In this interview with INNOCENT ODOH, the acting national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Alhaji Sadiq Massela, the former national deputy chairman (North) of the party, advances reasons for the removal of Chief Victor Umeh and Alhaji (Dr) Sani A. Shinkafi as the chairman and secretary of the party, respectively. He also tendered apology to the founding national chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, saying they were misled into moving against him.
Legality of Umeh’s removal
Yes! A chairman is supposed to come through a convention but there are special circumstances that bring about a change in any system. When there is an emergency to replace somebody somewhere, because there is no lacuna in leadership, so we have to set up a committee that sat and resolved that. As the deputy national chairman (North) and the highest ranking member of the party, I had to take over immediately.
Formation of quorum
That is not true. At the time we went to the press we had already formed a quorum. He was busy luring our members to come to his side boasting that he had sold one of his numerous houses and displaying money openly that they should ignore us and come to his side. Can you imagine that? Come to think of it, he was carrying our leader’s portfolio – Chief Chekwas Okorie – around few years back.
And when he joined the party, he was living in a rented apartment, but today he is boasting of selling one of his numerous houses and parades 36 state-of-the art automobiles. Victor Umeh is the most corrupt party chairman of the present political dispensation. So coming back to your question, we had the adequate number that is required in our constitution. And it was these members that discussed and came about how to checkmate Umeh’s excesses
Absolutely! It was a serious mistake on our side. I personally went to Chief Chekwas Okorie last year and apologised for the role I played in dismissing him. This man, Mr Umeh misled us totally. He was the national treasurer; he was eight in the rank to the chairman. But we foolishly allowed him to have his way, not knowing that we were having a kind of vulture you know, only for him to turn into what he has become all of a sudden.
The APGA governors positions
I don’t know the positions of both Anambra and Imo state governors. Believe you me, I don’t know their stand because I am not their spokesman. So I am not in a position to talk about their position on the issue at stake. We are here only to salvage a party from the injustice and reckless spending of party funds by Umeh and Shinkafi.
You know some of the cartoons you people draw everyday are normally true. The day Shinkafi was introduced as the secretary of the party, he was so tiny, wearing a torn dress and shoe. He was carrying all his clothing in a nylon bag and the speed he used in consuming the food that was served to him will tell you how hungry he was. But today, he is two times the size of Barrister Bala Bako (pointing at the APGA national legal adviser sitting next to him.) This is a rescue mission to save APGA from the hand of these two people who have turned APGA into a family enterprise.
The major crime is the lack of accountability and transparency in the financial administration of our party. As a matter of fact, Umeh should be ICPC (Independent Corrupt and other related offences Practices Commission)’s guest. That is where he should be sitting answering questions about his reckless handling of public fund, not just at the APGA National secretariat.
Umeh inherited 36 state offices plus Abuja, but today APGA can only boast of 3 state offices under his leadership.
Besides, there was a total absence of internal party democracy, there was no due process and unrestricted infringements of the provisions of the party constitution and violation of the electoral act in the conduct of party affairs.
Worst of all, we noticed that Umeh was having a romance and nocturnal meetings with both leaders of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with intention of merging our party with others without the approval of the National Working Committee(NWC), the National Executive Committee(NEC) or the National Convention of our great party.
Umeh and Shikafi have not been able to convene the annual National Convention of the party within twelve calendar months as required by the constitution of the party and the Electoral Act 2010. They have also refused to call the NWC of the party to meet regularly as required by the constitution. All these corruption, dictatorship and so many things too numerous to mention that are not palatable to us are what we are here to checkmate.
How we started
We started on a clean slate; I am a pioneer member of APGA before its registration. When we were running around looking for registration, Shinkafi and Umeh were not there. So we want to rescue our party from these two strange elements who came and poisoned our minds against Chief Chekwas Okorie, not knowing that they are wolves in sheep skin. Anybody who can do to Okorie what Umeh did to him is worst than a vulture. At least a vulture waits for carcass to die before feeding on them. But, these people stabbed their mentor and master in the back and fed on him while he was still alive. We want all APGA members who have run away from the party because of the duos’ dictatorial and uninspiring leadership to come back. We are ushering a new bright day.
Umeh accused Chekwas of embezzling N60million, but so far, Umeh has embezzled over N500million. In our last election, we realised over N400million, Umeh should please tell EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and ICPC what happened to this public fund. All the money was spent without the approval of the National Working Committee, without approval of the National Executive Council. Umeh and Shinkafi embezzled the fund, and if you ask question you become an enemy. They will make sure that they give you a kind of suspension or dismissal.
Filed Under: Interviews