The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Victor Umeh, said on Tuesday, defended the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan, as its presidential candidate in the 2015 presidential election.
He said since there was no Igbo contesting for the president, it would be a waste of time aligning with the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Mr. Umeh spoke while delivering a lecture titled “Towards a successful 2015 election: The role of the opposition,” to mark the inauguration of the executive committee of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, in Enugu.
APGA had in August said it would not field a presidential candidate in the coming presidential election, saying it would support the candidacy of Mr. Jonathan, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
“We have been lampooned and condemned because we are supporting President Jonathan – let me tell you quite frankly, until we lead our people on the right track we are wasting our time,” he said.
“Today there are no Igbos contesting for president in the APC, so why align with APC?”
The APGA national chairman also explained that in supporting Jonathan, the party had to look at the dynamics of politics in Nigeria with total reflection on the journey of the Igbos.
He stated further, “Jonathan has shown respect for the Igbos even if he has challenges running the affairs of the country, most of which are man-made. APGA has no apologies for supporting President Jonathan – what we offer is constructive criticism.”
Mr. Umeh said APGA was not an appendage of the PDP, insisting that it “is a distinct political party which cannot be an appendage of another political party.”
He noted, however, that though it was not in power at the federal level, it does not mean that the party must oppose the government at the centre.
“The term opposition is misleading – in Nigeria we assume that once you are not in government you must be opposing government,” the chairman said.
“You must not oppose government all the time if you are not in government. In developed countries (opposition parties) means those who are not in government but are interested in government.”
Mr. Umeh accused the APC of engaging in “blind opposition.”
He added, “There are those who believe that not being in government but being objectively critical will help the government to serve the people better, and there are those who believe that in not being part of government, anything the government does is bad.”