Senator Chris Ngige, last Monday, emerged the candidate of the All Progessives Congress, APC, joining the trio of Tony Nwoye, (PDP); Willie Obiano, (APGA) and Ifeanyi Uba (Labour) as candidates of the major parties in the governorship contest due on November 16. Charles Kumolu who was in Awka for the primaries gives a rundown of the intrigues that shadowed the parties’ primaries.
Indeed the state chapter of the PDP, did not fail to disappoint those who have for years looked up to it as a centre of intrigues.
Despite the acclaimed agreement by all 15 candidates to abide by the rules put forth by the national party through the Ike Emeakayi led executive, one of the candidates pulled out at the last minute to participate in the primaries conducted by the Chief Ejike Oguebego faction of the party.
The mainstream primaries conducted by the Emeakayi faction and supervised by the Governor Ibrahim Shema led team delegated by the national secretariat was originally scheduled to hold at the Alex Ekwueme Square at 10 am, but did not commence until 5: 45 following a tedious accreditation exercise at the Women Development Centre, WDC.
Conducting of primaries
While the accreditation was ongoing at WDC, the faction headed by Oguebego, was also conducting its primaries at Emaus House.
It was gathered that many of the 1500 delegates from the 326 wards that voted were financially enticed by agents of the aspirants. But how many of them succumbed remains an issue especially given that Nwoye, who won the primaries would not be considered the richest or a moneybag in the Anambra sense of estimation of money.
Also, delegates had a hectic time entering the venue, as some were refused accreditation for non possession of the party’s membership card.
A Director General of the campaign of one of the aspirants, who spoke with Vanguard on condition of anonymity, regretted that eligible delegates were disenfranchised through that process. “Delegates are being stopped because they don’t have party card. That is not supposed to be the criteria. I have never voted with a voter’s card before. Once you are a delegate, it is assumed that you have fulfilled all the needed requirements to participate in the exercise,” he said. However, delegates were later driven in buses to Alex Ekwueme Square for voting at the end of the exhaustive accreditation exercise.
While this was going on, the Oguebego group, whose leadership is believed to be inclined to the Ubas, had commenced voting an hour earlier. Not surprisingly, Senator Andy Uba emerged victorious in the contest that was boycotted by all but one of the 15 aspirants.
Nwoye’s victory at the end of the exercise conducted by the team delegated by the national secretariat was shocking to many, especially to those outside the mainstream of the PDP in Anambra State. This was especially so since he was not regarded as one of the money bags in the party and was not known to be among the frontline aspirants.
APGA’s coronation party/Maxi Okwu factor
While stakeholders were still imagining the developments in the PDP, the outcome of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA primaries confirmed insinuations on the possible role of the incumbency factor in the polls. The APGA primaries which took place two days after the PDP primaries at the WDC turned out to be a coronation exercise of sorts.
Before it commenced, there were rumors that three aspirants had stepped down for Obiano. And that however played out when one of the candidates Mr. Patrick Onochie announced that he was stepping down.
An attempt to step down in absentia by one of the aspirants was declined by Chief Martins Agbaso, the chairman of the electoral panel. He insisted that aspirants could only step down either physically or through a written note. It was therefore, easy to know were the pendulum would swing to, even before the end of the exercise.
Though Obiano’s victory did not trigger off feelings of disquietness among the party faithful analysts are still to be convinced that the former banker is rugged enough to trudge the difficult Anambra political terrain.
Chairman the party’s Board of Trustess, BoT, Chief Tim Menakaya, is, however, not one of such skeptics saying in a chat with Vanguard that Obiano is an asset to the party. “His emergence is an asset to the party because he is clean and has got good background. He represents a new dawn. That was why he was elected. He emerged because he will continue the good work the party is doing in Anambra.”
The impression that Obiano’s emergence, had foreclosed any possible controversy, appears to be a mere imagination following the election of Obidigbo by the Maxi Okwu faction. Obidigbo was returned unopposed with a score of 450 votes and was also handed the party’s flag by Okwu, who commended the delegates for the large turnout.
Ngige and the APC prospects
Before the September 2 All Progressive Congress,APC, primaries, the news that the national leadership of the party, had settled for Senator Chris Ngige, was generally hailed across the state. Though Chief Godwin Ezemou refused to step down despite entreaties from the APC hierarchy, Ngige still triumphed in the statewide Option A4 primaries conducted last Monday.
His emergence nonetheless, the once famous electoral potentials of the former governor have been seriously desecrated by the recent saga arising from the deportation of some alleged destitute persons from Lagos to Anambra State.
Obi’s commissioner hits Okwu
Three months ago, Governor Peter Obi and his entourage in Anambra State were all over Chief Maxi Okwu who they had proclaimed the national chairman of APGA. But with the prospect of proclaiming a successor for the governor slipping by their hands after the court proclaimed Chief Victor Umeh as chairman, Obi and his men quietly changed allegiance.
It was as such not surprising that the Anambra State Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Planning Mr. John Akirika yesterday hit at Okwu over the latter’s conduct of a parallel governorship congress following the emergence of Obi’s man, Willie Obiano as winner of the primaries done by Umeh’s faction.
Chike Obidigbo emerged at that primary conducted by Umeh. Akirika, who is a former state secretary of the party, told Vanguard that Obidigbo’s emergence from the Maxi Okwu faction, would not affect the chances of the party in the polls.
“I am not aware of any other congress outside the congress duly convened and held at the Women Development Centre, Awka in which the leader of the party, Gov Peter Obi and other national officers of the party participated. Secondly, nobody ever raised any issue questioning the authenticity and legality of that congress.
“Chief Maxi Okwu never raised any molecule of protest against that congress. So it is a very great surprise for me to hear that another congress was purportedly held. I will say that the purported congress organized by Chief Maxi Okwu that produced Dr Chike Obidigbo did not satisfy the requirements of the law neither will it be acceptable to the leadership of the party.”
“An APGA event in which the national leader, Mr. Peter Obi, the authentic national chairman of the party confirmed by the judiciary, Chief Victor Umeh and other national officers were not there, cannot stand the test of time. So sounding personal and legal, I don’t think that the presentation of Chike Obidigbo will stand.’’