Anambra, APGA, PDP bickering primes APC for 2017
The tussle for who occupies the Anambra State Government House in November has continued to build up by the day as the political atmosphere is become exciting with the entrance of more aspirants.
The gladiators from different political parties have continued to oil their political machinery, making subtle moves with contacts and consultations under various guises.
Investigations showed that some of the politicians have intensified sponsorship of all manner of social and political activities either directly or via pseudo names, organizations and groups.
The Christmas season was an opportunity for some of the aspirants to engage different groups of interest and broaden their various consultations and meetings.
However, it appears that there may be no new entrants to the race. What may be new to most people would be the use of new platforms, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC) and perhaps the yet to be formed mega party.
APC before now did exist in the political lexicon of the State. In fact, Anambra people discarded and derided the party and this manifested in the way they voted for the candidates of the party who contested in the last general elections. The party did not produce any member in the State Assembly, none for the House of Representatives as well as the Senate, despite the presence of two former governors, Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Chris Ngige (now Minister of Labour and Employment) among others.
But with the victory of the APC at the centre under the headship of President Muhammadu Buhari, the fortunes of the party in the State began to improve. The support base enlarged even to the extent of becoming a threat to one of the traditional base of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state.
Since the general elections were concluded, the APC has benefitted from defection that is usually in the character of politicians in the country, especially the fair-weather ones.
The appointments made by Buhari’s administration, which accomodated some members of the party in the state, was an added boost to the APC.
So far, no less than 10 aspirants have declared interest to fly the flag of the APC in the governorship election. In the same vein, some members of other parties in the National and State Assemblies have hinted of joining the party including some serving members of the government in the state.
The lingering crisis in the State chapters of PDP and APGA has helped to boost the fortunes of APC.
PDP crisis started in 1999 when the party won the governorship election through Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. In APGA, a recent disagreement has produced parallel leaderships.
PDP has been engulfed in squabbles since the crisis that denied Mbadinuju his second term bid and the eventual emergence of Chris Ngige in 2003. The quashing of Ngige’s victory, three years later by the Court of Appeal in Enugu on the strength of Peter Obi’s appeal, compounded the party’s problem.
Anambra PDP has remained in disarray with the ignoble record of one State chapter with the longest election cases and turbulent state executive with numerous litigations in courts. At different times that elections have held in the state, several factions have presented candidates who have looked up to the courts to determine their authenticity.
Although it currently parades three Senators at the National Assembly and a good number of members at the House of Representatives, majority of theie election cases are still in courts awaiting pronouncements.
For APGA, the crisis that made former governor, Peter Obi to dump the party in favour of PDP, has followed the party, despite Governor Willie Obiano’s effort to gather the pieces together at least to secure his return ticket. Since he took over in 2013 as governor, the crisis has been ceaseless and intensified rather dangerously recently when a section of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party sacked its national chairman, Victor Oye and implanted Nwabueze Okafor.
They accused Oye of anti-party activities among several other alleged breaches that he (Oye) denied. After several efforts to resolve the matter failed, the Oye group met and ‘suspended’ members of Okafor-led group, a development that is now before the Federal High court in Abuja.
Observers argued that Obiano and others who may want to contest under APGA platform are in a precarious condition given the emergence of two factions and the attendant backlash.
As a result, politicians scrambling for Obiano’s position are looking beyond the PDP and APGA to realize their dreams. The assertion by observers is that the parties no longer hold the ace in Anambra politics in spite of the moneybags and big time politicians in them. Thus APC has suddenly become the beautiful bride and those who have joined have reasons for doing so.
A former governorship candidate and promoter, Movement of Voice for Democracy (MVD), Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo , who recently joined the United Progressive Party (UPP) in the state, explained that the choice of political parties in the coming election would be based on one that “offers one strong voice in government.”
Stressing that UPP under the leadership of Chief Chekwas Okorie had been most consistent and vibrant, noting that it has not sold out in the pursuit of personal financial benefits.
“Politicians want a party that is rancor free, youth friendly, and has intellectual content,” he added saying that these indices would remain paramount throughout the election.
A member of the House of Representatives and former governorship candidate of the PDP, Mr. Tony Nwoye, maintained in an interview with The Guardian that PDP and APGA have lost steam, following distressing contests for interests.
Nwoye, who dumped the PDP for APC, claimed that the only credible political party presently in the state was APC, explaining that those joining that party are doing so on the conviction that it remained the party to beat in the 2017 governorship election.
“It is not names or power of incumbency that can win this election. Power of incumbency is a potent weapon for both developed and undeveloped democracy in any election. Governor Obiano has several things working for him, he has made appointments, he has local, government resources at his disposal and many others but to us it is not an issue. We are not deterred as the masses will decide whether he has done well or not and where the pendulum will swing”, he said.
Nwoye, who is an aspirant in the November election, added that the injustices and impunity being perpetrated in PDP are working against the party.
Another aspirant from the APC, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, an industrialist who was factional candidate of APGA in 2013, believes that it was time another formidable political party steered the ship of governance in the state.
The Umunya-born industrialist, who is the proprietor of Osisioma Foundation and who recently dumped APGA for APC, observed that the only party that could guarantee the votes of the electorate in the coming election is APC.
National Auditor of the APC, Chief George Muoghalu, who recently declared his readiness to participate in the governorship race, said that APC has come to stay in the state and there was no going back.
“I am happy that APC is the most sought after in Anambra State today. President Muhammadu Buhari means well for the Igbo and the interest of the South East is better protected in an APC government. I am confident that 2017 will be good for our nation; it will bring excitement to our people,” he stated.
Indeed, there are many clandestine moves towards the November election. Such notable politicians like Senator Andy Uba, Dr. Obinna Uzor, Dr. Ifeanyi Uba, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, and Senator Annie Okonkwo among others are said to be waiting in the wings. It was gathered that a fair deal could make any of them declare for the party before the election.
Nonetheless, the leadership of the APC has said it would neither anoint a candidate nor lower the standards in the bid to ensure that the best is chosen from the numerous contenders.
State chairman of the party, Mr. Emeka Ibe, assured the aspirants of a level playing ground during the party’s primaries, stressing that the party was committed to transparency and fairness in accordance with the laid down rules and regulations.