The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Umeh, has turned down an invitation by the Anambra State Government to a reconciliation talks with the Chief Maxi Okwu faction of the party.
Umeh said he would not respond to an appeal extended to him by the Special Adviser to the Anambra State Governor of Political Matters, Mr. Fidelis Okafor.
Umeh said he would not talk with aides or subordinates to the governor because they were too junior to engage him.
“If you want to get a reaction based on what Fidel Okafor said, you find somebody at his level and call him to get his reaction. You can’t call me and start telling me that,’’ Umeh said on the telephone on Tuesday.
Okafor, who spoke with reporters in Onitsha on Tuesday, appealed to Umeh to review his “hardline position” against the Okwu-led leadership of APGA “in the interest of Ndi Igbo and the political legacy of Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.”
Okafor said the party was not chasing anybody out but had resolved to bring everybody back into the fold.
He said the current leadership was ready to welcome Umeh and other members back as well as accord them their due respect, regard and pride of place in the party.
Okafor, while speaking with reporters, said, “I use this medium to advise Chief Umeh to soft pedal. If all of us believe that this party is good enough for the Igbo people, one cannot continue going ahead creating impressions that there are problems. There are problems here and there.
“There is no problem again, the party is willing and ready to re-integrate him, but it does not make any sense if he continuous to fight to be national chairman.
“One, between you and I, there is no political party in this country that has retained one national chairman for 10 years. Victor Umeh started acting as national chairman in 2004. Next year it will be 10 years and he is not tired.
“It continues to change, but in APGA it was as if it has become somebody’s empire or dynasty, where you must be there, probably hand-over to his son.”
He added, “So that is what we want to stop. It is a national party that gives the Igbo people identity. So, we have to do things democratically to reflect how parties are run everywhere.
“Our party constitution makes it clear that no one person can occupy one position for more than eight years. From 2004 till now, you know what it means, that is nine already and by next year it becomes 10. Somebody is not tired, he wants to be there.
“My prayer is that he sees reason and accepts peace. If he wants to remain in APGA, we can give him a pride of place as a former national chairman, maybe whatever thing he wants. But he must let the leadership of the party be, must let the party be.”