By Sam Oditah
Umuahia – The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in Abia has started wooing prominent politicians in the state to fortify the party ahead of 2023 general elections.
The state Chairman of the party, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, said this on Monday in Umuahia while briefing newsmen on the party’s commitment to wrestle power from the ruling-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.
Ehiemere said: “I want to announce to the good people of Abia that APGA leadership is formidable and ever ready to provide quality, robust and uncompromised leadership that will enthrone a genuine and well trusted democratically-elected governor in 2023.”
“May we urge our teeming members and supporters to remain resolute in their support for the party, while we also urge all well-meaning Abia indigenes to join hands with us to usher in the desired transformation in our state.”
“To change the PDP administration in Abia is a task that must be accomplished in 2023.
“APGA is the only alternative party to provide credible government and also replicate what is happening in Anambra in terms of good governance in Abia.”
Ehiemere further said that former stalwarts of APGA, including nine lawmakers, who later defecfed to other parties, had begun to negotiate their return to the party.
The APGA chairman expressed hoped that in 2023 the party would surpass its 2015 performance, “when Abia indigenes desparately yearned for a change and voted for APGA.”
He said: “The level of underdevelopment between 2015 and now is far more appalling than what the situation was before 2015.
“The implication is that more Abia people are desparately yearning for 2023 so that they can replace PDP with APGA.”
Ehiemere said that the performance of the party in 2015 was based on the people’s desire for change and likeness for APGA.
“It was not because of the so called influence of the governorship candidate of the party, Dr Alex Otti,” he said.
Ehiemere, who was flanked at the briefing by members of the state executive committee, further spoke on the leadership crisis that engulfed the party at the national level in 2016.
“For record purposes and clarity sake, there was no crisis in APGA except the self-induced crisis that was sponsored by Otti,” he said.
Acording to him, in 2016 Otti sponsored several dissidents in the party to cause crisis, leading to the emergence of a parallel national leadership.
He pledged the loyalty of the Abia chapter of the party to the leadership of the National Chairman of the party, Chief Ike Oye, and the National Working Committee.
In a swift reaction, Mr Ferdinand Ekeoma, the Media Assistant to Otti, dismissed the allegations, including the embezzlement of party funds amounting to billions of naira by Otti, as “idle talk.”
“The allegations are baseless, spurious and of no consequence,” Ekeoma said, adding that the Ehiemere-led EXCO was “pursuing shadows in its attempt to smear Otti’s impeccable image.”