BY OKEY NDIRIBE & VINCENT UJUMADU
Up till the last minute of the APC convention Monday, Senator Chris Ngige was still arms in battle with the only remaining contender for the party’s ticket, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.
Despite persuasions from senior party officials, Ezeemo had refused to back down. Not even the decision of the more politically astute Senator Annie Okonkwo to step down for Ngige was enough to persuade him to step down for Ngige who was the favoured aspirant of the party for the ticket.
Addressing news men in Abuja shortly after he was cleared by the Screening Appeal Committee of the party in Abuja last weekend,Ezemo said:
“APC does not stand for stepping down. I have gone beyond that stage. I decided to join this race for the purpose of showing Nigerians how a political contest should be conducted.”
“This process would make the party stronger and everybody would benefit from it. Even the masses would come to realise that somebody they voted for has a responsibility to cater for them. They would also realise that if somebody is imposed on them, such a person would not have any commitment to the people. He would only look after the master who imposed him on the masses. However, if the person emerges through a popular process, he would be committed to the people.”
The Screening Committee had earlier disqualified him on the ground that he has dual citizenship, but he convinced the Committee that the Constitution stipulates that any Nigerian born in the country was qualified to run for any office. “ I can confirm that there is internal democracy within APC” he said.
It would be recalled that some of the party’s bigwigs including the governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and Chairman of APC merger Committee Chief Tom Ikimi had at the last National Executive Committee meeting of the party in Abuja, openly endorsed Dr. Ngige as the candidate of the party for the November 16 governorship election.
We are also involved, fringe party candidates cry out
WHILE most Anambarians have continued to focus on the mainstream party candidates, Tony Nwoye of the PDP, Chris Ngige of the APC and Willie Obiano of APGA, candidates of other largely unknown parties are not ashamed to ask for the limelight.
Mr. Udo Udeogaranya took the unusual step of hitting cyberspace with mails to known and unknown friends to announce his adoption as the candidate of the African Peoples Party, APA
In an email to friends, he said:
Finally, I was nominated and voted in unopposed by the party delegates from all the wards on Saturday being 31st August 2013, at the party special congress conducted in Awka, Anambra State by the party national office, led by the national Secretary of the party in the person of Alh. Samaila Mohammed Tanko, monitored by three INEC officials from INEC office in Abuja.
With this, I stand as the official gubernatorial candidate of the African Peoples Alliance (APA) for the November 16th election in Anambra State.”
Besides him, Prince Leonard Uchendu was at the weekend picked as the governorship ticket of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, at the party’s primaries held in Awka.
The exercise, which was monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, attracted delegates from the 21 local government areas of the state.
National secretary of the party, Major Gilbert Abu (rtd.) said seven persons picked the nomination forms, but only Uchendu returned his form.
The four-man electoral committee for the conduct of the primary was headed by Prince Okey Obi who announced the result of the exercise where Uchendu polled 95 votes.
Certificate of return was presented to the governorship candidate yesterday in Abuja by the national leadership of the party.
…Iwoba for PPN
Chief Basil Iwoba, also at the weekend picked the ticket of the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN.
He was the only aspirant of the party and as such was endorsed by all the delegates present.
Accepting the nomination, Iwoba reeled out his programmes for Anambra State if elected the next governor of the state.
He said that with his emergence, there are three people from Omambala area that have picked their parties’ flags for the governorship election, adding that he has the brightest chance of winning the election.
He urged the party members to protect their votes during the election to ensure the party was not rigged out by other political parties sponsored by money bags.
Nwoye settles down
FOLLOWING his public defiance of the once powerful Uba brothers at the national convention last weekend, and the acceptance got from the party leadership in Abuja, Comrade Tony Nwoye is beginning to settle down into his role as the flag bearer of the PDP.
Following the national convention he went on a circuit in Abuja of power brokers from and outside Anambra State explaining himself and agenda.
Even though a former party chairman, Nwoye has also taken the opportunity of the Abuja convention, to familiarise himself with the new leaders of the party.
Sources in the Nwoye camp say that the candidate is expecting to attend the burial ceremony in Abia of electoral officers from that state who died on their return journey last week after supervising the PDP governorship primaries. He is expecting to start full blown campaigning after the burial ceremonies.
Idigo transfers his structure to Obiano
Prince Chinedu Idigo, who was until his disqualification by the APGA screening committee regarded as the most powerful aspirant in the party from Anambra North has officially handed over his campaign structure to the candidate of the party, Chief Willy Obiano.
Both Idigo and Obiano hail from the ancient town of Aguleri in Anambra East local government area of the state and before Obiano’s late entry into the governorship race, Idigo was the rallying point in the area and in the entire Omambala section of Anambra North senatorial zone.
Idigo also promised to assist Obiano in the campaigns, saying that the important thing is that the next governor would come from the area.
It was gathered weekend that other APGA aspirants who failed to pick the ticket have also been collapsing their structures into that of Obiano who has been very visible in many parts of the state since his nomination as the flag bearer of the party.