Anambra 2014: The contenders, prospects, challenges

| February 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

As the tenure of the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi ends tempo of political activities has risen sharply in the state, as next year candidates who wants to contest have begun to emerge.

The list of those who have shown interest in the election cut across the three senatorial zones of Anambra Central, Anambra South and Anambra North. The list also included former governors, old contenders and new entrants.

Among the former governors who have been planning strategically to take part in the election are, Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige, a serving senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Dr Andy Uba who is also a serving senator representing the Anambra South Senatorial District. The duo of Senator Ngige and Senator Uba, both of who are not from the Anambra North Senatorial District, which is fighting for power shift to their area, re-expected to give the contest the excitement it deserves, more so, they are veterans when it comes to political socialisation and the battles that follow it.

The list of old contenders who are expected to make another attempt in the governorship contest include, Dr Obinna Uzoh, Dr Alex Obiogbolu, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Professor Chukwuma Soludo,Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Emma Anosike, Mrs Uche Ekwunife and Senator Annie Okonkwo. These are politicians who have influence and money and many of them have held key political positions at the National and State levels. Mrs Ekwunife is currently a member of the House of Representatives, while Annie Okonkwo is a key member of a political group known as C21, which is involved in the contentious merger that gave birth to the All Progressive Congress, (APC).

There are also hordes of new entrants in the governorship contest. These are people who are expected to take part in the election for the first time as gubernatorial candidates. They include, Mr Akachukwu Nwankpo, Chief Ifeanyi Uba, Pat Nwachi Obianwu, Dubem Obaze, Oseloka Obaze, Dr Godwin Ezeemo, Dr Chike Obidigbo, Mr Paul Odenigbo, Chief Mike Udah, Afam Ogene and host of other contenders that will emerge as the election approaches. One of the key strength of the new entrants is that many of them are influential technocrats, politicians and businessmen, who have strong ties with the people in the grass-root. Chief Udah currently serves as the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Peter Obi, just as Oseloka Obaze holds the post of Secretary to the State Government. They will be counting on their experiences and connection during the contest.

The Prospects:

Having seen the nature of candidates that are likely to contest for the governorship of Anambra State during the coming election, the pertinent question is, what are their prospects and chances of succeeding at the end of the exercise? There is also the key question of, who among them will succeed Obi as governor of Anambra? It is suffice to state that the strength of the individual contenders and their chances of winning vary extensively, in view of their backgrounds and the emerging challenges. But one thing is clear, there is no doubt that they have all that are required to sell themselves successfully to the electorates.

Dr. Chris Ngige:

He was governor of Anambra State under the ticket of PDP for more than three years before he was kicked out by the courts. He later decamped and joined the ACN. In 2011, Dr. Ngige with the ticket of ACN contested for the Anambra Central Senatorial seat and won. Today, he is a serving senator who holds a strong desire to contest for the governorship post again, notwithstanding the fact that the people of Anambra North Senatorial district, comprising Anambra East and West, Ogabru, Oyi, Onitsha North and South and Ayamelum local government areas respectively are saying that it is now their turn to produce the next governor of Anambra State. Dr. Ngige’s strength lies in the fact that he is a veteran warrior in the game of politics and has the backing of South West influential political figures, who are expected to offer him the ticket of the new APC at the end of the day. So far, Dr. Ngige has started courting for support from individuals and groups.

At the peak of the flood disaster in the State last year, he was among those who toured the internally displaced peoples camps donating relief materials. Recently, he was in Amansea where he called on the people to lend him their support, especially, as they prepare to launch the APC in Anambra and Awka north areas respectively. Dr. Ngige is expected to make maximum impact in the election if eventually he picks up the APC ticket.

Dr Andy Uba:

He is equally a veteran politician, very rich and influential. In 2007, he contested for the governorship post and won. However, his desire to govern the State was truncated by the judgement which the Supreme Court delivered in the tenure interpretation suit filed by Governor Peter Obi, and since this development, Senator Uba who represents Anambra South in the Senate has been nursing the ambition of governing Anambra again. Already, his foot soldiers being deployed under the “Igwebuike Philosophy” are now working everywhere and perfecting plans and consulting key stakeholders on how to market his candidacy. Senator Uba is expected to fight for the PDP ticket along-side other strong candidates as the election approaches. And like Dr Ngige, Senator Uba’s major challenge bothers on how to secure the support of the people of North Senatorial district who are now campaigning for power shift to their area.

Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu:

He is also a veteran politician, rich and influential. Prince Ukachukwu hails from the South Senatorial district. Since 1999 when the new democracy took off, Ukachukwu has been a recurring figure in the politics of Anambra State. He was a member of the House of Representatives, and from there he came to Awka and contested for the governorship post in 2007 and 2010 on the tickets of ANPP and Hope Democratic Party and lost. Since then he has returned to PDP, where he is expected to fight for a ticket that will enable him to contest for the governorship again. And like Dr Ngige and Senator Uba, Prince Ukachukwu will be facing the challenge of how to confront the expectations of the people of Anambra north, in view of the fact that they have arrays of candidates jostling for the top post.

Professor Chukwuma Soludo:

He hails from the South Senatorial district. Professor Soludo who is extremely rich is a technocrat and intellectual who joined the murky waters of Anambra politics in 2010 as the gubernatorial candidate of PDP, and that was after his tenure as CBN governor. At the end of the election, which he lost, Soludo was initially confronted with the struggle for the control of Anambra State chapter of PDP, has since been living in Abuja, from where he makes occasional forays into Awka.

Dr Alex Obiogbolu:

He is a medical doctor by profession and hails from Onitsha, Anambra North senatorial district.Since 1999, Dr Obiogbolu has been a key chieftain of PDP, however, in 2010 he decamped and became the gubernatorial candidate of African Political System, APS, in the election held in February that year. And, after losing the election, Dr Obiogbolu rejoined the PDP where he is now nurturing his ambition to govern Anambra State. Already, Dr Obiogbolu whose campaign is anchored on the philosophy of “Oganiru Anambra” has publicly declared his interest in the race at a ceremony held in Aguleri. He is a grassroots politician, and those close to him said that his major weakness is that he is a lone ranger and rigid in his views and position on issues, the attributes many contends may work against him in the course of the anticipated election. Obiogbolu’s greatest strength is the fact that he is from a zone clamouring to have the post zoned to them as a right.

Mr Ifeanyi Ubah:

He hails from the South senatorial district, which has produced governors several times. This young and energetic oil mogul started to show interest in the governorship post from 2011 when his company, Capital Oil and Gas Limited began distributing free kerosene and rice to people. His ambition was going well until he fell in to the oil subsidy and bank crises, However, notwithstanding his current travails in the hands of creditor banks, his posters were recently found adorning strategic places in Awka and other key cities. And before his travails started, Ifeanyi Uba was gunning for the ticket of APGA apparently with the support of Chief Victor Umeh, the embattled National Chairman of APGA. However, with what he is going through now, it is likely that his political ambition has been considerably hampered.

Oseloka Obaze:

He is an indigene of Ogbaru, Anambra North senatorial district, and a technocrat who was brought by Obi to rejuvenate governance using his position of Secretary to the State Government. And, unlike his fellow contenders in APGA, the strongest asset he possesses is that he is a very strong confidant of Governor Obi, and is therefore likey to receive Obi’s endorsement if eventually he decides to contest.

Mike Udah:

He is a veteran politician and journalist. Chief Udah who hails from Umueri, Anambra East local government area, is now governor Obi’s Chief Press Secretary. He was once a deputy governorship candidate. And being an indigene of Anambra North, Chief Udah who is a key contender, is likely to benefit from the zoning arrangement if eventually those who are marketing the equitable concept succeeds in their project.

Dubem Obaze:

He was a former kitchen cabinet member of the Obi’s government having held the powerful position of Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters. A relation of Oseloka Obaze, Dubem who hails from Anambra north, the zone that is favoured for the governorship seat of the state, is rich and strategic in his behaviour and thoughts. Most commentators have argued that he resigned from his powerful commissioner position to enable him prosecute his gubernatorial ambition without any hindrance. His strength also lies in the fact that he is among the aspirants who have the confidence and support of Governor Obi.

The Challenges ahead:

Although many of the aspirants have all that are required to win the tickets of their parties and eventually put up a strong challenge during the election, it should be noted that they still need to contend with the challenges emanating from the dynamics of political changes being witnessed now at the National and states levels, especially with the merger of ACN, CPC, ANPP and a section of APGA in to what is now known as APC. This is a development which is capable of completely changing all the plans and strategies of the aspiring governorship candidates. It is certain that in the days ahead, the contenders are bound to face the challenges of alignment and re-alignment of forces and change of camps, as the implications of the merger unfolds, and it is after these emerging challenges have been curtailed that one would finally position himself as a candidate for the gubernatorial election to be held in Anambra later this year

Culled from :Here

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