*As Ekelem picks SDP ticket
By Vincent Ujumadu
THE factional National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Edozie Njoku, was yesterday nominated as the candidate of the party for the November 6 Anambra governorship election.
Nkoku, who hailed from Imo State, said he is qualified to contest the governorship in Anambra State having contested for the House of Representatives election for Onitsha federal constituency in 2003 and 2007.
He emerged as the consensus candidate at the primary held in Awka and explained that the decision to hold the primary followed the expiration of the court order that described his faction as illegal.
Speaking after the exercise, Njoku expressed optimism that the issues in the party would soon be resolved; assuring that the party would retain power in the state.
He said: “There was an ex-parte order stopping us as the authentic APGA from carrying out our primaries. It was a 7-day order which has expired.
“And our lawyers are in court at the moment where we are asking to be declared the authentic APGA. We were therefore proactive enough to have organized our primary this morning (yesterday).
“Somehow, the party saw the need to have a consensus candidate and they said that I should emerge as the candidate of the party for the elections.
“We have a long journey to go particularly regarding the aspect of Chief Victor Oye’s leadership of the party.
“We also have to organize ourselves and do what is right for APGA. We thank God that we have been able to conclude our primaries and I have emerged as the candidate of the party.
“What we want is for APGA to be in good standing to win elections. This party has derailed and we are determined to strengthen it. The struggle to make APGA better is not easy and we want to weed out those who want to make things difficult at the party.
“Ours is the APGA that has met all the INEC requirements for the conduct of the party’s primaries. INEC demanded 21 days’ notice and we fulfilled it; we also submitted our delegates list.
“So we are the APGA that has the structures to run election in Anambra State. The party stakeholders met and after considering all the variables, voted me as the candidate of APGA. Those who emerged delegates are people who have made sacrifices and the party will reward them.
“For now, I am holding the cap of the national chairman and as the flag bearer for the November election.”
He dismissed the Jude Okeke –led third faction of APGA, arguing that he does not have the constitutional power to name himself chairman.
Ekelem wins SDP primaries
Also yesterday, Chief Arinze Ekelem was elected the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, at the party’s primary conducted in Awka.
Ekelem, who was the only aspirant, received 111 votes out of the 116 accredited delegates that participated in the primary. There were three void votes.
Chairman of the electoral panel, Mrs. Mariam Batubo, declared Ekelem winner and named him the flag bearer of SDP for the November 6 governorship election in the state.
In his acceptance speech, Ekelem thanked the delegates for nominating him, assuring them that the party would win the forthcoming elections.
The SDP candidate has already scheduled a meeting of all the youth and women leaders of the party to work out modalities for grassroot mobilization of voters and the party’s campaign that would commence soon.
He listed infrastructural development, youth empowerment, agriculture, education, power supply, among others as some of his priorities if he is elected the next governor of the state.