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Politics 2023: In Ezeokenwa APGA got it very right


By Chuka Nnabuife 

APART from the keenly contested general election of February and March the emergence of 38-year-old Sylvester Ezeokenwa as the National Chairman of the  All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in May was one of the major political highpoints of the departing year, 2023.

It came against many doubters predictions even as the skeptics almost solely assumed that his being relatively young could be an Achilles heal.

Many could not explain why they  thought the physically and intellectually imposing, seven-footer, cerebral attorney at law with deep steep in party politics would not fit the post. Most expressed concerns dwelt on his youthfulness without explanations of 'why' or 'how'.

After Ezeokenwa's election, a former legislator and legal practitioner told this reporter: "Though age really matters, there's nothing else that does not fit in the party's decision. What we have is one of the best brains in legal matters that affect political parties. He also has a broad spectrum of experience, interestingly, solely and solidly in APGA."

Seven months after, the Umuchu, Aguata, Anambra State-born lawyer with a noteworthy pedigree in political party administration and agitations has proved the doubting Thomases wrong. 

He has proved himself, a well-groomed scion of a very astute political family with his activities in office and his sagacity in man-management as well as in navigating the scorching footpaths of partisan politics.

The erstwhile national political adviser of APGA, who was formerly Anambra State's Commissioner for Special Duties, upon his election as the National Chairman of the  party, said his desire was to succeed on the job and make the youth of Nigeria proud with his record in the stead. He hinted he would not be receiving salaries in his new position.

In his early press interaction at Abuja, the man who succeeded Dr. Victor Ike Oye at the helm of APGA, told journalists in June that he and the party's leadership nurse a desire to key into the demand of Nigerian youths for transformation and generational change in politics and government.

The 'Daily Trust' reports thusly: “As part of rebranding of APGA, the office of the APGA National Chairman is not a salary-paying employment, neither is it a full-time job. I am a legal practitioner and I have my office. I intend to continue to practice, even as a national chairman of APGA because we must send a message out there that the fact that you are occupying so and so office is not enough.

“People must see that you are setting that example. If I do nothing on my career, how would I take care of my family and the education of my children? So I am a lawyer and would practice my profession."

He dropped his personal and corporate reasons for such a mission. “Today, I am the youngest national chairman of any political party in Nigeria and posterity stares at the new executives in the face as they lead all progressives in the country,’’ he said.

So far, Mr. Ezeokenwa has stepped forward with  the strides of the giant he is both literally and ideologically.

Among his noteworthy imprints are the completion and use of the hitherto lulling APGA's regional headquarters in Awka, successful prosecution of majority of the party's post-election cases in tribunals and appellate courts and smart settling of several vexed internal issues without the fold.

As a son of an astute founding member of APGA, attorney Ezeokenwa has reaped reaped a huge goodwill and credibility from his son-of-soil status in the party. His leadership of the APGA family has benefited remarkably from the residual knowledge inherent from that tap root.

Seldom-speaking Ezeokenwa has also been very smart and lucky enough to avoid some the providential factors that badly harm political parties such as gaffes and being found in inexplicably odd places. These also buttress his political sagacity and good fortune.

With hindsight, APGA's pick of Ezeokenwa as its National Chairman, seven months ago, could pass as one of the best decisions a political party made in 2023.

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