Anambra 2014: Who flies APGA flag?

| January 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha

 

Ahead of the 2014 governorship election in Anambra State, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, a political party supposedly with Igbo identity, has been engrossed in controversies.

While the political party is plagued with almost incurable political infirmity, political watchers believe that the party is at the verge of cataclysmic political doom. The party has lived with this unpleasant political quagmire for almost two years now and has just started a rebuilding process, which many believe is just a palliative move to reconcile the party members.

However, nobody knows whether to accept the rebuilding process and reconciliatory moves by the leadership of APGA, led by the National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, and his team as a real sign of bringing the political party back, stronger and better, to be able to face the governorship election in the state later this year or to see it as one of the syncretic political rituals to continue to blindfold the Igbos with the usual gimmick that it is a party with Igbo identity.

Whichever way it goes, there is no gainsaying that APGA is one of the political parties that will pull weight in the coming governorship election because of the strength of the party in previous elections in the state.

Interestingly, the party is presently controlling the political machine of Anambra State, having won the governorship elections in the state twice in 2003 and 2010. The party, to say the least, is one of the political parties and major contenders to the seat of Governor Peter Obi. But many believe the party has lost relevance and allowed show of power to consume its internal linings.

While some political analysts believe the party has outlived its relevance and outstayed its welcome in the states it is currently controlling, others contend that it could still bounce back to give other political parties in the state hot chase in Anambra.

Others, however, predict harder times for APGA in the coming governorship election because of what they describe as impending doom for the party over who controls the state chapter and who flies the party’s flag in the governorship election.

With the influx of some powerful former members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the political marriage between some members of PDP and APGA, there is certainly going to be another round of crisis that might befall the party. But this time around, it could help relegate the already ailing political party in the state to the background.

The influx of some influential members of the PDP fold like Senator Annie Okonkwo and Ifeanyi Ubah into APGA should ordinarily be celebrated as a plus to the party’s financial and political foundation, but on the contrary, it is going to be another political liability to the party.

Who flies the party’s flag in 2014?

Political watchers predict that the party might be soaked in more crises in Anambra state over who flags the party’s flag in the governorship election. While the incumbent governor has started preaching politics of equilibrium in the state to hand over power to the people of Anambra North senatorial zone, unfortunately, some major contenders for the party’s flag are not from that zone.

Some also hold the view that unless the state government and the party bury everything about party primary election. Anambra North may not get the sole nod to produce the governor.

According to Mr. John Iguh “I have always seen this political sermon by Governor Obi that he is going to hand over power to the North as deceitful because you and I know that there is what they call party primary election, in the constitution of every political party. Every party member is allowed to contest, and whoever that wins at the primary level would be given the party’s ticket, irrespective of gender or where he is coming from”

“Now as it stands, during the primary election, much is expected from Anambra North as every other part of the state is also expected to give a good fight over the party’s ticket, and nobody is going to stop them. Then everybody is qualified. So, where lies the sermon that it must be Anambra North?

Likely contenders

Hon Afam Ogene: Member representing Ogbaru federal constituency hails from Ogbaru council area of Anambra state and the Vice Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Media. He is a seasoned journalist and an erudite scholar. He took his first shot by dumping his flourishing career in journalism to politics and it worked out for him.

If the political permutation currently being spearheaded by Governor Obi for a governor of Anambra North origin works out, Ogene could be favouerd based on the political charter. But on the other hand, he might not withstand the likes of Uche Ekwunife and Paul Odenigbo all from the same political party.

Despite the fact that Ogene is favoured, there are other issues that are militating against him, which includes striving to wrestle some of his compatriots from the zone, like the former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Paul Odenigbo, Chike Obidigbo, Patrick Nwachi Obianwu and others.

Senator Annie Okonkwo: He represented Anambra Central senatorial zone at the Senate and currently is the leader of the C21, a political pressure group which many say was put in place by the Imo state governor for his Presidential ambition in 2015. Senator Okonkwo is not new in the politics of Anambra state having contested in almost all the governorship elections in the state since the return of democracy in 1999.

The Ojoto born businessman turned politician had used his financial power but has remained unlucky in the governorship race in the state. He contested with Ekwunife for the Progressive Peoples Alliance PPA’s ticket and lost. This time around, Okonkwo would be meeting his old political rivals in the primary election.

However, he is not favoured by the current zoning sentiments having come from Anambra Central.

Uche Ekwunife: Member representing Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka federal constituency incidentally she is from the same senatorial zone with Governor Peter Obi. Uche Ekwunife is the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Environment and a two time member of the lower chambers in the country’s National Assembly. She hails from Nri, Anaocha local government area of the state.

Going by Governor Peer Obi’s political calculation, Uche Ekwunife should have been out of the race but many believe she has all it takes to flay the party’s flag irrespective of where she comes from. Her gender or age. Some also tip her to be the party’s candidate for the 2014 governorship election because of her political sagacity which saw her flaying the flag of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA in the 2010 governorship election.

Ekwunife is used to contending with male folks, and always comes out victorious. For instance she wrestled her closest rivals down for the party’s ticket in the PPA primary election where the likes of Senator Annie Okonkwo and Emeka Etiaba contested and was the party’s candidate for the election where she came fourth behind Governor Peter Obi of APGA, Senator Chris Ngige of ACN and Prof. Chukwuma Soludo who was sponsored by the PDP and others.

However, Ekwunife will have to fight the political battle of her career for the APGA ticket with some prominent known and unknown heavyweights from Anambra North who are already on sensitization programme and had adopted political marginalization as their war cry ahead of 2014 governorship election.

Senator Joy Emordi: She is the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly Matters. She was also the senator representing Anambra North senatorial zone for two terms on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Senator Joy Emordi from Onitsha is not a new face in the politics of Anambra state; neither is she a new comer to the contest of governorship election in the state. She was strong politically in the early days of our democratic dispensation, and as our democracy continues to deepen, the political fortune and strength of old politicians started dwindling until the last general election where she lost her bid to return to the Senate for the third time on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

There is this notion that Anambra people would want fresh blood injected into the political system in all spheres to be able to root out bad leaders and enthrone a breath of fresh air. However, Senator Joy Emordi is a very strong politician who has been in politics for a very long time she is well informed and rooted in politics she is one of the politicians who will like to ride on the back of the pro-North sentiments.

Chief Paul Odenigbo: Paul Odenigbo is the former Secretary to the Anambra state government, SSG, and the longest serving SSG since the creation of the state. He hails from Anambra North and has been at the forefront for the actualization of a governor of Anambra North origin.

Some political watchers say he is very much qualified to flag the party’s flag in the coming election having been clearly favoured by opinion polls from his zone, and having the backing of the state government. However, Chief Odenigbo just like every other contestant could be made to pass the hurdle of putting up great fight for the APGA ticket.

Prof. Dora Akunyili: The former Director General of National Agency for Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC and former Minister of Information and Communication, hails from Agulu, Anaocha local government area of Anambra state. She held the position till 2011 when she resigned to contest the senatorial election on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and lost.

As the Director General of NAFDAC she fought against powers; she also fought with powers and tried to root out contaminated, counterfeit and adulterated drugs which formed part of her problem in the politics of Anambra state. While the entire world and indeed Nigeria was busy celebrating Akunyili’s exploits in the area of fight against fake drugs, her people back home in Anambra were laying political land mines for her political ambition. She is a politician to watch in the party’s primary election.

Chike Obidigbo: The South East Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Industrialist and a heavyweight from Anambra North senatorial zone is unarguably one of the political heavyweights that will shape the contest of the Anambra state governorship election.

Obidigbo, though a greenhorn in the politics of the state is more favoured by his new ideas which he might bring to bear in the administration of the state, as well as using his zone as a veritable tool to continue their cry over marginalization in terms of political offices in the state since its creation.

Culled from :Here

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