over and there was an urgent need to connect Ndigbo to national politics. That singular political move almost cost him his hard-earned popularity cum influence among Ndigbo. unfortunately, three decades after, we are now feeling the effect of our disconnection from the centre.
This has also been the philosophy of Senator Dr. Andy Uba who has empowered a lot of Igbos and mainly Anambrarians using the instruments of power at the centre. Testimonies abound on this.
To the members of my new party, All Progressive Congress (APC), let’s join hands to strengthen our structures and support base; especially in galvanizing our people to vote for Senator Dr. Andy Uba, who is determined to provide a leadership that is focused on Ndi Anambra, inspire confidence and demonstrate the highest form of loyalty.
And this is the direction I have decided to follow. I moved into APC with my strong principles of integrity, accountability and truthfulness and I won’t betray my constituents and those who believe in me for anything. My entrance or membership of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has not changed the personality I have built over the years, it won’t stop my quest to continue to provide the needed representation of my constituency.
Beyond the party, due to the level of our political development in Nigeria, we need to acknowledge the fact that political parties are strengthened by the character, popularity, and credibility of individuals who are members of the party.
More so, I joined the party to help reposition our state and region to play national politics purposefully which will improve the welfare of our people.
It is time we approach politics with clear-eyed objectivity and not unhelpful emotions and sentiments. We can not drive the needed development in our region with a victim mentality that the system is rigged against us and that we are hated. It is time to join hands with our neighbors and assert ourselves.
Going forward, I am very excited by the efforts of the leadership of All Progressive Congress (APC), who are working assiduously to integrate the South East into the party, especially given the developmental strides that the administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has initiated, continued or completed.
Despite the shortfall in revenue, President Buhari’s administration has embarked on the construction of Second Niger Bridge, completion of Nnamdi Azikiwe Mausoleum which was originally awarded in 1996, commencement of Nnewi Federal Housing Estate, ongoing rehabilitation of Amansea–Enugu Border section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, ongoing rehabilitation of 18km critical stretch of Onitsha–Awka Road, ongoing reconstruction of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway, payment of pensions of Retired War-Affected (Ex-Biafran) Police and many other projects.
Just last week, this same APC government granted Anambra oil-producing state status which will enable the state to derive far higher allocation from the center through 13% derivation.
Let me also put it on record, that the mischievous social media reports that I was financially induced to join APC is far from the truth. If at the age of twenty-five as a Student Union Government (SUG) President, I rejected millions that were offered to stop struggle for students rights, why would I, at this stage betray the confidence of my people just for peanuts?
Currently, I am very much occupied with developing ways I can use this platform to put smiles on my constituency which is seriously faced with the dearth of road infrastructure.
To add to the different projects I have executed in the last twenty-four months, I am busy at the moment mobilising to do more. These are the issues that border me because I believe political parties should be a platform for seeking solutions to national problems which are essential, not only for the survival of the country but also for the development of the overwhelming population and the state itself.
As one whose politics has always been guided by ideas, enduring values of fairness and justice, purpose, excellence, selflessness, and the overall interest of our people, I want to thank the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), for standing by me, and giving me the platform and opportunity to be a lawmaker, although we are no longer in the same platform, let’s respectively continue to push for the development of our state and country.
To all my constituents and supporters, I will never disappoint you.
Thank you and bless you, all.
Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor,
Nnewi North Constituency,
Anambra State House of Assembly.