The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) party is set to reenact the momentum that catapulted it to national prominence a few years ago when it holds its special convention on Sunday, October 7, 2018. The special convention is specifically to adopt the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, General John Gbor from Benue State.
Already, the Barcelona Hotel venue of the convention in the ever busy Wuse 2 District of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, is bustling with activities, preparatory to hosting its special guests.
The Chairman of the party’s convention planning committee, Wing Commander Joe Anyika disclosed Friday that, apart from a speech by the Chairman of the party, Dr. Victor Oye, the other notable speaker will be the chairman of the party’s board of trustees, BOT, Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Willy Obiano.
Sunday’s event stands out for many reasons. Apart from being the last party to hold its convention, this will mark the first time that APGA, the third largest party in Nigeria, will be fielding a presidential candidate since 2011 when its late leader, Ikemba Nnewi Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu ran for office.
Barring last minutes changes, the delegates to the convention will be expected to ratify the party’s sole presidential candidate, major General John Gbor (Rtd.) who has already chosen Lagos-based businessman, Chief Jerry Chukwueke, from Imo State as his running mate.
The political mill is already abuzz with the view that the choice of General Gbor from Benue State is the party’s way of emphatically announcing its arrival as a national party thereby shedding, once and for all, the toga of a regional party. But before now, APGA had maintained a steady transformation especially with the spectacular performance of its gubernatorial candidate in Nasarawa State in 2015, Mr. Labaran Maku. Besides, the party has also produced legislators in Taraba and some other states.
To most political watchers, the 2019 election provides the party an opportunity to break into greater reckoning. Several reasons account for this line of thought. Disenchantment among voters, who have lost fate in the two leading political parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress party, APC, and the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, ranks among the strongest points in favour of APGA.
Added to this is the appeal of APGA as a people-oriented party, a point that is boosted by the sterling performance of successive APGA Administrations in Anambra State with Willie Obiano holding aloft the banner of people-oriented service.
Should the convention go as planned, the expected emergence of General Gbor and Chukwueke as presidential candidate and running mate, respectively, will add impetus to the appeal of the party. Gbor is completely new to the political scene and though Chukwueke has had a stint running for office, like Gbor, he does not bring any baggage to the table; a claim that not many politicians can confidently make.
Feelers from the presidential campaign team in Abuja indicate that General Gbor will use his acceptance speech to outline about five covenants he would enter into with Nigerians. Predictably, Gbor who retired from the army in 2004 will place security on top of his covenant document. Others are restructuring, the post-oil economy, women and youth empowerment and infrastructure.