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Anambra guber: ZLP picks new standard-bearer, running mate



The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), at the weekend, named Dr. Obiora Okonkwo as its new candidate for the candidate for the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra.

The development followed the candidate’s resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on account of the outcome of a an “illegitimate primary election where the party abandoned its constitution and foisted on the members a process that cannot stand the test of the law.”

Also submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was a member of the House of Representatives and erstwhile state women leader of the PDP, Dame Jessie Balonwu, as running mate.


Okonkwo’s defection followed immense pressure from political and community leaders, opinion molders, stakeholders, support groups and institutional advocates for good governance.

The force had led to the formation of the Save Anambra Coalition – an amalgam of advocates of good governance from the three senatorial zones, political parties and faith-based organisations in the state.

The group also consists of disgruntled former gubernatorial aspirants across parties. Unhappy with the situation of things in the state, the political leaders and influencers adopted Okonkwo as a consensus candidate “because of his level of integrity, focus, drive and blueprint for the good governance and development of Anambra.”

More push came from the Rescue Anambra Coalition – a body of market groups, trade unions, professional, transport organisations and grassroots mobilisation groups across the state during a recent press conference in Onitsha.

Also, statutory delegates of the PDP, including executives in all of the 21 local councils and 326 wards, had prodded Okonkwo to re-enter race.

The leadership of ZLP is to unveil Okonkwo and his deputy in the coming days. The governorship hopeful holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science with distinction from Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow; a professional fellowship doctorate of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria and fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and Mediators of Nigeria.


He earned also a Master’s in Economics with distinction from the Russian Peoples Friendship University, Moscow and a First Class in Economics from same institution.

The politician had his early education in Onitsha, where he combined trading at the Main Market and managing a horde of apprentices.

Okonkwo is winner of the prestigious The Sun Newspapers’ Entrepreneur of the Year, 2019 Award for his entrepreneurial vision and dexterity in business.

The administrator also won the maiden Dr. Michael Okpara Leadership Prize in Business. The honour came from the Dr. Michael Okpara Foundation, a charity dedicated to propagating the leadership ideals of the late premier of the old Eastern Region.

Okonkwo, who was in September 2019 awarded the Rotary International Youth Leadership Icon Award in Abuja, is an engaging public intellectual. In February 2020, he delivered the lead lecture titled Education: Challenging Mindsets for Tomorrow’s Leaders at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) in Onitsha.


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