BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN, POLITICAL EDITOR, CLIFFORD NDUJIHE & VINCENT UJUMADU
The erstwhile factional chairman of APGA, Chief Maxi Okwu surprised political watchers in Anambra State when he announced in Awka that Dr. Chike Obidigbo, one of the party’s governorship aspirants who could not make it at the screening level is the candidate of the party for the November 16 election.
The event took place at a hotel in Awka and many loyalists of Obidigbo, an industrialist, were present during the presentation.
Okwu said the special congress to elect the governorship candidate was in line with Sec 11(11:4) of the party’s constitution and code of conduct.
There was no official reaction by APGA at press time, but some of the members who were aware of the development dismissed it with the wave of the hand.
However, Chief Chris Eze, who was secretary of the committee that screened Obidigbo pointed out that after a careful and critical appraisal, he (Obidigbo) came out tops.
According to him, it is not proper to sacrifice such high caliber personality on the alter of sentiments..
The aspirant went ahead to poll 452 votes and was so declared elected as the candidate of the party.
Why I stepped down for Ngige - Okonkwo
Many had looked forward with expectation to the possible clash between Senator Chris Ngige and his predecessor in the Senate, Senator Annie Okonkwo in the APC primaries.
However, just three or so weeks to the primaries done last Monday, Senator Okonkwo stepped down from the contest and took up position as the chief campaign manager for the Ngige campaign.
On why he decided to take the position, Senator Okonkwo who is also the Deputy National Chairman of the APC said: “I am the Deputy National Chairman of the party in charge of southern Nigeria. What that means is that my jurisdiction covers about 18 states and of course we are laying the foundation of APC. It was really difficult as a party man, the man at the helm of affairs to leave it and come to govern the state.”
“It is all about service. I considered that my position in the national hierarchy of APC would serve our people better in terms of structuring the party which is better than coming to Anambra State which is just one of the states I control. So, I decided to support a candidate whom I believe if we can all give our support, will transform Anambra State. That is why I decided to lead the campaign of Senator Chris Ngige, to make sure that Anambra state will become the first state I will deliver to APC before other states will follow.”
Group mobilizes against Ngige, Obiano
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Conference of Nigeria Registered Voters, CNRV is threatening to mobilize the public against the candidates of the APC, Senator Chris Ngige and APGA, Mr. Willy Obiano on the allegation that both men emerged through allegedly fraudulent primaries.
The group in a statement issued by its national chairman, Barrister Jezie Ekejiuba said the two men were imposed on their party members by godfathers in the party.
Ekejiuba was, however, quiet on the emergence of the candidates of the two other major parties, PDP and LP, Comrade Tony Nwoye and Chief Ifeanyi Uba respectively.
“APC manipulated the primaries result with pre-written results by the APC leadership to fulfill the APC formalities,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“This is the second imposition. The first imposition was by APGA that manipulated its primaries to impose Willy Obiano. Conference of Nigeria registered voters (CNRV) will mobilise registered voters to reject both APC candidate senator Chris Ngige and APGA candidate Mr. Willy Obiano,” he said.
We’re with Ngige — Modebe
WORRIED by the statement made by the former Anambra State chairman of the defunct of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, Prince Chuba Ikeagwu that members of the former party have moved to the newly registered Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, the candidate of CPC for Onitsha federal constituency in the 2011 elections, Akunwata Chuka Modebe said yesterday that there was no iota of truth in Ikeagwu’s claim.
Speaking with Vanguard Politics, Modebe said members of the defunct CPC in all the 21 local government areas of the state are happy belonging to All Progressives Congress, APC, which has nominated Senator Chris Ngige as its governorship candidate.
He said: “CPC is an integral part of APC in Anambra State. The former CPC chairman can decide to join any group he wants to, but he cannot decide for the teeming supporters of CPC. The party and its members in Anambra State dissociate themselves from the statement by the former chairman.
“We support APC and its governorship candidate, Senator Chris Ngige and we hold the report of the defection as false and a calculated attempt to distract from the emergence of Ngige.”
Idigo has no structure to hand over to Obiano — APGA Forum
Following the recent report that a former governorship aspirant of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Prince Chinedu Idigo has transferred his structure to the party’s candidate, Chief Willy Obiano, an organization that calles itself the APGA Integrity Forum, AIF, said yesterday that the former aspirant has no structure to hand over to anybody.
National President of AIF, Mr. Nnamdi Oguekwe described the claim as ill conceived, adding that it was aimed at scoring cheap political goals.
“We are aware that if there is any structure to collapse into APGA, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife and Chief Paul Odenigbo are in better positions to do that,” Oguekwe said.
APC dazzles with Option A4
ANAMBRA State became a guinea pig for the newly registered APC to test its internal democracy credentials.
After some dithering arising from the refusal of Mr. Godwin Ezemo to step down for the popular Senator Chris Ngige, the party conducted a two way statewide primary last Monday using the famed Option A4 system.
The use of Option A4 according to the former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekaru was to bring democracy down to the grassroots.
Shekarau was the chairman of the electoral panel whose work ended with Senator Ngige beating Ezemo in the election conducted simultaneously in all 326 wards.
Shekarau said the process was chosen by APC to test the popularity of the two candidates in the state and to reduce corruption in the system.
His words: “We are not like other political parties where they fight to select their candidates, what APC is doing is showing the way for others to follow, ours is not a do die affair, APC does everything in an open and democratic process.”