By Emmanuel Aziken
A party that swept all three Senate seats, all but one of the 11 House of Representatives seats in the 2015 elections should not play second fiddle in Anambra State. However, what last Saturday’s governorship election again showed was that the intractable conflicts in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP would for the foreseeable future continue to harm its prospects of governing the state.
Even though the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA won last Saturday’s governorship election, almost every political stakeholder in Anambra affirms the dominance of the PDP at the grassroots. The only time APGA has shown electoral strength was in the 2015 state House of Assembly election when Governor Willie Obiano took advantage of the demoralised state of the PDP after the presidential election loss to for the first time put an APGA majority in the state House of Assembly.
So, how come the PDP again lost? A chieftain of the party, Chief Chris Uba pointed at the direction of a former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi for the party’s loss hours after the election result was declared.
Uba’s claim was the general refrain among leading PDP chieftains from the state even before the election results distilled.
Indeed, even before the results of the election had crystallised, one leading stakeholder in the party, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu even sent out congratulations to APGA.
While many of the PDP chieftains actively collaborated with APGA to deliver Chief Willie Obiano, others sat on the fence in anticipation of the loss.
Besides Chief Uba who is a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, other nationally acclaimed chieftains of the party in the state include the national secretary of the PDP, Senator Ben Obi, Senator Stella Oduah, the immediate past national publicity scribe, Chief Olisa Metuh, the chairman of the state caretaker committee of the party, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Prince John Emeka, Senator Annie Okonkwo, among several others.
All of these chieftains all lost their wards and even in several cases, even their polling booths, reflective of either their unpopularity or their unwillingness to deliver the party. In several cases, it was the later. At the heart of the disenchantment of the party, stakeholders was that Mr. Obi took over the structure of the party using his influence in Abuja to push his associate, Mr. Oseloka Obaze who Uba and others felt was a stranger in the PDP having only recently joined from APGA.
Even more dangerous to the party was the claim by party stakeholders that Mr. Obi wanted to win the election on his own using the legacy of his good works when he was governor. Many of the stakeholders also believed that Mr. Obi wanted to use a victory to claim the 2019 vice-presidential ticket of the party.
Despite the fact that a number of the stakeholders were co-opted into the PDP Governorship Campaign, it was, however, generally believed to be window dressing.
Even worse was the fact that just about three months to the election the Ken Emekayi led executive of the party was dissolved, and a new caretaker committee inaugurated.
The dissolution of the Emekayi tendency that had managed the party and was believed to have brought some measure of stability to the party was particularly flayed by stakeholders who saw it as the beginning of crisis ahead of the governorship election.
So it was not surprising that on election day that the structure which had been nurtured by Emekayi all through the years for the PDP was turned over to deliver APGA.
Such claims are, however, dismissed by Mr. Obi’s associates who cite what they claim as Obaze’s refusal to bribe the PDP chieftains.
They also note the collaboration of the security agencies and Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC with alleged agents of APGA.
Even if the PDP had won the election it would certainly not have meant that Mr. Obaze would have even comfortably strolled into Government House, Awka. Waiting as a trap was a suit with the intention of disqualifying him as the PDP candidate on the claim that he did not have an waiver to contest. So, had PDP won the election, perhaps Dr. Obiogbolu who took second position could well have emerged as governor!