By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Seven months to the Anambra gubernatorial election, snippets of the reconfiguration in the state’s political arena have emerged. The main parties battling for the incumbent, Governor Willie Obiano’s position are the ruling party in the state, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and All Progressives Congress, APC.
While APGA is fighting hard to ward off PDP and APC’s onslaught and retain power, the two opposition parties in the state, for different reasons, are bent on wrestling power from Obiano.
PDP for example, still smarting from the manner APGA ousted it from power over a decade ago in spite of political heavyweights it paraded in the state at that time, wants to stage a comeback to redeem its image and also prove that, one, Anambra is still a PDP stronghold and secondly, leadership crisis in the party notwithstanding, that PDP is still a potent force.
The APC on the other hand is desirous of not just having a strong foothold in the South east with Anambra governorship as flagship, the party wants to use the Anambra election to prove that the rash of defections of a plethora of prominent south east PDP chiefs to its fold were not in vain and that the APC is now accepted in the zone.
To this end, the thinking in the party, according to insiders, is that none of the aspirants, including PDP defectors, currently lining up to contest the APC guber ticket has the charisma, reach and clout to dislodge APGA from power or stop the PDP from doing so. Some elements in the party have therefore, zeroed in on Labour Minister, Senator Chris Ngige as the only APC politician in the state with solid support base to dethrone Obiano.
It’s not clear whether the Labour Minister is also thinking along that direction but sources close to him say he may not be a versed to the suggestion. “If the party wants him to fly its flag, why not? He is a loyal party man and will not disobey his party if asked to serve Anambra again,” one of the sources told this magazine.
Ngige illegally occupied Anambra’s governorship seat on the platform of the PDP from May 2003 to March 2006 when the Court of Appeal ruled that the gubernatorial election that brought him to office in 2003 was rigged in his favour and that Peter Obi of APGA actually won the election. However, Ngige endeared himself to a good number of Anambrians during his short stay in office through modest but commendable infrastructural development of the state.
Since his ouster from office, the Labour Minister had twice-2010 and 2013-unsucessfully attempted to return but was at the two occasions defeated by APGA candidates-Obi (2010) and Obiano (2013) – in the state’s guber elections.
APC bigwigs girding their loins to battle for the party’s 2017 guber ticket include recent PDP defectors: Senator Andy Uba , Tony Nwoye, Senator Uche Ekwunife, Capital Oil boss, Ifeanyi Uba among others.
This magazine has learnt that APGA and PDP has a common enemy in APC and party activists on both sides who are prepared to do anything to prevent Anambra from becoming APC’s second state in the South east after Imo are thinking of putting party differences aside to line up behind Obiano. PDP is reportedly evaluating its strength in the state to see if it can take Anambra at first balloting. “If the party realizes its effort in Anambra will be futile it will team up with APGA to stop APC”, a party chieftain told The Source.
However, multiple sources are emphatic that several PDP bigwigs from the state and even certain Anambra APC chieftains who do not want the APC to establish serious foothold in the south east are also working behind the scene to ensure that the party (APC) never smell guber victory in Anambra.