Anambra: The battle line is drawn despite PDP crisis

by | September 2, 2013 12:00 am



The major parties in contention for the Anambra State governorship seat have selected their flag bearers. The battle line has thus been drawn. Although the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket is in contention, it is not likely going to hinder the party from participating in the election on November 16. It is expected that the umbrella party will sort out the problem before the election day.

Those who emerged from different parties include Willie Obiano (APGA); Tony Nwoye and Andy Uba (from parallel primaries- PDP), Ifeanyi Uba (Labour Party), and Chris Ngige (All Progressive Congress).

The contenders and electoral their worth

Willie Obiano

The APGA flag bearer has, all his life, worked in the oil and banking sectors. His political sagacity is unknown.  It was on this plank that those who alleged hanky-panky in his emergence at the primaries based their sentiment. Pundits believe that should he win the gubernatorial election on November 16, he, like Peter Obi, the incumbent governor, would maintain the relationship with Fidelity Bank Plc where he is currently a director.

However, some critics wonder if Obiano’s “controversial” emergence as it is being touted that he rode on the shoulders of the incumbent governor, will not re-enact the godfather syndrome of yesteryear that nearly plunged the state into abyss.

Of all the contestants, Obiano’s chances of winning are brightest. This is essentially because of the incumbent factor in his favour. Moreover, Obi has done his best in Anambra in his tenure and has really manifested a high degree of accountability. He has done his best in giving education a push from where he met it in 2006. The religious and traditional institutions have tasted his administration’s milk of kindness. These and more are likely going to positively play in Obiano’s favour. Although it is expected that power should shift to Anambra North, Obiano is from Anambra East. Whether or not that would work against his electoral victory will be determined at the polling stations on November 16.

Before Obiano entered into the murky waters of politics, he had served as an executive director of Business Banking at Fidelity Bank Plc. He started his banking career as a supervisor with First Bank of Nigeria in 1981 from where he moved to Texaco Nigeria plc, an oil marketing company as an accountant. Obiano rose to the position of Chief Internal Auditor in Texaco before joining Fidelity. In Fidelity, he has worked in various departments ranging from operations to marketing and internal audit. He served as an executive director of Fidelity Bank Plc.

PDP contested candidature

The lingering crisis in Anambra State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is once again threatening the electoral chances of the umbrella party. The emergence of two candidates from parallel primaries has put a spanner in the wheel of progress of the party. While Tony Nwoye emerged from a primary organised by the Ken Emeakayi-led faction of the PDP leadership in the state, recognised by the National secretariat of the party, Andy Uba, was elected as a flag bearer from another primary supervised by Ejike Oguebeogu that has the support of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). While the drag over who becomes the authentic candidate of the PDP for the November 16 gubernatorial election persists, different courts have been given conflicting orders on the same subject matter. Uba had rushed to a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt presided over by Justice H.A. Nganjiwa, to restrain PDP and INEC from recognising Nwoye as the gubernatorial candidate.

Following his prayer, the court had ordered the PDP and INEC to accept the results that emerged from the Oguebeogu wards congresses, pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction or pending the hearing and determination of the motion to set aside the interim order.

Last Thursday, another Port Harcourt court orders PDP, INEC to recognise Nwoye. To avoid unnecessary legal tussle, the PDP suspended Andy Uba, his brother, Chris, and some other four politicians in the faction that produced Uba as flag bearer.

Nwoye

Tony Nwoye is a political neophyte when put side by side with most the contenders for the number one position in the state touted as “Light of the Nation.”

His electoral chances in the forthcoming poll will be dependent on how amicably the legal issues surrounding his emergence are resolved. Moreover, it will take extra work on the part of the party for Nwoye to win in an APGA enclave.

Critics expressed fears that election of Nwoye could open doors for godfathers to swoop on the state for harvest. Those who hold this view say the manner of his emergence suggest the handiwork of some interests hiding behind the scene.

Last week, the national secretariat of the PDP recognised the emergence of Nwoye. The South East caucus of the party at a meeting in Enugu also passed a vote of confidence in Nwoye’s election from the primaries.

Nwoye’s political journey started from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, when he was studying Medicine and Surgery at the Enugu Campus of the University (UNEC). He was deep in the Students Union Government (SUG) affairs of the university, and soon became the President of the SUG in UNEC.

Soon after, Nwoye became the national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). That gave him the leverage into mainstream politics at the national level. Serving in various Federal Government committees and boards, as well as in the National Political Conference, boosted his political stature more. His rise in mainstream politics was attributed to connection with the former presidential aide of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Andy Uba, whose family were holding sway in the Anambra PDP. Tony’s association with Uba led to his becoming assistant secretary of the PDP in Anambra. In 2006, Nwoye became the PDP chairman of Anambra State. It was under his leadership in 2007 that Andy Uba emerged as the governorship candidate of the party, from where he proceeded to win the elections before he was sacked by the Supreme Court.

In 2011, Nwoye contested and won the election for the seat of Anambra East/West Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives. He was not able to get to the green chamber legislative house, due to legal complexities surrounding his election. His political godfather was obviously irked by Nwoye’s decision to gun for the position of governorship of the state, a position he, himself, had been interested for a long time.

 Andy Uba

Until the time of filing this report, Uba was contending for the ticket following his emergence at a parallel primary that was recognised by INEC. Uba has been very controversial in Anambra politics. His penchant for taking a unilateral decision against that of his party has been legendry. In the recent past, he, in cahoots with his younger brother, Chris, plunged Anambra into crisis of monumental proportion. Drawing inspiration from Aso Rock in the days of President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Uba’s rode roughshod on Chris Ngige, who mounted the saddle as governor of Anambra on their sponsorship. The Ubas have been controversial in the state politics. Currently, Andy is a senator and chairs the Senate Committee on INEC. Critics believe that it this position that may have empowered him to swing the support of the electoral body to his side. It is doubtful that he will emerge the authentic candidate of the party at the end of the day since it is not possible for INEC to dictate to the PDP who should field. If he eventually by dint of luck clinches the ticket, pundits say his electoral chances are very slim as Anambra people may not be ready to return to the trauma of yesteryear.

Ifeanyi Uba

The Capital Oil boss is the flag bearer of the Labour Party (LP). A new face in politics, he is however, riding on the wing of his financial prowess. He was said to have allegedly “settled” those who had wanted to square up with him with money and latest automobiles. These allegations remain unconfirmed though. The philanthropist is counting on the support of those who have benefitted from his largesse. Pundits have said if the election were to be held in Lagos, the young oil magnate would have cleanly swept the poll going by the amount of mobilisation he has done among his kinsmen in Lagos. His chances are slim in the face of big names and incumbency factor in favour of APGA candidate.

Chris Ngige

Arguably the most astute of them all, but appears to have lost electoral values over the years. When he presided over the state between 2003 and 2005, he was the man of the people, essentially due to the way he demystified godfatherism and “shamed” the enemies of the people. Ngige, a senator of the Federal Republic may no longer be having that charm. Moreover, the platform on which he is seeking election in Anambra is largely alien to the people. It is feared that a vote for Ngige would mean handing over Anambra to APC, the spirit and soul of which are somewhere in the South West geo-political zone. Pundits also said that Ngige like other governors on the platform would pay compulsory “taxes” to APC lords (whatever that means). As of the time of filing this report Friday night, result of the APC primaries was not out, and it was not clear if indeed other aspirants on the platform agreed to step down for him, or if there was an election.

By: Zebulon Agomuo

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