By Toni Wakiki
When Dr Ijeomah Arodiogbu emerged as the (National Vice Chairman) NVC (Southeast) of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) few months ago, his first pronouncements and indeed body language left no one in doubt as to his avowed commitment to improving the perception of the APC in the entire southeast. Needless to say, that the average Igbo man hitherto viewed the APC as a “northern party” just because it is the party of the current president Muhammed Buhari, but with the recent PDP primaries outcome, I wonder which party is more North?
Thus, in the words of Dr Arodiogbu “it is indeed a wicked campaign of calumny by our opponent to paint a Pan-Nigeria political organization like the APC in ethnic or religious colors”. The National Vice Chairman insists that the two major political parties in Nigeria have ample presence in all the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria and also parades tested politicians from all major and minority tribes in the country.
It was therefore against this negative propaganda backdrop, that Dr Ijeomah Arodiogbu hit the ground running, upon assumption of office, with a singular mandate to “rebrand the APC in Alaigbo and expand its electoral fortunes and frontiers”. In so doing, Dr Arodiogbu figured out the primary task was to sharpen the skills of the spokesmen of the party across all the nearly 1000 INEC wards in the five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, with a view to bringing them up to speed with the current trends in Electioneering process in Nigeria and to also ensure that they were up to date with the numerous achievements of both the two APC States of Ebonyi and Imo, as well as the various life changing federal projects in the Southeast.
According to the NVC, “It was simply unacceptable for Dr Umahi to have transformed Ebonyi literally from grass to grace and yet nobody was using that to win supporters into the APC”. In the same vein, he alluded to the aggressive road revolution embarked upon by Governor Hope Uzodinma in Imo State, in just two years despite the huge draw backs of COVID 19 pandemic and the unknown gunmen saga. In the words of Dr Ijeomah Arodiogbu, “if we blow our trumpets well, using the verifiable achievements of the two APC states, the rest of the Southeast especially those states where their citizens are yearning for good governance, will be ours for the taking in 2023”.
Dr Arodiogbu equally sees such historic achievements of the Buhari Administration in Alaigbo such as the 2nd Niger bridge, the Enugu Onitsha Expressway, the Auchi-Uromi/Asaba Expressway all of which have either been completed or at advanced stages of completion, as veritable tools for winning more converts if only the image makers of the party were alive to their duties from the wards to the state levels.
Consequently, for five straight weeks back-to-back, Dr Arodiogbu, in concert with his Zonal Executives, convened a Stakeholders forum in Enugu and then went on to convene a train the trainer’s workshop for all the publicity secretaries of APC in the various wards, LGA’s and States in the Southeast.
These workshops which attracted prominent resource persons from various nonpartisan organizations, centered on how to rebrand and reposition the APC to win more votes in the Southeast. The idea is simply to ensure that their story is not told by their opponents but by themselves.
As the nation prepares for the next round of general elections, the southeast APC believes strongly that it has what it takes to add Enugu and Abia States to its Kitty. In the words of Dr Arodiogbu, “when a governor spends 8 years doing just one flyover or when the other governor spends 8 years just building billboards of himself all over the state, what do you do? You take over their state.
Wakiki is a public influencer based in Abuja