How Ojukwu and I worked to reinstate Peter Obi after his impeachment — Victor Umeh

Posted by News Express | 25 June 2022 | 367 times

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•Victor Umeh


Former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Sen Victor Umeh in this interview he spoke on why he left the party to become the Senatorial candidate of Labour Party and the alleged conspiracy against him despite his efforts to keep APGA relevant. Excerpts…

People never believed that you would leave APGA let alone becoming the candidate of another party; what actually went wrong?

I was there from the beginning of APGA. I brought the party to Anambra State and I stand to be corrected. APGA took part in the 2003 general elections in the country and our gubernatorial candidate was Mr Peter Obi and we all know the outcome of that election and we had to go to court. We had to file our petition at the Anambra Election Petitions Tribunal.

That was when the battle for the soul of APGA started. I went through the courts and getting Peter Obi eventually declared winner of the said election, that was from the Tribunal to finally the Court of Appeal in 2006. Peter Obi became governor through APGA and that time we were in the trenches together and after the tortuous journey APGA was able to arrive here.

I played a very pivotal and significant role in ensuring that APGA reclaimed the mandate given to Peter Obi and the party in the 2003 gubernatorial election. So many things happened in-between which your are aware of but the good story was that the Court of Appeal on the 15th of March 2006 affirmed the judgement of the Tribunal delivered here in Anambra State in August 2005 that APGA won the election and that Peter Obi was the winner.

In that process I was PW1 that is Prosecution Witness number one in that election petition and I was in the witness box for one month under Justice Garuba Nabarume in September 2003 opening the case and rendering the Result Sheets. I was cross examined by six Senior Advocates some for the PDP, for INEC and for Dr Chris Ngige. So we went through this battle and it was not easy.

There was a change of leadership while you were at the Tribunal…

It was in the process of getting that mandate retrieved that we had problems in our party and I had to step out to take up the challenge of keeping that matter in the Tribunal successfully prosecuted. That was also how I became the Acting National Chairman of the party because our former Chairman did something that did not go down well and you know the story. That was how I became the Acting National Chairman.

In 2006 Peter Obi became the governor of Anambra state and these things are in the public domain. From there we led many struggles. We faced things that nobody could imagine or thought could not happen. Peter Obi was impeached and we went back to the courts to get him reinstated. When they lost at the High Court, in a fast move between me and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu we came to Awka here and got him reinstated before the House of Assembly could go on appeal against that judgement. That was on February 9, 2007; so these are important dates in the struggle. The Peter Obi struggles were led by me frontally and eventually he settled down to be governor of Anambra State.

So the revolution took place that turned Anambra State from the doldrums to a progressive state, and the foundation was laid by myself and Peter Obi. We did it and brought the state from the bad side of history to the good side of history .We went through several challenges and it was a very difficult battle here but because of our tenacity of purpose and resilient spirit we were able to prevail over those who were holding Anambra down. At the end we got him a second term in office and it was a very difficult election in 2010.

But in politics people who never believed that we can be able to do what we did became jealous of us and tried to sow a seed of discord between me and Peter Obi. That was how it all started and we were separated not because we were fighting over the resources of Anambra State but because I insisted that there should be local government election which my brother was not prepared to do at that time. And from then they told him that I have taken too much and that I should be brushed aside so that those who were not part of the struggle could come in and plant a seed of discord between us .

By 2012 we disagreed to a point that we could not work together again but eventually through the court processes that we went through I was able to get back the hold of the party. We then reconciled and went to the election and brought Gov Willie Obiano who was here for eight years. It is not a small thing but I can tell you that God orders the affairs and steps of human beings. Anything that would happen will happen as God says it should happen. When we parted ways he left and joined the PDP and I remained in APGA taking all the bullets from this party and fighting for the party through all the travail in the e last governorship election last year and you saw the roles that I played to get APGA sailing and we won that election.

So despite these battles APGA could not nominate you as candidate?

But you know human beings and their behaviour. They went after me again but I am a man that has an uncommon faith in God no matter what people say about me in the social media because they have joined one political platform or the other and have been painting unpleasant pictures about me. Those who know me can attest to the fact that I am a good christian and politics does not lead me to not be in control of myself. Anything I tell you that I will do, I will do it and anything I tell you that cannot do, I cannot do it. I want to explain to you that I have an uncommon passion for the good of the Igbo people who are my people throughout my engagement in the party APGA.

That was only why I worked with Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. He was National leader of APGA for five years and I was Acting National Chairman of the party for five years. So there is nothing that Ojukwu knows that I do not know and I worked under his him. Today the news is that I, Senator Victor Umeh, have joined this progressive party the Labour Party and it was a shock to many people because of what I have done for the party. But there are times an action would be inevitable and you must take it for you to move on in life.

You are aware that I sought to represent Anambra Central Senatorial District under the platform of APGA through the party primary election and you saw what happened on that election day. Nobody believed that I can lose a primary election in APGA but the conspiracy was perfectly turned against me to stop me. Some people were on a vengeance mission and some were operating under my shadow and they did not want me anymore and tried to stop me. But when they did it on 28th May 28, within 24 hours I got a call from someone that I never imagined will call me and it was Peter Obi and that was on May 29.

He expressed dismay and disappointment with what he heard about APGA’s primary election. He wondered how people can pull down somebody who is ready to lay down his life for his people. He commiserated with me and asked me if I can come over to the Labour Party and that he doesn’t believe that what happened is in the interest of Igbo people and within five days the story changed .

How was the Primary election for the Senate in Labour Party?

The primary election was held at the Beautiful Gate Hotel in Awka and I was returned unopposed as Senatorial candidate of Anambra Central District for Labour Party. Those who celebrated that I was down started readjusting their seats and came back to the news. I accepted that invitation by my brother because I saw it as a very historic opportunity to reconcile with him after 10 years and he also told me that he was going to be nominated as the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party at Asaba in Delta State and I was happy about that.

He said that I should not go and sit down because there is a lot or work to be done and that I should take up the ticket of the Labour Party and it took it. Today, I have the opportunity to contest again. The reason for my going into the race is because I have led spirited struggle for the interest of Ndigbo and I know the challenges on the way of Ndigbo and when I was in the 8th Senate I fought for our people despite the fact that I was there for 17 months. I fought against the marginalisation of Igbo people in all forms and manner and my colleagues in the National Assembly saw reasons with me and gave me what I asked for including the relevant agencies. When I got there, constituency projects were the in thing and I attracted projects to the tune of N1.34 billion. I belonged to eight committees in the Senate I got all that were due to my Senatorial District.

How do you see the chances of Peter Obi in the Labour Party?

What is going on in Nigeria about Peter Obi is a mass movement and it is no longer about Peter Obi but about Nigerians in general and they desperately want a change for the better. Look at the surge by everyone to get the Permanent Voter Cards, and you will agree with me that it’s because Nigerians have found confidence and belief in Peter Obi and they do not want the old order anymore. The masses have taken over the movement and it is working and people are donating money, houses, creating platforms all because of the massage of Peter Obi. If you say anything against Peter Obi in Nigeria you will have the masses to contend with because he is providing ideas that would move the country forward while others are talking about my turn or our turn. I have a strong belief that the 2023 Presidential election would be a shocker to the entire world that Nigeria as a nation has got it right because our people want to prove to the world that power belongs to the people and not the other way around.(Saturday Telegraph)

Victor Umeh

Source: News Express

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