Politics Nigeria – The All Progressives Congress (APC), which before now, has little or no presence in Anambra State has turned the beautiful bride ahead of the governorship election billed for later in the year.
The ruling party at the centre is not only attracting political heavyweights in the state in their numbers, but has also seen many of them indicating interest to fly its flag in the forthcoming governorship poll.
Among the recent entrants angling for the APC’s ticket are the 2010 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Hon. Tony Nwoye; former PDP governorship aspirant, Dr. Obinna Uzor; former governor and two-time senator on the platform of the PDP, Senator Andy Uba; APC National Auditor, Chief George Moghalu; oil magnate, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Chike Obidigbo; Barth Nwibe; Engr. Obinna Onunkwo; Chief Ralph Okeke; Paul Chukwuma; and Prince Donatus Okonkwo.
Anambra State chairman of the APC, Emeka Ibe, who described them as eminently qualified and capable of wresting power from the incumbent, Chief Willie Obiano in the November governorship poll, said both old and new members have equal chances of flying the party’s flag as APC constitution permits that.
“Our party’s constitution is silent on new members, on whether they should be given waiver or not but the national leadership of the party gives guidelines on the primaries. So, both new and old members have equal status in the party,” he said.
Ibe also declared that the party would not adopt any zoning formula to pick its flag bearer for the governorship poll.
The development has elicited serious campaigns across the APC fold, but analysts say that only few of the gladiators stand the chance of picking the party’s ticket.
The APC National Auditor, according to media reports joined the race following pressure from his associates. It was gathered that he was asked to join the governorship race in order to bring to bear his wealth of experience in the governance of the state.
His supporters cited his consistency and commitment to the party as factors that stand him out from other aspirants.
Moghalu has been within the opposition, which saw him sticking to All Peoples Party (APP), All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) until it merged with others to form the APC. The APC National Auditor, who is not super rich, launched his first shot at the governorship of the state in 1999 on the platform of the ANPP.
His position as a national officer of the ruling party could boost his ambition even as he is said to have contributed so much in build-ing the APC to its present status in the state.
A group in the state, Anambra Upfront Alliance, which is rooting for Moghalu’s candidacy, described him as a tested technocrat, who has what it takes to take Anambra to the next level.
“We know Moghau to be a tested technocrat of the first order, well cultured and coolheaded to lead Anambra State in discovering her abundant potential,” spokesman of the group, Charles Ekeh, said.
The senator representing Anambra South in the National Assembly was elected on the platform of the PDP, but recently announced his defection to APC.
He said he joined the ruling party to tap from its ideology to provide quality representation to his constituents and there is no doubt that the odds favour him to pick the APC governorship ticket.
The senator was elected governor of the state in 2007, but served for just three weeks before he was removed by the court on the ground there was no need for the election that saw his emergence as the then governor (Obi) was yet to serve out his tenure.
The former presidential aide, who hails from the Uba political dynasty in Uga, Aguata Local Government Area of the state, has never pretended about his ambition of leading Anambra State after the 2007 botched bid.
He launched another shot at the governorship of the state on the platform of Labour Party (LP) in 2010 after losing the PDP ticket to former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, but lost the election to then incumbent, Peter Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Uba would be banking on the political structure he has built over the years going into the APC primaries.
He is also expected to enjoy the backing of the national leadership of the party as one of his conditions before he defected was the APC governorship ticket.
His supporters say he has left clear and positive prints on the sands of time though his welfare programmes.
They also say that he has the experience to serve as governor having been there before. As a two-time senator, Uba attracted a lot of goodwill from the Federal Government to the state.
He employed the instrument of regular interaction with his constituents to identify their needs and worked towards achieving them.
The youthful lawmaker representing Anambra East and West in the House of Representatives has some strong points to launch another shot at the governorship of the state after contesting the last election on the platform of PDP.
Nwoye was elected into the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP before he defected to the APC last year.
It was his bid to take another shot at the governorship of the state after flying the PDP’s flag in the last governorship election that motivated his defection to the ruling party.
He has always enjoyed the backing of oil magnet, Chief Arthur Eze, and he may have the support of the youths of the state and also coming from the same local government area with Obiano may also be another advantage for him as the people of Anambra North are insisting that power remains in their area for another four years.
But there is a political school in the state, which believes that he still needs to be tested and proven to be capable to administer the affairs of the state because of the peoples’ political sophistication.
The businessman turned politician, who hails from Nnewi, Anambra South Senatorial zone recently defected to the APC from the PDP. He contested the last governorship election in the state on the platform of Labour Party (LP).
He was the coordinator of Transformation Agenda of Nigeria (TAN), which worked for the failed second term bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan during the last general elections.
It was earlier reported that he had declared interest to take another shot at the governorship but he quickly came out to disclaim the report, saying he only stated the need for the polity not to be overheated as that could cause a distraction to the incumbent governor.
Though he has the financial muscle to make things happen, some analysts still believe that he lacks experience and structure to win a governorship election.
Another successful businessman, who hails from Ihiala Local Government Area of the state, Uzor has put in so much in the contest for the Anambra Government House in the past. He is a foundation member of PDP but has joined the APC.
An apostle of politics without bitterness and politics of consultation and accommodation, Uzoh’s campaign slogan is: Restoration, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Anambra State.
From Chike Obidigbo to Barth Nwibe, Engr. Obinna Onunkwo, Chief Ralph Okeke and Paul Chukwuma, there appears to be a common string that runs through their individual aspiration – not well tested in the unique politics of APC, Anambra and the larger national picture.
Against this backdrop, there is no doubt that out of the 13 aspirants so far announced by the state APC, Senator Uba stands tall given his experience and may easily pick the party’s ticket.
He equally has the resources to match the vast majority of indigenes of the state, who have the financial muscle to embark on such expensive political projects as governorship.