It is the Week of Decision for 30 Anambra Guber Aspirants

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This week, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress are expected to conclude the selection process for their candidates for the Anambra governorship election, write Nseobong Okon-Ekong and David-Chyddy Eleke

While the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will hold it’s primary election tomorrow, Wednesday, June 23, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC ) have both scheduled their primary election for June 26. These three political parties that collectively present 30 governorship aspirants, are the most dominant in Anambra State, and known to have the capacity to do well in the election.

Currently, the political atmosphere in the state is charged, with aspirants from the various political parties making frantic efforts to reach the delegates of their parties for support. Meanwhile, two of the political parties that are dominant in the state, the PDP and APC are currently enmeshed in leadership tussle which may either affect the outcome of their primary election and/or also affect their chances in the main election in November 6.
Though many political pundits believe that the fortunes of APGA, the ruling party in Anambra has dwindled since Obiano became governor, it still has more than a fighting chance, if the Anambra Governor’s heart and soul is in APGA. He could stake everything in his control to retain the state for APGA. He may already be executing this game plan with his tacit support for Soludo, the APGA candidate who has the capacity to win the election on his personal steam.
But it may not be a smooth sail for Obiano and his desire to deliver Soludo as governor of Anambra State. Some APGA aspirants are stubbornly refusing to bury their governorship ambition, despite attempts to persuade them to do so by Obiano.
APGA is also playing up the sentiment of being the political party that can best care for the Igbo ethnic group. The party is conjuring the name of the late acknowledged Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who held APGA together until his demise.

Peoples Democratic Party
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is currently experiencing crisis, occasioned by leadership tussle. Though it is one of the prominent political parties in the state. It first clinched power in the state in 1999, and again in 2003, but was removed by the court in 2006, with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) replacing it. The November 2021 governorship election in the state is another opportunity for the party to try it’s hands at taking back leadership in the state, but currently there seems to be infighting in the party that may cost it the opportunity.

A factional leadership of the party in the state emerged last week, led by Mr Chuma Umeaba. In asserting his leadership, Umeaba announced an annulment of the recently concluded three-man adhoc delegates election conducted by the Nwobu-led executive. Though the Umeaba faction has suspended the three-man adhoc delegates election conducted by Nwobu-led exco, THISDAY gathered that the party is continuing with the scheduled primary election, and aspirants have been in last minute struggle to reach the delegates.

The 16 aspirants expected to slug it out at the party’s primary election are; Hon Chuma Nzeribe, a chieftain of the party, Mrs Chidi Onyemelukwe, daughter of late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme and deputy governorship candidate of the party in the 2017 election; Engr Chris Azubogu, a member of the House of Representatives; Val Ozigbo, immediate past president of Transnational Corporation, also known as Transcorp; Dr Obiora Okonkwo, billionaire businessman and owner of United Nigeria Airlines; Mrs Genevieve Ekwochi, a former Commissioner in Anambra State, Dr Godwin Maduka, billionaire owner of Las Vegas Pain Institute; Mr Godwin Ezeemo, famous businessman and investor; Senator Uche Ekwunife, a serving senator and Senator Ugochukwu Uba, a chieftain of the party and former lawmaker.

Others are; Johnny Maduafokwa, a technocrat and oil engineer, Tony Nwoye, a former lawmaker and chieftain of the party; Barr Winston Udeh, a United States based Attorney, Barr Emeka Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and son of former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dame Virgy Etiaba, Walter Okeke a businessman and Ifedi Okwenna a chieftain of the party and a former Commissioner in the state. State publicity secretary of the party, Hon Nnamdi Nwangwu said all is set for the primary election, and that the party has hired three venues already. “We have booked Marble Arch, Prof Akunyili Women’s Development Centre and Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, hoping that which ever the national representatives of the party choose, we will use.”
It is not clear if the closed door meetings of the 12 aspirants from Anambra South who have been insisting that it will be assumed that the PDP did not have any candidate in the election if one of them does not emerge as the party’s flagbearer has produced a consensus candidate. The likelihood of candidates stepping down in Anambra, where big ego and wealth are major considerations to aspirants, rather than the reality of political calculations is slim. So after all The huff and puff, all the 12 PDP governorship candidates from the Southern part of Anambra may not be able to present a United front. However, one of them, Dr. Godwin Maduka has lately been fraternising with former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, who is believed to have a commanding influence on the party’s candidate for the November 6 governorship poll.
The PDP governorship primary in Anambra may have unwittingly set the stage for eventual multiple litigation, the way things are going.

All Progressives Grand Alliance
The ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance is also encumberedwith crises. One week ago, the story of the disqualification of some of its top governorship aspirants upset the peace in the party. The party had disqualified five of its governorship aspirants. The aspirants disqualified are: Hon Chuma Umeoji, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, Cater Dike Umeh, Hon Nonso Smart and Ozoka Odera Ifeanyi.

The party will tomorrow, Wednesday hold it’s primary election. Those cleared to participate in the election are; Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Barr Damian Okolo, a lawyer; Hon ThankGod Ibe, a legislator in the Green Chambers and Hon Ezenwankwo Okwudili, who is also a member of the House of Representatives.

Political pundits believe that the disqualification of five aspirants of the party was simply a ploy to clear the way for Prof. Soludo, who is seen as the candidate favoued by the incumbent governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano.

Though the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APGA convened and announced the sack of the National Chairman of the party, Dr Victor Oye and another factional national chairman, Edozie Njoku with a new chairman, Chief Jude Okeke installed, there is no indication that the primary election of the party would not hold. The Okeke leadership had announced the suspension of some member of the House of Representatives, Hon Chinedu Obidigwe who is known to be a staunch supporter of Prof Soludo. It also annulled the disqualification of the five governorship aspirants, while calling on members of the public to discountenance their disqualification, insisting the primary election of the party was scheduled for July 1, as against the June 23 date earlier announced.

A chieftain of the party who spoke to THISDAY said the July 1 date should be discountenanced, stating that all is set for the primary election of the party. “Plans have already been concluded, and you know already that the INEC recognises the Victor Oye faction of the party. So, nothing will stop the election,” he said.

All Progressives Congress
APC is the only party in the state, known to have less rancour for the time being. The party has screened 11 aspirants to stand for it’s primary election on June 26
The 11 aspirants include; Sen. Emmanuel Andy Uba, a chieftain of the party and former lawmaker; Dr. George Nnadubem Moghalu, a chieftain of the party and current Director General of National Inland Waterways; Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo, a billionaire business man, Engr. Johnbosco Onunkwo an oil servicing engineer and chieftain of the party and Sir. Azuka Okwuosa, a former Local Government Chairman, Commissioner and grassroot politician.

Others are Mr. Paul Izuchukwu Orajiaka, a billionaire businessman and industrialist, Chief Ben Etiaba Jnr, Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu (rtd), Rev. Godwin Okonkwo, Comrade Maxwell Okoye and Amobi Nwokafor.
A totally unconnected occurrence which could exploited by opponents of Dr. Andy Ubah happened as a financial institution which he is allegedly indebted to went to town with the news which may have unsettled the former presidential aide who was believed to be in comfortable position to win the governorship ticket of the APC. The timing of this embarrassing public disclosure against Ubah may very be the handiwork of his political enemies.
In the Young Progressive Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, the serving senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District is having a successful solo run. No one is challenging him for the governorship ticke of the YPP, which is assumedly safely tucked into his pocket. Ubah is surely looking ahead to main governorship contest in Anambra State on November 6 to face the candidates of the other political parties.

QUOTE

The political atmosphere in the state is charged, with aspirants from the various political parties making frantic efforts to reach the delegates of their parties for support. Meanwhile, two of the political parties that are dominant in the state, the PDP and APC are currently enmeshed in leadership tussle which may either affect the outcome of their primary election and/or also affect their chances in the main election on November 6. Though many political pundits believe that the fortunes of APGA, the ruling party in Anambra has dwindled since Obiano became governor, it still has more than a fighting chance, if the Anambra Governor’s heart and soul is in APGA


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