PAULINUS ONAH reports on the twist and turns in the various battles for the tickets of the leading political parties ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State
The dramatic turn in political events ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State is becoming more interesting. This is as a result of the unending scheming by major political actors in the state. This development and its indices are rather confusing even as some political analysts believe that it is an act of God to ensure that the next governor of Anambra State emerges by divine providence.
It is the opinion of these analysts that what is happening in the three major political parties in the state, the ruling All progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has made it difficult for anyone to make predictions or attempt a near political calculation on where the pendulum will swing to barely three months to the poll.
Those who hold belief predicated it on the lingering court cases, which have not have made it difficult for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the opportunity to present a clear picture of the candidates of the respective candidates for the election. For the ruling party in the state (APGA), which has a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji locked in the battle for its ticket, it is not yet Uhuru despite Tuesday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Kano that nullified the June 30 judgement of Jigawa State High Court which sacked Chief Victor Ike Oye as the party’s national chairman.
The appellate court disagreed with the lower court, which ordered the INEC to recognize the Jude Okeke faction of the party and its gubernatorial candidate, Umeoji. The court also ruled that the Jigawa High Court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the case ab initio. Though the coast seems clear for Soludo to contest the November 6, governorship election on the platform of APGA as a result of the ruling, Umeoji has declared that he will approach the Supreme Court to set aside the ruling of the appellate court. For the PDP, there is also no end in sight to the legal battle between Mr. Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Ugochukwu Uba over the party’s ticket.
INEC had earlier failed to list neither Ozigbo nor Uba, who emerged as the party’s candidates from parallel primaries held at Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka and St Paul’s University, Awka, last month but the former reportedly has the backing of PDP national leadership and stakeholders. Despite the backing, Ozigbo seems to be still apprehensive as it is clear Uba is out to upturn his candidacy despite the recent judgement of the Court of Appeal, which recognized the Chukwudi Umeabaped leadership of Anambra PDP instead of the Ndubisi Nwobu-led caretaker committee.
Analysts are of the view that should anything contrary happen to the decision of the appellate court, the party will definitely run into another crisis that may lead to it not presenting a candidate for the election. Apparently, the seeming endless crisis in APGA and PDP has boosted the confidence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that has Senator Andy Uba as its candidate as well as what some people have described as “the lesser parties.” APC has since laid to rest issues that arose from its governorship primary election and INEC had listed recognizes Uba as the party’s flag bearer.
The belief in some quarters is that the country’s ruling party was quick to put its house in order because it wants Anambra State at all cost ahead of the 2023 general election. But some political watchers, who opined that the Anambra governorship election may spring a surprise, maintained that no one should dismisses the “lesser parties” given the calibre of candidates they are parading.
It is on this premise that Chief Obiora Okonkwo is being considered as the dark horse, who may pull the rug off the legs of the candidates of the leading parties. Okonkwo, who claimed that he was robbed of the PDP ticket, recently joined the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and will be flying its flag in the election.
There is also political school that its members believe that the candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, is another standard bearer to watch out for although some analysts see him as more suitable for the Senate. While the various political calculations remain postulations for now, it only when INEC publishes the final list of candidates for the election that the picture will become clear.