Awka – The APGA lawmakers in Anambra State who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, have spoken out for the first time, on why they left the ruling party in the state.
Last week, six legislators of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, dumped the party and moved to the APC, a development that was trailed by so many suspicion and insinuations.
While many said they were offered huge sums of money to defect to APC, others alleged the lawmakers were promised a third term.
But in an exclusive interview with TNC correspondent in Awka, one of the legislators, Dr Tim Ifedioranma said they left APGA because of the ill treatment they got from the party leadership because they chose to support a candidate not preferred by Governor Willie Obiano.
According to him, they were relegated to the background for no just reason in a party they have put in years of hardwork to build.
“We had to move because we became strangers in our own home. This is a party we have built for over 16 years. But just because we decided to support a different person from whom the governor wanted, we became dissidents and they alienated us from the mainstream of APGA,” he noted.
He denied insinuations that they were offered huge amounts of money to defect, saying the decision they took was purely based on the disposition of the party towards them.
“I hear a lot of people say we were given all manner of amounts of money to join APC and I tell them that I would have even paid if I was asked to, to join APC. The truth is that we were supporting the member representing Aguata Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon Chukwuma Umeoji within APGA, and having sympathy for our colleagues at the State House who were victimized by their unjust disqualification from the party’s primary,” Ifedioranma said.
He continued; “It was more worrisome for us that the leadership of the party refused to address the matter. The Governor and the National Chairman, Chief Victor Oye left all these undone just because some people were feeding them with lies that we are expired politicians. Some even said we were looking for 3rd tenure. The campaign structure they set up, I wasn’t even included even with my standing as a two-time House of Assembly member. They took out all my structures so what stake do I have in APGA. They should blame themselves for our defection and not those of us who have defected. I am the root of the grass and I have core loyalists. Let them come to the election in my constituency and I will tell them who owns the constituency.”
When asked if he was reached out to by the APGA reconciliation committee, the two-time Anambra legislator insisted that the APGA reconciliation exercise was pure hypocrisy.
He revealed that their findings showed that almost all the key stakeholders in the party are aggrieved as the party has now been hijacked by some persons, whose interests are inimical to its growth.
“They invited us for reconciliatory meeting where we all went and aired our views. But we found out that the Committee set up to reconcile us were also aggrieved because they left the reconciliation they came to do and started complaining about how bitter they are. I even moved that the monies collected from the aspirants should be refunded them as a sign of good faith. At the end of the day, we were told they would call us back because nothing was resolved. It is appalling that the party collected 22 million from sitting legislators and four days after, they wrote that they are dissident and that casts a shadow of doubt on their membership of the party. Hon Umeoji for example, is the leader of APGA in the National Assembly, who they cleared in 2019 to run for the elective position. These were people they disqualified and they want us to take it lightly, no!” he fumed.
Ifedioranma, who represents Njikoka State Constituency Two in the State House of Assembly, debunked rumors that APC is a party of Northerners with the agenda to impoverish the Igbos, saying the Southeast has fared better under APC, than any other political parties.
“One problem with APGA is that when it is time to work, they call it our thing but when it is time to enjoy, the slogan will change to my thing. There is no truth in the saying that APC is a northern political party and we know how CAN, CPC, ANPP and even a faction of APGA came together to form APC. PDP had this country under their control for 16 years, what did we get? So the thing is that they are just weeping up unnecessary sentiments. Now, the candidate of the APC for this election is from Anambra and his exco members will be picked from here. So let them stop that sentiment because Anambra people are wiser than that. The people are looking for who will deliver dividends of democracy to them,” Ifedioranma said.
The APC lawmaker denied insinuation that his party plans to write the result of the November 6 Governorship election in Anambra, saying that with the massive defection into the party, there is no doubt that the party is gaining acceptance among the people.
In his words; “Nobody is writing any result here. From what is happening now, does it look like APC is planning to write any result? With all these defections to APC, does it not show you that the people have decided to join the APC because of their love for the party. The spirit of APGA has left. They have destroyed everything for which APGA is known for. Let’s stop deceiving ourselves. The mantra of APGA which is ‘Be your brother’s keeper’ has been destroyed. How can they claim to be their brother’s keeper when they sidelined us on the basis that we supported our brother within the same party.”
On what APC will offer Anambra State, Hon Ifedioranma said it is important for the state to connect to the centre to enjoy dividends of democracy.
He regretted that the state has been disconnected from the centre for a long time, saying that now is the time to seek alliance that will emancipate the state from the shackles of abandonment.
“APC is the party at the centre and with the state becoming an APC state, we will be connected to the national and that will trickle down dividends to the grassroots. Also when you look at infrastructural development the APC has put in place in Anambra, you will know that the party means well for Ndigbo. The Second Niger bridge, the Enugu-Onitsha road and many other projects are dividends of the APC regime in Nigeria. When you belong to a bigger party that connects to the national, you will get bigger things. So Anambrarians should look beyond the sentiments and primordial considerations. Look at Ondo state, the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is in APC but stands up to the negative things coming from the North such as the open grazing. Senator Andy Uba is of like character and his antecedents speak volumes. There can hardly be any politician here who has not benefitted in one way or the other from his benevolence. Let’s support him to bring about the desired change in the state,” he solicited.