Factional rifts and litigations keep many in suspense…
It is fair to say that since the return of democracy, no gubernatorial election in Anambra State has gone without serious internal Party crisis and litigations, sometimes lasting almost through the tenure of the elected candidate. The re-entry of Peter Obi into the political scene through the instrumentality of the law and the court and the subsequent debate over his tenure which was later resolved in his favour by Nigeria’s Supreme Court on January 30, 2008, one would recall set the tone for Anambra’s off-season guber elections.
Since 1999, political Party’s crises in the State, perceived by many as being sponsored by cabals and money-bags who want to remain god-fathers and controllers of the State’s purse often results in the projection of more than one candidate by different factions either through factional primaries or sponsorship of litigations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s deadline for the conduct of governorship primaries expired on Thursday 8th July. 13 out of the 18 registered political parties for the election held their primaries. Barring any last minute change, Orient Weekend can report that out of the 13 political Parties, the ruling APGA has three factional candidates while the duo of PDP and AA are parading two candidates each.
Again, PDP in Anambra State has always been known for having factional leaderships and legal merry-go-rounds arising from usual leadership tussles, which the party always point to as the primary reason behind its electoral loses in the State. In the last two elections, it was the case of Emeakanyi versus Oguebego’s camps. While other political Parties went to poll with one flag-bearer, PDP appeared with two claimants as flagbearers.
This time around, it is between Ndubuisi Nwobu versus the same Oguebego’s camp. While the PDP national leadership and INEC upheld the election of Mr. Valentine Ozigbo as the Party’s candidate, one may not rule out the possibility of Oguebego’s candidate, Ugochukwu Uba, who they pronounced winner in their separate primary election held at Paul University, Awka.
As always, many political analysts are, again pointing accusing fingers on Chief Chris Uba popularly known as Eselu, one of the political godfathers in Anambra State. The accusing fingers claim that the godfather and his cohorts are the brain behind the drama in the Party and a recent development has it that a High Court ruling in Awka, the Anambra State capital, overturned its previous ruling barring Valentine Ozigbo from parading himself as the PDP candidate for the election.
Justice Obiora Nwabunike of the State’s High Court had while ruling on Suit No: A/230/2021 Senator Ugochukwu Uba Vs. INEC, PDP & ANOR turned down jurisdiction on the suit, dismissing it consequently. “The Honourable Court in her wisdom decided that since the order has abated by the lack of time, there was no need to use the process of a formal motion to vacate the said order. The order is dead and the only thing remaining is the funeral and the burial…”, the Court held.
The implication of the above ruling analysts reason is that it has lessened the noise in the Ugochukwu Uba’s faction which had hitherto insisted that their faction of the PDP is backed by a court order. The final resolution of these camps may be necessary if PDP can unseat the ruling Party, APGA, in Anambra State.
Before the primaries, APGA had been resolute in maintaining its control of the State. Unarguably, the Party maintained a formidable structure in the state, and majority of the electorates still see the Party as the last project that Ojukwu bequeathed to Ndigbo, and thus, ought to be preserved. This very fact has always made the Anambra gubernatorial election, a fight to finish affair especially for the supporters of the Party with a hen symbol.
But the recent turn of events in the party following the outcome of the primary left the party in shreds and tatters, as factions emerged with three separate candidates in the persons of; Prof Charles Soludo, factional National Chairman of APGA, Chief Edozie Njoku, and a member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji. Early resolution of these factional crises will also play a huge role in the chances of the opposition parties taking over the APGA-dominated State.
Elsewhere in Action Alliance (AA) exists two parallel candidates in Mr. John Ikeotuonye and Ifeoma Madukwa. The party, though not well known, may be killing their little chance of recognition into the Anambra politics.
Similarly, the All Progressive Congress, APC, heading to the primaries had played safe, and maintained a fair share of unity and peace. The APC State’s Caretaker committee Chairman, Basil Ejidike, had, before the primaries, hinted on his party’s readiness and preparedness in producing the next governor of the state.
However, the outcome of APC’s primary election which pronounced Sen. Andy Uba as the ‘magical winner’ painted bad picture of the Party in the eye of some of her faithful. Other aspirants became aggrieved and had expressed their anger of being robbed of opportunity of a fair contest by the Party’s authorities. Notable leaders of the same Party including the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, are unhappy with how Uba emerged and this could pose a threat to the Party’s unity and votes that will come their way.
Other parties ADC, LP, YPP and the rest may feed from the APGA and PDP, in-house wranglings as well as grievances in APC, having fielded strong candidates in Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo, Obiora Agbasimelo, Sen Ifeanyi Uba and so on.