Chief (Dr) Chekwas Okorie, the National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP) has disclosed how Igbo leaders turned their backs on the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA which he founded and registered as a political party in 2002. He also maintained that of the six prominent Igbo leaders he approached to use the APGA platform to contest for the presidency in 2003, only Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi embraced the party as the 7th individual that was approached.
Chief Okorie stated this in response to a statement on why UPP will not field a Presidential candidate in the forthcoming general election.In the release which copy was made available to Watchdog Newspaper,Titled; “I founded APGA in 2002”, Chekwas Okorie said, “the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu was the 7th person, I approached and he graciously accepted, while other Igbo leaders and successful business men turned their back on Ikemba Nnewi in 2003. He returned a paltry 1.4 million votes”.
“In 2007, Eze Igbo gburugburu ran again and scored just 155,000 votes”. He regretted that Igbo leaders were aloof and insensitive to the crisis that engulfed APGA for several years, saying, “while APGA burnt, Ndigbo stood akimbo and watched”. It was for this reason he shook off the disappointment and proceeded to found United Progressive Party (UPP).
Continuing, Chief Okorie lamented that despite zoning the 2015 presidency to the South East Geopolitical Region, no Igbo Presidential aspirant has considered the platform as a prospective and veritable tool for the realization of Igbo Presidency yet, day in, day out, the people grumble that they are marginalized and excluded from the scheme of things in the federation.
“Igbo politicians were sedated by the man with the nick names of Ebelechukwu and Azikiwe. I belatedly took up the gauntlet and ran. My score was a paltry 18,000 votes. I did not feel as bad as I wept for my people.
Immediately Professor Kingsley Muoghalu announced his interest to offer himself for President, UPP offered him the only endorsement any political party gave him, till this day. He as well turned us down on the ground that he would not use a party with ethnic tag. Short of fielding a reluctant or an unprepared Igbo on our platform, we decided to concentrate this time on other elections until the turn of 2023, when we will weigh in again”, he cried out.
Okorie appears not impressed that in 2019, Igbos would be faced with the option of having to choose between an “APC Fulani and PDP Fulani”, as the only choices because of their short sightedness, lack of wisdom or political sagacity. He also expressed bitterness at the roles played by PDP and Olusegun Obasanjo in destroying whatever APGA achieved between 2002 and 2003, adding that, “Chief Obasanjo told me pointedly in April 2003, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja that APGA and I committed a political blunder by fielding Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as presidential candidate. “That was the origin of my political travails. I am not saying this for anybody’s sympathy. I have a story to tell but until then, please do not judge me yet”, he averred.