With the array of aspirants’ queueing up on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party appears serious in its bid to take over Anambra State during this year’s governorship election. Southeast Bureau Chief NWANOSIKE ONU looks at the chances of the party in the contest
Political parties have begun preparations for the Anambra State governorship election, which is scheduled to take place on November 6. Though there is an avalanche of parties, only three, for now, are seriously planning for the election. They are, the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP and the APC are angling to remove the governing party, APGA, from its stranglehold. But, the party remains adamant in retaining the seat.
A lot of governorship aspirants from the three leading parties have shown interest in the seat currently occupied by Willie Obiano of APGA.
The pertinent question being asked by observers is how ready are those aspirants and their political parties? For instance, the APC, which holds the ace at the federal level, has not made much impact in Anambra State since it was formed. Yet, it parades an array of big wigs in the state. Some analysts believe that it will take some time before the party will be accepted, not only in Anambra, but the entire Igboland.
However, Nze Modestus Umenzekwe, a chieftain of the party, has dismissed such a notion. He believes the APC has good followership in the state and the Southeast in general.
Umenzekwe said the reason the APC is not doing well in Anambra is because of the selfishness of the leaders. He said the party leaders have this attitude of “it must be me”, which he said, keeps drawing the APC back; instead of progressing.
As the state prepares for polls in 10 months’ time, is the APC ready to cause a major upset? Chief Denis Ngene, an APC chieftain, told The Nation that the people have started identifying with the party.
He said APC will make waves in Anambra this year because of the quality of aspirants. The aspirants are Senator Andy Uba, Dr Chidozie Nwankwo, Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo, Geoff Onyejegbu and Azuka Okwuosa. There is also Chief George Moghalu, who is the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Inland Waterways (NIWA).
Besides, the APC parades other intimidating names on its membership. They include the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Dr Chris Ngige; two-term House of Representatives member and the last governorship candidate of the APC, Dr Tony Nwoye; Chief Kodilinye Okelekwe; and Senator Emma Anosike.
But, they usually don’t work as a team for the party’s interest. There has been a lingering accusation of gang up against each other whenever it is electioneering period.
Few days ago, APC leaders in the Southeast, led by Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma came to Anambra with the aim of solving the problem of disunity within the fold. Uzodinma described the November 6 governorship election as a must-win for the party.
The governor said it is unfortunate that the party has been playing second fiddle in the state for a long time, despite the calibre of people that make up the party.
He, however, assured aspirants eyeing the governorship seat that there would be a level-playing field during the primary, because the party has no anointed candidate. He urged the aspirants to build a good relationship with the people in their constituencies and that they should not look up to the party leadership to influence their votes.
Uzodimma said whoever the people gives the ticket would be the party’s flag bearer in the election. He said: “The APC cannot continue to be opposition in the state. We must be ready to take the initiative to win the state in November 6 election. But, it can only be possible if we’re united. It is the desire for peace and unity in the party that brought us here, for the sole purpose of reconciling the different groups.
“We know all of them that prefer to work alone. Our main job is to reconcile all of them. When we achieve this, it will help us in strengthening the party ahead of the registration exercise, the congress and convention and the election proper.
“Peace in the party will also help us organise a credible primary that will produce the party’s flagbearer. A transparent primary will guarantee they rally round to support the winner.
“Let me make it very clear for the people of Southeast that that November election is a must-win for the APC. The Southeast must mobilize forces known and unknown to ensure that the election is won for the APC.”
But, how ready is your party for the November governorship election? The Caretaker Chairman, Chief Basil Ejidike told The Nation that the party is 100 per cent ready. Nevertheless, his major headache remains the disunity among the members and the lack of funding from the stakeholders. It was the same scenario that played out during the 2017 governorship when Governor Obiano secured his second term mandate.
It was an established fact that virtually all the stakeholders worked against Nwoye, who was the party’s candidate in that election. The same stakeholders who worked against Nwoye’s candidature are still on the prowl.
But, many of them have sworn that they would accept whoever emerges as the party’s flagbearer.
Indications are that the pendulum is already swinging towards four of the aspirants. They are Senator Uba, Dr Nwankwo, Chief Moghalu and Chief Onunkwo
Among the four, Uba appears to be more experienced, having contested the position in 2007 and was declared the winner by the umpire. He was later removed by the Supreme Court after 17 days, following the case instituted by Peter Obi against his declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Besides, Uba served as a two-term senator, representing Anambra South before he lost his third term bid to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah who contested on the platform of the Youth Progressives Party (YPP) in 2019.
Moghalu has also acquired some experience in that regard. He once contested for governors on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP). The managing director of NIWA is not a neophyte in the political arena and should be watched closely too.
Nwankwo, the chief executive officer of Witchtech Group is equally adequately prepared for the battle ahead. If given the ticket, he has all it takes to prosecute the governorship election, according to him.
Speaking with The Nation, Nwankwo said: “Just watch. You will see that the APC will form the next government in Awka. I don’t say things that don’t happen. Going forward, there will be a change in the ruling party. Just watch and see.
“That will let you know that I am not just an ordinary aspirant. Yes! And that has been all my life. If you ask people who know me about me, they will tell you. Check everything that I have ever done. When I started selling these roof tiles, nobody knew about it in Nigeria. But today, it is the in-thing everywhere. I have always gone ahead.
“So, I always like to drive things. I study situations ahead of time. Watch and see, APGA will not rule Anambra again. Mark my word.”
However, it remains to be seen how far the APC will go in its bid to take over Anambra.
Credit: The Nation