By Aziken Emmanuel
Penultimate Friday, Senators Andy Uba and Chris Ngige held parallel meetings in Abuja in their continued fight for supremacy over the All Progressives Congress, APC structure in Anambra State.
The two meetings inevitably brought to fore the polarization of the APC in the state that has won a notoriety for sullying respected persons in politics and the professions.
Despite their parallel political assertions, Uba and Ngige hold unique qualities that ordinarily should bind them together as soul mates.
Not just the fact that they are members of the APC, they are two men who served as governor of Anambra State and were dramatically sacked by the courts.
Ngige served as governor for two and half years before he was removed after much drama by the Supreme Court in 2006.
Andy Uba on his part served as governor for 17 days before he was also sacked by the Supreme Court.
Both men also show a common antipathy to Mr. Peter Obi at whose instance the Supreme Court sacked them as governor at different times.
Andy Uba and Ngige have indeed come a long way, shadow boxing one another in the vicious political milieu that Anambra State has depicted over the years.
It is sufficient to say that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP where both men started their fight has yet to recover from the malaise that their squabble generated in the period between 2003 and 2006.
That was after Ngige was imposed as governor of Anambra State in 2003 by Chief Chris Uba using the leverage of his brother, Senator Andy Uba. Uba was at that time, senior personal aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The relationship between Andy Uba and Obasanjo was such that he was reportedly among the first to see Obasanjo at dawn and among the last to see him before the president went to bed.
As a friend said at one time, Obasanjo could close his eyes and Andy Uba could put anything in his mouth. So it is a strange thing for many that Andy Uba has in the last few years dramatically cut away from the issues and politics that President Obasanjo espouse.
Fast forward 18 years after the drama of 2003, Andy Uba won for himself the APC governorship ticket last June with a vote of 230,201 votes of the about 330,000 votes cast.
Ngige and many other chieftains including all other governorship aspirants claimed that there was no primary and that Governor Dapo Abiodun sat down in his hotel room to allocate the figures to Senator Andy Uba.
Some others go far to insinuate that Uba in his position as Obasanjo’s aide had influenced many patronages and appointments for members of the APC electoral committee. As such, the primary was seen as a payback time for them to Uba.
Whatever, Ngige petitioned the presidency and according to his assertions, took evidence to show that the primary did not hold. But for whatever reason, the candidature of Senator Uba was upheld and he became the official candidate of the party.
Many at that point say that Ngige as the father of the party in the state should have swallowed his pride and worked for Uba’s emergence.
Indeed, with the PDP overtaken by its internal strife, the 2021 governorship election was an opportunity for the APC to root itself in Anambra. The 2021 Anambra governorship poll was also of interest to many Igbo APC canvassers who dreamt that a success would further galvanise the momentum for the party to zone its 2023 presidential ticket to the region.
But Ngige was unforgiving. Uba threw some sops at him including appointing a close relative of Ngige’s as his running mate. Ngige was also appointed chairman of the Board of Trustees of the campaign organization.
However, many Anambra APC chieftains say that Ngige did not wink at the offers and remained dogged in his opposition. Some allege that Ngige preferred Uba to fail so that his preeminence as party leader would be further extended as the senior party figure in the state.
The gestures to Ngige in the opinion of some were half measures as it was alleged that Uba indeed was not determined to campaign. While the voices of many candidates like Prof Soludo, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, Valentine Ozigbo turned hoarse on account of their campaign activities, many wondered where Andy Uba was. His dogged media team led by the resilient Victor Ogene gave a cover with its daily assaults on Soludo and Willie Obiano.
But besides, nothing much. There were some like Senator Joy Emodi who raised objections to the campaign inertia.
It was perhaps in reaction to Emodi’s review of the issues at Ngige’s parley last weekend that the Andy Uba campaign came out hard to assault Senator Emodi in a blistering attack.
But for a woman universally acclaimed as Adadiroma, the assault understandably did not stick.
Of course truth is bitter and it is understandable why Uba would be pissed off by Emodi’s admonition that the campaign should have been better managed. For a woman of grace and grits, the Uba camp needed to be more tactful.
But what has emerged is that the APC in Anambra may have gone the way of the PDP with the seeming irreparable friction between Uba and Ngige. The winner is the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.