By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Aspirants currently jostling for the gubernatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC may be in for a shocker. Because of the caliber of the aspirants, many of whom are money bags, the national leadership of the party is anticipating debilitating crisis in the state chapter of the party over the outcome of the primaries.APC has therefore positioned Labour Minister, Senator Chris Ngige as its plan ‘B’. In fact, this magazine has been informed by reliable party sources that the former Anambra state governor is APC’s joker in the election.
Before now, the odds favoured Senator Andy Uba, regarded as frontline aspirants. National leadership of the party had actually zeroed in on him as the aspirant capable of dislodging the incumbent, Governor Willie Obiano from office. Counted as Uba’s edge over the rest of the aspirants are huge war chest, deep pocket, statewide influence and acceptance, and wide reach.
It was based on this consideration that the party has been exploring the option of consensus in choosing its flag bearer for the Anambra November 18, 2017 governorship election, an arrangement believed will easily throw up Senator Uba as APC’s candidate.
To concretize the consensus option and possibly consolidate Uba’s chances, some fringe APC aspirants have already withdrawn from the race and thrown their lots behind him, a source insists, at the prompting of the party.
However, the party is worried that the primaries will end in fiasco as many other formidable aspirants have vowed to wreck APC in Anambra state if the national leadership chooses imposition over transparent and credible primaries.
Desirous of capturing Anambra, APC is now considering Ngige as a compromise choice for the ticket. Ngige’s choice is predicated on the need to avoid rancorous primaries and on the understanding that he will be acceptable to all APC stakeholders in Anambra, including the aspirants.
Besides, the party, this magazine has been informed, is of the view that being a former governor who was immensely popular among the people of the state during his reign, and also as a former Senator, Ngige is a fitting march to Obiano.
Ngige became governor of Anambra in 2003 on platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but soon fell out with his godfather, Chris Uba, Senator Andy Uba’s younger brother, who had installed him. His high voltage quarrel with Chris led to serious political tension in the state, laced with occasional bloodbath.
Ngige’s governorship came to an abrupt end on March 7, 2016 following an Appeal Court ruling which held that Peter Obi of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, was the rightful winner of the 2003 governorship election. Ngige was to later become Senator on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which would in 2013 merge with other parties to form APC.