The All Progressive Grand Alliance – APGA, is not a political party. It is a spirit that was, is and always will be. The core of this spirit is Igbo cosmology, hinged on unfettered liberty and equality. Understanding what this Igbo world view is, is understanding the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of this liberation movement –APGA.
The Igbo have been described as an adventurous, risk prone, stern and rugged incarnation. He is an enigma and a living paradox. As a people, ndi Igbo are visibly individualistic and autonomous yet bonded and collective. Igbo wu Igbo are a mystery, very enterprising, resilient, and a communalistic race. With an intricate system of integrated kinship affinity, ndi Igbo believe in strong family solidarity. Igbo are deeply spiritual and reputed for social avoidance. The Igbo, are everywhere and in everything, and always guided by a sense of cosmic justice.
Why are we here today? We are here today because the entire Igbo world is currently plagued by confusion, confusion of leadership, confusion of direction, confusion of purpose et al. Internal and external forces seem to be tearing at our race from all corners. Our birth place is beset with a disease that threatens the foundations of our decency and morality. We see a sad picture of desolation, destitution, despondency and desperation everywhere. Our people groan from their imposed taskmasters and the land has become a land of bondage and wicked oppression. Our young ones and the generations yet unborn will not forgive us if we fail to seize this moment and chart the course for the future of our land and our people.
To many Igbo, they do not feel any sense of lose, to others though they feel something is lost they do not think it is something to worry about. Yet to some others, the situation is so grave that it is hopeless trying to do anything about it and so have resigned to fate.
It is understandable that the Igbo have suffered major disasters since the beginning of time and these have affected ndi Igbo adversely. The Ife debacle, the four hundred years of slavery, the colonial imposition and the civil war levied on the Igbo. APGA believes that something has gone wrong with us and we are no longer whom we ought to be neither are we where we ought to be today as a people. This, APGA has come to correct.
As Frank Fanon said, “every generation must discover its destiny, fulfil it or betray it.” This Igbo destiny that APGA has come to fulfil was what the Great ‘Igbo spirit’, Zik of Africa articulated in 1946 at the Igbo State Union rally in Aba “that God had created the Igbo to free the Africans from the bondage of ages.” In 1869 J.A.R. Horton, a Diaspora Igbo and founder of Fourray Bay University had said, “As a rule they (Igbo) believe in the prosperity of all Africans.” The above observation of Horton was the same that drove Olauda Equiano, an Igbo former slave, in the 18th century, to struggle for the freedom of African slaves in Europe and the Americas. The same ideas drove the Igbo of Haiti to fight and win their independence from France in 1803 as the first independent black nation in the world. The same goes for other Diaspora Igbo like Bishop Turner and E.W. Blyden to found Liberia (Freeland), the first modern Republic in Africa. The same destiny drove the Igbo slaves in United State turning them into catalyst for black freedom and an eventual American civil war in 1860. The same spirit drove Aime Cesaire, a Diaspora Igbo from the Igbo dominated Island of Martinique to declare negritude – the philosophy of African self pride. Same drove ZIk to sponsor Africans to study in United states and sent lawyers to defend Jomo Kenyatta in East Africa. No wonder that even before the flames of the Biafran war had abated in 1970, Sonny Oti has come out with a hit track, ‘Nkosi Nwa M’, calling our people to go to Apartheid South Africa to save Nkosi! People with Igbo blood in their vain feel spontaneously that the well being of the African is their business and as a herald and eternal guardian of Africa. This was what the Great Zik called the ‘Igbo Manifest Destiny!’
APGA has come for us to reclaim that destiny. As we are all aware, the Igbo have become trapped and disoriented leading to our current parlous state. This situation is partly due to external forces and due to our selves. Otu mba di ha dewere onwe ha. The truth is that no one can hold you back for long without your consent. The redeemer needs redemption; the healer must first be healed. This means that Igbo must try to understand himself, identify himself- ima onwe. Horton over two hundred years ago said of his brethren, “the Igbo are considered the most imitative and emulative people in the whole of West Africa… place them anywhere you will… they easily adapt… they always possess a desire for superiority and make attempts to attain it or excel in what is praise worthy without a desire of depressing others.” Unfortunately today, Prof. Osuagwu, reminds us that that tendency to imitate and emulate what is praise worthy has reduced to imitation of whatever can fetch money. The ethic of fair and righteous achievement has been reduced to mean-minded economic cannibalism. Imitation of all makes a nobody out of somebody. We must understand ourselves and our problems so as to solve them. The challenge therefore is to try and recapture our Igbo nature, our Igbo spirit and reconstruct Igbo society, we can then effectively march forward again to fulfil the Igbo manifest destiny. And that is what APGA has come to do, to rebuild our broken world. Onye kwe chi ya ekwe.
How do we rebuild this broken world and rediscover the Igbo glory days as vividly and recently recaptured by Chinua Achebe in his book ‘There Was A Country’? APGA has fashioned a path through which we can live in this new perilous dawn. The ancient Igbo philosophy readily comes into mind – ako bu ije. The Igbo also captured the idea of living in perilous times as now in our philosophy of ony ndi iro gbara gburugburu na eche onwe ya nche mgbenile. APGA has come to change our style from ike otu onye back to ibu anyi ndanda (synergy).
Through APGA, our manifest destiny, the reason why God created us Igbo – ‘To restore the Dignity of Man’, will be realized.
APGA therefore is not a mere political party but a GREAT SPIRIT, a mass movement – a resurgimento. And how does APGA plan to achieve this vision amidst the glossolalia coming from every part of Igboland? Hold your peace! Remember we did it in the past under the Igbo State Union whose symbol; the cockerel is the current APGA logo. In the past, this Great Spirit gave birth to the Igbo State Union which in turn berthed NCNC, and the Zikist Movement, that transmogrified into UPGA, that survived through NPP and metamorphosized into Ohanaeze and finally rose from the dead as APGA! Who can kill a spirit?
But then, it is said that in the obi of a great man are all sorts. The Igbo Spirit that is APGA says, let all flowers bloom. Let it bloom in Massob, in IPOB, in Bilie, in ADF, in Aladima and in countless others, sons and daughters of Igbo answering the clarion call of Igbo renaissance. APGA, the Igbo spirit, despite enemy machinations will never let her children stray too far because there are various gifts but the SPIRIT is one.
‘But how can they who never follow a leader’? our traducers ask? APGA has a message for you. The Igbo follow and respect intoto a sincere leader, a leader that is completely and totally open, a leader who is considered innocent (aka ya di ocha), a leader who takes on the cause of the masses and fights it without let, a leader who looks the strong in the face and tell him/her the truth – a selfless leader. A cursory look at some of the leaders whom ndi Igbo followed in the past with all their heart will bring it home; ZIK, M.I. Okpara, Sam Mbakwe, Akanu Ibiam, Ojukwu etc.
Today’s APGA is poised with leaders of sterling qualities to help ndi Igbo recover the years eaten by the locust. As APGA under its new distinguished leadership traverse the nooks and crannies of Anambra with a massive detour to Imo and circumnavigate the entire Igbo world, preaching this gospel of Igbo revival, we are challenged and called upon to receive this new message of salvation with an open heart.
APGA as recently captured by Ike C. Ibe is beyond a party. It is a movement, it is a consciousness, it is an ideology and it is a search for identity. APGA encapsulates a peoples’ desire for inclusiveness and recognition. APGA is anti marginalisation of any kind by any kind. APGA is a spirit and like kindred spirits, its form is surreal. It cannot be kowtowed. It cannot be bottled. It cannot be arrested. It cannot be buried or suspended. It is a movement on an inexorable trajectory to uhurur of the common man against his exploitation and his exploiters. That is what APGA brings to the fore and ‘the why’ it is a dread to all parties and those who want the anti masses status quo to remain.
APGA has been variously termed a regional party, a tribal party and an Igbo party by those who do not understand our history. As a movement focused on the reclaiming of our Igbo identity; we do not owe any one any apology. Those who brand us tribal and yet foist tribal parties on us; those who had gone into mergers with other tribal parties to browbeat and hoodwink the nation-state while branding APGA a tribal party are the ones on the fault lines.
Afterall our own Great Zik of Africa had declared at Princess Alexandra Hall, Nsukka, in 1964, that “From time immemorial, the tendency of human beings is to live together. Very few normal human beings live in isolation from their kind. Therefore, consciousness of kind leads to community living. The community thus develops into a small world with its own ethos and taboos. Each member of that community owes it allegiance and, in return, the community gives security and provides protection to the individual. If the word ‘community’ is substituted for ‘tribe’, then my idea of tribe would have been conveyed…. Tribalism is a reality. National unity can be a reality; but at present it is not quite a reality. How this reality of tribalism can be adapted to the unreality of national unity to make it a reality is the problem which I will now proceed to exegete…. Every human being is a member of one particular tribe. Within that tribe, customs and traditions are established to guide, direct and control the beliefs, attitudes, and habits of its individual members. Failure to comply with the collective will tantamount to an act of disloyalty which may be punishable with severe penalties. Obedience to the tribe is thus inculcated in the tribes-folk from childhood….” This is the reality of our today’s Nigeria and our world at large.
While some Igbo dance naked with the folly of building national parties, our neighbours have continuously formed tribal parties which more often than not band together with other tribal parties for the subjugation of Igbo! APGA’s Igbo resurgimento is a challenge to this cyclical way of doing things in Nigeria that has continually left ndi Igbo with the short end of the stick.
APGA was, APGA is and APGA always will be, a Great Spirit, a mass movement geared towards renascent Igbo and total Igbo revival. APGA is calling you, yes you and all like minds who have the core Christian believe in God, and total commitment to the Igbo course to step forward and be counted.
Our cockerel reminds us all that chi a-b-o-o-l-a.
APGA IS THE IGBO SPIRIT.
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