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ANAMBRA 2010: Meet the candidates

By Vincent Ujumadu

Awka-How else can the shenanigans going on in Anambra State be described? The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had set last Friday as deadline for the submission of names of candidates of political parties for next February’s governorship election in Anambra State.

And in what seems to be the rush to beat the deadline, at least eight political parties have presented candidates. After several weeks of twists and turns, the PDP decided Friday that former CBN governor, Charles Soludo, would fly  its flag at the Anambra 2010 election.

*Chukwuma Soludu, Peter Obi, Chris Ngige, Uche Ekwunife and Ralph Nwosu
*Chukwuma Soludu, Peter Obi, Chris Ngige, Uche Ekwunife and Ralph Nwosu

How did Anambra State get to this sorry pass? In this edition of Sunday Vanguard’s serial on Anambra State’s politics and polity, we present a glimpse into the world of the candidates of the parties.  However, if truth be told, with the gung-ho environment just before the election, the people of Anambra State may be saved the impending mayhem if the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, on which platform the incumbent governor, Peter Obi, is running, is allowed to continue in this season of …

Chukwuma Charles Soludo
He is the immediate past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He is said to have registered as a member of the party during the 2006 PDP revalidation exercise in his ward at Aguata local government area. Prior to his picking of form, it was being rumoured that Soludo had interest in transforming from former CBN governor to Anambra State governor.

Even at a dinner put together by his friends and associates in Abuja recently, he vehemently refused to comment on it, but was quick to say that the event was packaged as a reception for him by his friends and close associates to formally welcome him  back to the society having served the nation in such an exalted position as CBN boss. He later collected the form by proxy the next day and returned the form the same day at the National Secretariat.

But the atmosphere was beyond a mere reception for his service as CBN governor judging from political bigwigs especially from the PDP family that attended. They were the likes of the former Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Solomon Lar, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa(SAN); Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Madueke; Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu; Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa; a former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and former Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari, among others.

When it was the turn of Anenih, PDP ‘Mr. Fix’ to talk, he said, “But it is my hope that you (Soludo) will readily avail us of your services whenever the need arises in the future. I hope the country and the Anambra people will make use of him at the necessary time. Anambra is lucky (to have Soludo), but I will not say that of Edo State
Though he denied the adoption of Soludo by the Party as the governorship candidate for Anambra 2010 election, but said, “May be a time is coming when they will say it is Anambra agenda.

Anambra PDP gubernatorial aspirants fighting at the entrance of Yar’'Adua Centre, Abuja, as the party set to pick a candidate for the coming election.
Anambra PDP gubernatorial aspirants fighting at the entrance of Yar’'Adua Centre, Abuja, as the party set to pick a candidate for the coming election.

But whenever you need us, we will be there.” Soludo, may not have a smooth drive to emerging as the party’s flagbearer especially against the backdrop that he is new in the party, though, any thing can happen as there may be a waiver except when they do not like your face.

Soludo is also coming at a time his successor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is cleansing the banking sector barely after some months the aspirant left the system. In spite of these even across the nation, Soludo is clearly not moved and he is focused on his new political sojourn.

If what the party is saying about transparency will work, his closeness with these heavy PDP stalwarts and even his alleged closeness to the First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar’Adua may not help him.

Senator Annie Okonkwo, another aspirant had said that   ” Soludo is not a member of our party and even if he is a member, he has not been with us for the stipulated time that can qualify him to be a candidate. So we are watching”.

Mr. Peter Obi
THE incumbent governor, Mr. Peter Obi, was nominated to carry the APGA flag for the February election. Obi, who was chairman of a commercial bank before he won election in 2003, has, in view of many Anambra people,  performed  during his first tenure. His administration adopted Anambra Integrated  Development Strategy (ANIDS) which develops all sectors simultaneously.

Though many people in the state appreciate his performance as governor, the political  class does not seem to like the way he has sidelined them in the past four years. The recent development in APGA is a  pointer to the resilience of Obi as he had insisted on remaining with Chief Victor Umeh faction even at a time INEC was saying it had recognized Chief Chekwas Okorie.

Former Governor Chris Ngige, a medical doctor, is the candidate of AC. His three years as governor of the state between 2003 and 2006 before he was removed by election tribunal marked the beginning of infrastructural development in Anambra State, especially in road construction.

Before his assumption of office, most roads in the state were impassable and the manner he embarked on road rehabilitation made him very popular with the people.

He was the only candidate that stood for the primaries on the platform of AC  and members of the party were unanimous in electing him as their candidate.

Until recently, Honorable Uche Ekwunife, representing Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka federal constituency, was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where she aspired to vie for the governorship. But she moved over to PPA following what she described as the shoddy manner in which PDP was handling its primaries.

Ekwunife was a bank manager in Awka before her election into the House of Representatives in 2007. Since then, she had proved to be a great mobilizer of the people of her constituency by instituting poverty alleviation programme.

Early this year, she took some women from the constituency on a trip to Dubai to expose them to international business. She had also organized a football competition in the area for all football clubs in the communities under the constituency. The finals of the competition attracted people from all walks of life, including senators and members of House of Representatives in which the winners of the competition went home with N1 million.

Before the PPA primaries on Thursday, it was obvious that Ekwunife was going to win as most of the female delegates were rooting for her. A very articulate person, the lawmaker said she would bring her experience as a manager of men and materials to bear on the office of governor if she is elected.

ADC has  Chief Ralph  Nwosu as its candidate. He was a foundation member of APGA and indeed wanted to be the governorship candidate of the party in 2003 before the incumbent governor was nominated to carry the flag. He later left APGA and joined ADC on which platform he will contest the 2010 election.


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