A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State, Ejiofor Agada has written an open letter to the APC leadership warning them of the danger ahead of the party in Enugu.
The letter which was made available to Feizmedia on Thursday, 13th December, was also published on the Facebook page of Barr. George Ogara Campaign Organization.
In the letter he titled “Enugu State APC – Where progressives are sidelined”, he decried the influx of ‘retrogressives’ from the opposition party as the cause of the crisis in the Enugu State chapter of the party.
Mr. Ejiofor clarified his position of not supporting Senator Ayogu Eze’s candidacy, as he pleaded with the party leadership to allow his conscience to override the party supremacy and vowed to remain in the ruling party. He further warned that if urgent steps are not taken, APC stands in danger of not presenting a governorship candidate in Enugu for the 2019 polls.
Read the full letter below:
Enugu State APC – Where progressives are sidelined…
Some clarifications I need to make about my political position:
For the better part of our return to democracy in 1999, I have always stayed apolitical and never favored any political party over another, both at the federal and state levels. My reason being that there were never any known ideology behind any of those parties. I however preferred to attach my interest on the individuals seeking political office, gauging them on the ideals I’ve identified as my own direction in life.
Saying I identify myself as a patriot that believes 1000% in the Nigeria project, will be an understatement! So I’ll prefer to say that I’m an incurable believer that my generation will eventually make this country a better place for my children to live in.
I believe that social justice, national growth based only on a production-focused economic system, law and order, are the only way our country can grow and become as great, if not greater than any other country in this continent at least. So that makes me a Progressive-minded political student.
For me Progressivism is still defined as the support for or advocacy of improvement of society by reform. Even though I refused to identify with any party from 1999, I did follow the footpaths of certain politicians I felt shared my own ideologies, and have shown they are progressives as well. So it was never an accident that after many years of watching from the sidelines, I decided to pitch my tent with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
That decision was actually based on the fact that it was the very first time majority of politicians I admired decided to bury their pride and forge a united front. Don’t get this wrong, APC has its large dose of scavengers those that prefer their status-quo be maintained to favour the very few in the society.
So in the heady days of the 2014 political realignments and cross-carpeting, a lot of such flocked into the APC fold and actually wanted to take it over and bend it to their will. Unfortunately for them, the arrowheads of this party are dyed-in-the-wool progressives that had stayed in opposition politics for 16yrs! For them, party supremacy is the cardinal point of Progressivism.
Because it aligns with my belief as well, I made up my mind to pursue nationalist values on the platform of APC, not really as someone aspiring for political office, but as an advocate and progressive opinion leader with grassroots appeal..
All the while that I was focusing on politics, it had always been in Lagos. I had ingrained it in my mind that my state (Enugu State), cannot be saved from their brand of politics that only focus on creating a class of people that depend 100% on the Government of the day for their daily bread. A class of blood sucking lot that prefer to ‘share’ the resources accruing to the state, and allow crumbs to fall on the tables of their loyalists – Enugu Politicians!
I can say with pride that I played my own small (though significant) role in getting victory for both ACN and later APC, from 2008 till date in Lagos state. After the 2015 elections, I had a serious case on introspection on what my role should be in the political landscape. I came to the conclusion that there’s nothing more I can do or add to a politically enlightened society such as Lagos. I might be a lagosian in name, but I’m first and foremost an Unadu man, and my town falls within the boundaries of Enugu State.
I have every intention of one day retiring to my town and living out my old age amongst my people within the cluster of palm-wine bearing trees and rolling hills. But what will become of my conciseness if the rate of poor governance and ignorance pervading my state now is not tackled till then?
What kind of an environment will I retire to? What joy will my town bring to my kids when they come visiting with my grand babies? What will I tell my children I contributed to improve the state I called my own? These were questions that kept me awake and restless many a-night.
Even when I made up my mind to embrace politics (as mucky as it is!), I knew it’ll be a Herculean task to find progressive like minds in my state. Yes, APC is now popular even in Enugu state, but mostly filled it disgruntled politicians that were sidelined in the political power play that they were all used to – chop I chop! In fact the political structures in my state is a huge joke, but I’ll talk about that on another occasion.
As luck will have it, I discovered a lot of change-agents that are as fired-up as I am to take the message of progressive politics to my people. Enter Barrister George Tabugbo Ogara – a young man I’ve know for a long as I can remember, as a radical lawyer and activist. Yes he is my townsman…yes he is my inlaw…and yes, he’s my very close friend! But aside that, he is the epitome of a typical Unadu warrior…fearless, charismatic, passionate and above all, a believer in social justice.
These are traits I identify with and that flows in the veins of a lot of my ancestors, as we are a frontier town that fought wars all through our recorded history.
With this enigmatic young lawyer, and a host of other relatively young squad, I felt I’m in the best team to give Enugu state the developmental approach I helped entrench in Lagos polity. Yes, politics is a complicated game, more-so when you play it with some people that only know how to play very dirty.
Without mincing words, I dare say that our objective of supporting Barrister Ogara to contest for the governorship of Enugu State was borne out of our incurable patriotism and need to shake up our docile political landscape and make our people demand for good governance for the first time in their lives.
APC is our party, our identity and a brand that we rely on to hopefully achieve all these. Enugu state have never been a liberal minded political scene, with PDP being the only party ‘allowed’ to hold power since 1999. Ironically, it was not even based on the overall choice of the people, because a well oiled rigging machinery had been in place that punishes or rewards the faithfuls either with ostracism or patronage as the case might be.
Politics and elections in Enugu State had always been a huge joke, but we were confident that with the impact of PVC and card reader now entrenched in our electoral process, the real voters will help us liberate our state from the clutches of rogue politicians.
With party primaries planned and prepared for, and George Ogara already poised to go on a head long collision in the political space with the incumbent Governor Ugwuanyi of the PDP, a notorious politician that fell out with the PDP horde, Ayogu Eze (a former Senator) and his cohorts that included a lot of PDP-by-night crew, decided to play the devils’ advocate and ensure that conservative PDP elements take over the APC structure in Enugu State.
With the rancor and confusion they’ve caused so far in the APC, the party in the state is now in danger of not having a governorship candidate for the 2019 elections.
But thats not the reason why I’m writing this. As a loyal party man, having been groomed so in Lagos, it would have been expected that I will tow the line of the party’s decision on whomsoever eventually is fielded as governorship candidate for the APC in 2019 between George Ogara and Ayogu Eze. But I beg to disagree! My loyalty to APC is secondary to my conscience! As a fiercely loyal individual with integrity and respect to authority, I cannot bring myself to support an Ayogu Eze if eventually the authentic primaries conducted for the party is overturned in his favor.
Mind you, we won’t leave APC, but I and those with me, will not in good conscience support Ayogu Eze to be Governor of Enugu State, because we’ve never seen the qualities of a progressive in him!
So this write-up is an advice for the leadership of APC at the national level – next time, please use political research to gauge the feeling of your party faithfuls before choosing candidates. We used it in 2014 at the general elections and have always used it in Lagos and south west for APC. This party doesn’t rely on previous political positions but popularity and integrity of the contestants. A word is enough!
Ejiofor Agada .N., political researcher/analyst and a member of APC in Enugu State.