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    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    ANAMBRA GUBER: Flag Bearers, Internal Crisis

    Andy Uba
    The past two weeks have been very busy in Anambra State, especially in Awka, the state capital, as political parties have had hectic time trying to elect their candidates for the November 16, 2013 governorship election. As at Monday, September 2, 2013, which was the last day for party primaries, 12 political parties had conducted their primaries and elected their candidates with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the
    All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) having two candidates each.
    KOWA Party took the lead on Wednesday, August 21, when they elected Chief Dennis Ogugua from Awka South local government at J-Jumac Hotel, Awka.

    Though Ogugua was the only aspirant on the platform of the party, KOWA Party held election, using Option A4, just as delegates queued local government by local government to be counted.
    Ogugua, a businessman from Awka, has brought life into the party and has promised to win the November 16 election.
    The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the next to hold its primary election. Though they held parallel primaries, the NWC of the party, which constitutionally was in charge of the primaries, had sent a panel led by Governor Shehu Shema of Katsina State to conduct the party primary election at Ekwueme Square and another, a monitoring committee headed by Gombe Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo.

    At the end of the primary election where 881 delegates voted, Comrade Tony Nwoye beat eight other aspirants to emerge the party candidate and was later given certificate of return by the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, despite court orders granted Dr. Andy Uba who emerged in the parallel primary election.

    The PDP candidate, Comrade Nwoye, who hails from Nsugbe in Anambra East, is a former president of National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) and former state chairman of PDP in Anambra State.
    While Uba, who hails from Uga in Aguata Local Government, was a personal assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and later Governor of Anambra State for 17 days and is the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District.
    Monday, August 26 was All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) day, as on that day, 817 out of the 1,072 delegates of the party voted for Mr. Willie Obiano, giving him victory to become the party’s candidate.
    Though very fresh in the political arena, Obiano was an executive director in Fidelity Bank. Some say he was Governor Peter Obi’s account officer. He, like Tony Nwoye, comes from Anambra North Senatorial Zone.

    Labour Party (LP), African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Action Alliance (AA) followed on Wednesday, August 28 as they held their separate primaries and elected their candidates.
    The Labour Party held its primary election at Emmaus House where the 1,137 delegates, by show of hands and voice affirmation, elected the only aspirant that fulfilled the party’s obligations for the election, Dr. Ifeanyi Uba and returned him as the candidate of the party.
    Ifeanyi Uba, the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, hails from Nnewi in Nnewi North and has endeared himself to the people with his humanitarian activities, and his special love for building churches.
    Action Alliance (AA), which held its primaries the same day at Cana House Awka, elected a renowned author, Jerry Chika Okeke, who hails from Ezinifite, Aguata Local Government as its flag bearer.

    Though he is not known in the political scene, Okeke has a serious constituency in the education sector, as many of his books are being used in the schools in the state.
    Also, ADC chose Chief Anayo Arinze, a journalist, as its candidate the same day at De-Geogold Hotel, Awka.
    The next day, Thursday, August 29, the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) held its primary election at Choice Hotel, Awka where the 186 delegates voted for the only aspirant, Dr. Ifeatu Ekelem.
    Dr. Ekelem, who is an America-based medical doctor who hails from Umuokpu Awka in Awka South Local Government and is having his first shot at politics.

    The New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) held its own primary election on Friday, August 30 at the state party headquarters, Awka where the only contestant, Prince Leonard Uchendu emerged the candidate.
    Price Uchendu, who hails from Umuawulu in Awka South Local Government, is the president general of Umuawulu Community.
    Same day, the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) held its primaries and elected Chief Basil Iwuoba who was endorsed by all the delegates as the only aspirant.

    Monday, September 2, which was the last day of the party primaries, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) timetable, saw four political parties, All Progressives Congress (APC), Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), National Conscience Party (NCP) and a faction of APGA holding their primaries and electing their candidates.
    The APC primary election, which was between Senator Chris Ngige from Alor in Idemili South and Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, a native of Umuchu in Aguata Local Government, was unique as the party decided to give every registered member of the party the opportunity to elect the party’s candidate through what it called direct open ballot.

    At the end of the election, which took place in the state’s 326 wards, former governor and Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Ngige, won the election with an overwhelming 63, 255 votes to become the candidate of the party.

    PPA, in its primaries, elected Barr Blessing Ngozi Ulasi as its candidate. Ulasi hails from Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government. She polled 589 votes from the 657 delegates.
    At the NCP primary election, which held very late in the day, the party delegates elected Dr. Webster Emeka Okonkwo.
    The same day, the APGA family pulled another surprise as Maxi Okwu held a separate election. During the exercise, the APGA faction elected Dr Chike Obidigbo, one of the aspirants who were allegedly disqualified because he was perceived as a big threat to the emergence of Obiano.  Before APGA screening, Obidigbo was seen by many as the best candidate for the party because of his antecedents.
    Out of the 12, it would seem that only four parties have shown seriousness in the contest. The parties are APGA, PDP, APC and LP.

    Furthermore, out of the four, only two, Labour Party and APC, can say are free from internal crisis and thus have the masses to face now. Although APC’s Ezeemo made some complaints during election, it is not yet clear if he has accepted defeat and ready to work with Ngige to deliver the party as he promised before the election.
    APGA, which was trying to douse the tension that rose following the alleged Governor Obi’s imposition of Obiano, has been thrown off balance by the Okwu action. However, some believe it is a gimmick by the party to be at par with PDP.
    But, some of the aspirants are still bitter by what they say is the way and manner they were rigged out by the alleged change of delegates on the day of primary.
    Also, those disqualified to pave the way for Obiano, the governor’s anointed, may have been pacified so as to keep their support for the party.

    The PDP, as usual, is battling with several court orders as those who lost in the primary have refused to accept defeat and join hands with the party for the November election.
    As it is, it is hoped that all the parties would be able to put their houses in order soon and get into campaigns with unity of purpose.
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