From Chuks Moses, Awka
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke has stated that he dumped the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the party on which ticket he jointly successfully ran with Gov. Willie Obiano, for the sake and interest of Ndigbo, his Njikoka Council constituents and Nigeria.
But he also gave a list of three personal request he made to his new party, two of which have been fulfilled, that swayed him.
“When they (APC leaders) came for me, I made three requests: the first was that they should present me to Mr. President (Muhammadu Buhari, the second was that they should give me a bullet-proof jeep, and, the third was that I should be given appointment, either as a DG (Director-general) of a parastatal or as an ambassador. They have fulfilled the first two, remaining the third one,” he told journalists on Friday.
At the Anambra Government House late Friday afternoon, he urged residents and people of the state to vote massively for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Senator Andy Uba, in the November 6 governorship election.
This, he said, will enable the State benefit immensely from the Federal Government and tap into greater opportunities the ruling APGA lacked and had failed to take advantage of these past years.
Okeke who took the nation’s polity by surprise about theee weeks ago when he suddenly switched parties disclosed that he left APGA and Gov Willie Obiano because of the governor’s highhandedness.
He lamented that contrary to his initial expectations, he hadn’t the ears of Governor and was never allowed to make any positive contributions to the government.
He therefore passionately appealed to the state’s electorate and citizens of Nigeria especially the South East geopolitical zone to jettison politics of rejection and exclusionism to embrace the APC as it holds the key to the future of Ndigbo and Nigeria.
The erstwhile university don noted that “We must move away from the political style of the past and embrace all-Inclusive style, by building bridges across all the nation’s landscapes and geopolitical zones.
“It’s by this that others would begin to accommodate, work and start being comfortable with us anywhere. After all we accepted all Nigerians, live in their midst and hamlets, but have, before now, failed to use that advantage to accept them politically”, he added.
Okeke dispelled rumours that have been making the rounds of plans by members of the state Assembly to impeach him following his recent defection from APGA to the APC. He said he was confident that lawmakers would not initiate any impeachment action against him even if pushed to the wall.
“Nobody will find anything against me for such action”.
He reiterated that he continues to hold Gov Obiano in high esteem, and that he would not resign from the government and would remain in office as deputy governor till the end of their tenure on March 17, 2022.
The embattled deputy governor pointed out that his resolve to leave APGA for the APC was because of his strong desire to offer services to humanity and the country.
According to him, belonging to the APC and at the epicenter of Nigeria’s politics in decision making processes have placed APC Governors Forum on core vantage positions than those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APGA and others.
On likely threats to his life and liberty especially with the seeming daily worsening insecurity in the country, Dr, Okeke confirmed that there had not been any form of threats to his life since he defected to APC, pointing out though that a lot of people close to him, including his family members have been expressing fears that he may be harmed by political hirelings for leaving APGA to APC.
On why he didn’t consider postponing leaving APGA till the end of their tenure in government, Okeke said it was his plan to defect to APC as soon as they hand over on March 17, next year, but that his defection eventually happened because the APC leaders came for him on their own, adding that he only yeilded to the pressure because they insisted that he should join the party immediately. His move at this time, he said, would add value to the APC’s fortunes in the coming Nov 6,2021 election
He insisted that for the state and the South East generally to experience real development, they should join the ruling party at the centre.
Said Okeke, “Senator Uba has a listening ear, and, such would run a successful administration if people who have ideas are selected to assist him.”
“I refer to myself as an accidental politician, of course some of you know my story; when I served Mr. Peter Obi for six months I resigned my appointment when I saw it that I didn’t have the ears of the Governor, as a commissioner. If you don’t have the ears of the governor then you are wasting your time and that’s why I resigned and I went back to the university to continue my lecturing.”
“Of course, the Deputy Governor thing came up and I was on holiday in the US, when a call came in, that the chairman of the party at the time Chief Victor Umeh wanted me to serve as the Deputy Gubernatorial candidate and of course I came back (and) we won the election.
“Second tenure, the governor invited me, I never asked him to be his running mate. He said that I would be his running mate and that information there was no communication between me and him until the day he was making this announcement at the Women Development Center when he mentioned my name as his running mate.”
“Have I been happy? No, I haven’t been happy. The story of what transpired and why I find myself where I am I said it’s going to be taken for another day. Simply said, I have not been happy, I have not been carried along; I have not been treated well I have been in the back. I have been treated as if I didn’t exist.
“I don’t have anything against APGA as a party but instead of a party moving forward to gain ground in the region we lost ground nd we have lost ground. We need to be at the center. The party politics in Nigeria is not based on any ideology.”