A FOUNDING member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha on Sunday said the only thing keeping the party alive is the respect members have for President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the party, which is writhing in the pains inflicted on it by internal crisis following the 2019 general elections, died the day its leadership abandoned the progressive and democratic ideals on which it was founded.
The former governor, who is also the senator representing Imo West, noted that apart from President Buhari, the other leaders of the political blocs that merged to form APC in 2015, were schemed out by those he called “forces” that later joined the party.
Okorocha, who addressed some reporters in Abuja ahead his 58th birthday tomorrow, stressed that “there is no more APC”.
He added: “Just permit me to give you the inside of APC. This word, APC, was formed by four major political parties that had governors. One was the Centre for Progressive Change (CPC), led by President Muhammadu Buhari; Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), led by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu; All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), led by Ogbonnaya Onu, brought their structures. The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), led by myself, brought in our structure. Every other person fell into this structure.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) group came in and joined us. I gave the name APC; I designed that logo, and that was the beginning of the party. We had an understanding.
“That is the party you call APC. Unless we go back to where it all started, APC can never see the light of the day. That was how we started and that was what brought President Buhari to office.
“You cannot rule out the role of these four key people. The CPC then had only one governor in Nasarawa State; APGA had only one governor; ACN came with the chunk of the governors and ANPP had a few. We shared the first positions equally among these four parties.
Now, the founding fathers of the party are relegated to the backgrounds and people are coming with different interests, making us play the same kind of politics that PDP played.”
Expressing anger on the current state of the ruling party, Okorocha said: “There is no more APC. What we have is the respect for President Muhammadu Buhari. That is what is keeping us together, but we still believe that something can be done.
“That trust and respect is what we still call APC. Outside that respect for President Buhari and the trust is belief that he could wake up one day and correct all these injustice and make it fine. That’s the only thing that is keeping the APC. If not that, I don’t think there is anything like APC, because people are beginning to get fed up. Again, the PDP is not even better, the party has its own challenges.
“In 2023, I think people are going to vote according to their conscience. People are beginning to realise that a political platform is not the best to give you what you need. People are beginning to be more politically aware that individuals are more important than the name of a political party.”