Ousted founder of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and current national chairman of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has revealed that his party has embedded self-determination and referendum in its manifesto.
Okorie, who spoke with our correspondent in Enugu while fielding questions from journalists said that, following the continued and persistent agitation for self-determination by various ethnic nationalities and regions across the country, his party has included these elements in order to be able to undergo a healthy dialogue with these dissenting voices in order to strengthen unity in the country.
His words: “UPP is stable and not factionalized, and its orientation, is pro-Igbo and also pro-Nigeria ethnic nationalities. It is the only political party that has in the preamble of its manifesto, provision for self- determination and provision for resource control through federalism.
“No other political party has those provisions, even though we are still going to strengthen those provisions and widen it for Igbo people to know that there is a social contract that will reflect their aspirations”.
Speaking further, Okorie informed journalists that his party stands the best chance of winning the coming Anambra State governorship elections: “Our chances of winning the state are very bright as a result of a number of factors. All the political parties that exist today in Nigeria, major political parties are factionalized.
“It’s a common saying that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and we have seen that happen in states where PDP went for election, like Edo and Ondo.
“In Igbo land, PDP is a very big disappointment to the Igbo people because practically 70 to 75 percent of their politicians invested so much resources in the PDP for 16 good years - from the inception of PDP till it lost power at the centre.
“There is nothing that Igbo people can show for their loyalty and support to the PDP. APC, based on President Buhari’s own attitude, especially with regards to appointment have not been able to endear both himself and the party to Ndi Igbo.
“As a matter of fact, our people see APC as a nightmare, and it will be wishful thinking for anybody to think that the average Igbo man will go and vote for an APC candidate even in the 2017 election in Anambra State. I do not know how the President and APC will do it, between now and then to change the frame of mind of the Igbo people.
“Without sounding immodest, I founded APGA based on a certain vision which many people have come to appreciate. The APGA crises made the party to derail, to veer off. Having founded UPP, based on the same vision, my passion for our people to liberate themselves, to emancipate themselves is too well known and it has rubbed off positively.
“So as I speak to you, UPP has received endorsement from practically every Igbo group, whether Anambra or not, including those in the diaspora. Many groups have visited me during this Yuletide to also declare their endorsement and support.
“What is left for us is to have a level playing field where a candidate will emerge in a transparent, credible primary election. Once that is done, winning Anambra State will be a foregone conclusion.
“Igbo people generally perceive the election in Anambra as a litmus test to determine their resolution, their resolve to liberate themselves politically.”