By Vincent Ujumadu
CONTENDERS in the race to the Anambra State Government House have emerged after the intrigues that trailed the rigorous governorship primaries of the various political parties. Except for the Progressives Peoples’ Alliance, PPA, whose candidate, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo remained the only aspirant since the politicians started nursing the governorship ambition some years back, other aspirants in the other major parties faced stiff opposition before they secured their parties’ tickets.
Ezeemo was already doing door to door consultations as a time some people in the other parties had not made up their mind to take a shot at the governorship race.
Internal squabble was indeed a major feature in some of the political parties before they went for the primary. For instance, the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano had to brush aside the threat from Chief Martin Agbaso from Imo State, who attempted to use some aggrieved persons to unseat the national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Ike Oye, before securing the ticket of the party.
With that problem over, Obiano, from Anambra North senatorial zone, had since settled for his deputy, Dr.Nkem Okeke from Anambra Central, as his running mate for the November poll. The governor’s reelection campaign will be officially launched on Saturday.
In the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the candidate, Mr. Oseloka Obaze had to embark on a painstaking reconciliation to the homes of the party’s stakeholders after he defeated six other aspirants to win the primary. That exercise was part of measures to sustain the new found peace in the party. Though one of the aspirants, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah is still threatening to go to court over the outcome of the primaries, other major stakeholders have moved on and looking forward to an all inclusive campaign.
In fact, the reconciliatory move culminated in the choice of Mrs. Alexandria Onyemelukwe, the daughter of the second republic vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme as the running mate to Obaze. Her choice, many members of the party said, has broadened the reach of PDP in the state, considering her father’s pedigree and the fact that she is the choice of the Anglican Church, which was asked by leaders of the party to collectively select a candidate that would pair with Obaze, who is a Catholic.
The excitement exhibited by PDP members when the deputy governorship candidate was introduced to the party faithful in Awka, was an indication that the lawyer –turned politician was an ideal choice for the party.
Though Dr. Tony Nwoye, who emerged the candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, after dusting the likes of Senator Andy Ubah and Chief George Moghalu, was ready to hit the campaign arena immediately after the primary, he was slowed down by petitions from some of the aspirants who alleged irregularities in the conduct of the exercise.
The delay in issuing him certificate of return soon after the primary caused so much anxiety among his supporters, but they have since heaved a sigh of relief as he has been fully recognized as the candidate of APC. The petitions were indeed a surprise to many as everything on ground during the primary showed transparency.
Coming from the same Anambra East local government area of Anambra North as the incumbent governor, Obiano, Anambra people are already expecting a battle of the titans between the two. While the governor might be banking on his power of incumbency, Nwoye will also be banking on the federal might that could be brought to bear on the Anambra electorate. Nwoye, however, in a recent interview promised to carry out issue –based campaign, arguing that he has enough reasons to convince Anambra voters to dump Obiano for him.
At the high brow Udoka Housing Estate in Awka which has suddenly turned into a campaign hub for a number of the candidates following the location of their campaign headquarters in the area, Nwoye’s campaign office stands out as people of all ages have been converging there and expecting briefing from him after his confirmation as the candidate of APC.
Chief Osita Chidoka of the United Peoples Party, UPP, has also named his running mate, an astute banker from Orumba in the old Aguata Division of the South senatorial zone of the state. His choice is natural since he is from Anambra Central and being an Anglican, he also went for a Catholic as his running mate for the usual balance in situations like this by politicians in the state.
Also, Godwin Ezeemo, who is from Anambra South and also an Anglican, had chosen a Catholic as his running mate. Incidentally, he is the only major candidate from the South senatorial zone and this might turn out to be his advantage. While Obaze from Ogbaru, Obiano from Anambra East and Nwoye also from Anambra East will be slugging it out in Anambra North, Ezeemo and Chidoka will have Anambra South and Anambra Central to themselves respectively.
This is, however, where the impact of the deputy governorship aspirants would come into play and the candidates whose running mates can command some kind of respect on their own from their zones would serve as added advantage to their bosses.
In all, how far each of the three candidates from the three major parties of PDP, APC and APGA can go will depend largely on the support they will receive from their colleagues who aspired for the tickets with them. The three parties can also boast of worthy sons of the state to serve as the pillars of the candidates during the campaign.
For instance, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will be the arrow head in an effort to make all those who lost to Tony Nwoye fall in line, just as former Governor Peter Obi will do same in PDP. In APGA, the former national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, is an experienced hand in peacemaking and many members of the party believe that sooner than later, he would make all the aggrieved ones see the need to identify with Obiano and ensure his reelection by giving him unalloyed support during the campaign.
One thing is clear and that is that like in the party primaries, Anambrarians should expect surprises during the November 18 poll. However, only candidates whose houses are in order will smile at the end of the day.