By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
THE recent decision by the widow of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Ambasador Bianca Ojukwu to vie for a senate seat has heightened the political atmosphere in Anambra State, particularly the South senatorial zone. Before her declaration to contest for the seat, it was thought that the race for the ticket of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, for Anambra South would be fought among Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, who was once the chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil and Dr. Anselm Enyimba, a renowned banker.
However, things changed when a millionaire American –based medical practitioner from Umuchukwu in Orumba South local government area, Dr. Godwin Maduka, led many notable people to Ekwulobia in Aguata local government area where Mrs. Ojukwu addressed APGA stakeholders of her intention to run. Maduka has since been carrying the ‘Bianca Ojukwu for Senate’ campaign to all the communities in Anambra South and vowed to deliver her no matter what it would cost.
“Ojukwu is our leader, both in life and in death and since his widow has decided to run for an election, the ideal thing is for everybody to support her. That is what we want to do. We are waiting for those who think they can buy the seat with money to come out as we are ready to challenge them in all areas,” Maduka said.
That decision suddenly made Anambra South a hot political zone for the 2019 election because the other aspirants for the ticket are also people in the good books of the leadership of APGA in view of the support they gave the party during the November 2017 governorship election in the state. That is the dilemma APGA is facing.
At the last count, no fewer than 15 prominent Igbo businessmen were believed to be ready to sponsor the senatorial ambition of Mrs. Ojukwu. Former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, while speaking during the public declaration of Mrs. Ojukwu said the businessmen had already started mobilizing ahead of the primaries of APGA.
Ohakim, who recently declared his intention to contest for the governorship of Imo State on ther platform of APGA said Igbo people would not watch the widow of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu intimidated by anybody in the name of contesting election and urged those aspiring to contest the position with Ojukwu to have a rethink as it would be a set back to the Igbo and a disservice to Ojukwu for anybody to work against the interest of his widow.“He said: “Those who are contesting the poll with the wife of our leader may have the money and wherewithal to muzzle down Bianca but they don’t have the same integrity.“” Bianca Ojukwu is not an ordinary human being. She has double-barrel identity and double-barrel legacy. We have mobilized 15 Igbo rich people to sponsor her ambition and over 25,000 youths to work for her and enjoined the people of Anambra State not to disappoint the Igbo race in the Bianca Ojukwu project.
Apart from the rich Igbo people who are prepared to bankroll the campaign expenses of Mrs. Ojukwu, the pro –Biafra group have also been drumming support for her. Both the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, as well as the Uwazurike –led Biafra Independent Movement, BIM, have declared their intention to support her.“However, shortly after Bianca Ojukwu’s declaration, some members of the Ojukwu family addressed journalists in Abuja, saying their family would not support her ambition because she is from Enugu State. An unconfirmed report said the gathering of Ojukwu family was at the instance of one of those aspiring for the senatorial ticket of APGA, a development that had caused ripples in Anambra State.
A chieftain of APGA, Mr. Stanley Chuke said it was foolhardy to say that Bianca Ojukwu should not go to senate because she hailed from Enugu State. He said: “Senate is the highest law –making chamber in Nigeria and those in that hallowed chambers are people expected to have made their mark in various spheres of life. Bianca is a lawyer and had been Nigeria’s Ambassador and is therefore very much qualified to become a senator.”
But with the assurance by the APGA leadership to provide a level-playing field for all aspirants, the entry of Mrs. Ojukwu may have changed everything. To allay people’s fear, Governor Willie Obiano, who is the national leader and chairman of Board of Trustees of the party said there would be no favoritism during the primaries because the aftermath of the primaries would determine the future of the party.
While acknowledging that the party has an array of competent personalities vying under its platform, Obiano cautioned the aspirants against all forms of thuggery during the primaries, reminding them that it is only God that institutes leadership.