Pongener Takes Over Naga People's Front Mantle From Dr. Liezietsu - Eastern Mirror
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Pongener takes over Naga People’s Front mantle from Dr. Liezietsu

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Oct 21, 2023 11:28 pm
Apong Pongener
Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, Apong Pongener and other party leaders after the NPG general convention-cum-61st foundation day at Capital Cultural Hall, Kohima, on Saturday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — The Naga People’s Front (NPF) party on Saturday elected Apong Pongener as the new party president, during its General Convention-cum-61st Foundation Day held at the Capital Cultural Hall, Kohima.

Pongener was elected following the retirement of Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, who served the party for two decades (1997-99 and 2005 till October 21, 2023).

Prior to his election as NPF president, Pongener served the party as the working president for three terms.

In his acceptance speech, the new president said he was humbled and honoured.

“As I stand before you, and ponder over the almost insurmountable challenge of carrying forward the vision and dreams of the NPF party pioneers, and the near task of fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of the party rank and file, you do not know just how inadequate and incomplete I do feel,” he said.

Pongener recalled that it was 51 years ago in 1972 when he became a foot soldier of the then United Democratic Front (UDF), which was eventually rechristened the Naga Peoples’ Front.

Much water has flown under the bridge of Naga history since then, but the vision and spirit of the Naga people embodied by the NPF continues to live on stronger than ever, he said.

“The one achievement of mine that I can humbly speak about is that the larger Naga spirit and vision of the party sustained my own convictions, to never waver but remain rooted and steadfast in the party during those 51 years,” he said.

Pongener affirmed that the NPF believes in and stands for the future of the Naga people and their indigenous brethren everywhere.

“As we journey on together towards the future, in unfortunate world of most volatile politics of sheer opportunism and expediency, I am confident that, together, we will continue to conduct our party politics of unflinching conviction and principles in such a way, that people will look up to us with confidence and hope for a better future,” he added.

He commended the leadership of Dr. Liezietsu and also thanked hium for leading the party through some of the most difficult and tumultuous years in the Naga political saga.

He also sought his continued wise counsel and advice to guide the party whenever in need.

All is well with the party – Nienu

Legislator and leader of NPF Legislature Party, Kuzholuzo Nienu, in his speech, paid homage to the pioneers of the party and outgoing president, Dr. Liezietsu.

Admitting that the regional party “is weak” at the moment, he, however, said it still stands firm while stressing the need to take measures to strengthen the party.

Nienu also informed that he had withdrawn his candidature for the post of party president, for the love of the party and to avoid further split. “All is well in this party,” he said, while urging the workers to extend full cooperation to whoever takes up the post of party president so that the party can rise again.

Asserting that good leaders will always bring people together, while bad ones will create division, he urged the party leadership to unite and forge unity.

NPF secretary general and MLA Achumbemo Kikon, highlighted various activities of the party. Minister and president of NPF Manipur State Unit, Awangbow Newmai, and former secretary general of NPF, Chubatemjen, also addressed the convention.

The programme was led by Pusazo Luruo, working president, Samuel Risom, working president, delivered the welcome address and president of NPF central women wing, Yanhola Yim, proposed vote of thanks.

Rev. Noksa Chio offered dedicatory prayer for the newly elected office bearers and frontal heads for the tenure 2024-2028.

A highlight of the convention was the last address of the long-standing party president Dr. Liezietsu, who after about two decades of heading the regional party, retired from active politics.

NPF office bearers 2024-2028

A new team of office bearers to be led by Apong Pongener as president, Dr. Huska Yepthomi, Samuel Risom, Thenucho Tunyi and Pusazo Luruo as working presidents, along with other central office bearers (COB) for the tenure 2024-2028, was announced by Tsümongo Ovung, senior vice-president and chairman of election board.

The new central frontal heads are Supoyi Vezhu as president of central youth wing; Yanhola Yim as president of central women wing; T Yangyam Phom as president of central farmers’ wing and Bishnu Bhattacharjee as president of central minority wing.

The oath for the newly elected office bearers was administered by Dr. Liezietsu, who also handed over the party flag and the constitution to his successor.

Resolutions of NPF general convention

Among the resolutions adopted during the general convention, the party acknowledged the contributions of Dr. Shürhozelic Liezietsu, the outgoing president of the NPF who sacrificed for the party for more than 50 years. The party also upheld the leadership of Kuzholuzo Nienu as the leader of the NPF Legislature Party.

The party went on to convey its appreciation to the NPF Manipur state unit for its constant support rendered to the central office in particular and to the party in general.

The convention further re-affirmed its earlier resolutions for an honourable, acceptable and inclusive solution to the protracted Naga political issue. It called upon the Naga people to be conscious of “our political history and work cohesively towards achieving our goal through peaceful means”.

16th Pfütsero AC stages walk out

Meanwhile, halfway into the general convention, the 16th Pfütsero A/C NPF staged a walk out to protest the inclusion of Thenucho Tunyi as the working president of the party.

A party worker, who introduced himself as the president of 16th Pfütsero A/C, alleged that Tunyi neither helped the party in the last general election, nor offered moral support. Another party worker echoed the same, terming him as ‘anti-party’.

Reacting to the scene, Dr. Liezietsu, who was called to stage to administer the oath to the newly elected office bearers, said, “Gentlemen, we are in a meeting; we are not on the street and we are celebrating the 61st foundation day as well as the general convention.” He then proceeded to administer the oath.

Later, secretary general Kikon said the NPF is a big party which has spread its wings to Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh as well. He said there will be differences of opinion but the party also practices inner-democracy and won’t stop anyone from expressing their views.

The incident should be taken positively and as an encouragement for party workers to express their views, he said while clarifying that the party had maintained status quo, retaining those previous office bearers who have not resigned on their own volition.

Also read: NPF’s long-serving president Dr. Shürhozelie to step down, party elections scheduled

By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Oct 21, 2023 11:28:42 pm
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