Voters in Anambra State will on Saturday, November 18, choose from the 37 candidates of different political parties who is best situated to be their governor for another four years
By Olu Ojewale
IN a week’s time, Anambra State electorate are going to exercise their franchise to elect a candidate of their choice to lead the state for another four years. The governorship contest in the state slated for Saturday, November 18, is something that will divert attention to the state on the day as no fewer than 37 political parties are fielding candidates for the election.
As the count-down begins in earnest, Anambra State is now politically charged with all manners of jingoism and manoeuvring as the political field is fraught with a lot of activities of different dimension and colouration. It has also put Governor Willie Obiano, the incumbent, on his toes and he has been kept busy with campaign rallies across the state, receiving chieftancy titles, commissioning and promising projects to communities as he battles opponents to get elected for a second term in office.
With the election rapidly approaching, Obiano definitely has some 36 other contestants to beat for him to return to the state house. The list of candidates released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday, September 27, in Abuja, indicated that 37 political parties would be presenting candidates in the governorship election scheduled for November 18.
The commission, in a statement by Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, its director of Publicity, released a list of the candidates, with five women vying for the governorship seat. The list also have eight others vying for the office of deputy governor.
The candidates included Obiano, the incumbent governor, with Nkemakonam Okeke, his deputy, contesting under the flag of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. On the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is Oseloka Obaze with Chidi Onyemelukwe, a woman, as his running mate.
There is Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, APC, with Dozie Arinze, a woman, as his running mate. Others on the list are Nwezi Amechi and Njideka Okeke, a woman, as his running mate, for All Grand Alliance Party, AGAP. Oby Okafor and her running mate Onyekwuluje Uzoma, as candidate for Advanced Congress of Democrats, ACD, also made the list.
Osita Chidoka, a former minister of Aviation, is carrying the flag of United Progressive Party, UPP, with Okeke Ogbonnaya as his running mate.
The rest of the political parties with candidates on the list include Alliance Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; African Democratic Congress, ADC; Action Alliance, AA, and Action Democratic Party, ADP. Others are APDA, African People’s Party, APP; Better Nigeria Progressive Party, BNPP; Democratic Alternative, DA; Democratic Peoples Congress, DPC; Green Party of Nigeria, GPN; Hope Democratic Party, HDP, and Kowa Party.
The Labour Party, LP, as well as Masses Movement of Nigeria, MMM; Mega Progressive Peoples Party, MPPP; National Democratic Liberty Party, NDLP, and United Democratic Party, UDP, also have candidates.
Candidates of National Conscience Party, NCP; New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP; Nigeria Peoples Congress, NPC; National Unity Party, NUP, and People for Democratic Change, PDC, would similarly contest. Also listed as parties with candidates are the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA; Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN; Peoples Redemption Party, PRP; Social Democratic Party, SDP; and United Progressive Party, UPP.
The rest are Young Democratic Party, YDP, and Young Progressive Party, YPP.
The commission, in the statement, also disclosed that it had approved the applications of 44 observer groups, comprising 38 domestic and six international groups, to observe the election.
Notwithstanding the large number of candidates in the race for Anambra State’s plum job, which, perhaps, the highest yet in the state elections in Nigeria, it seems the race has been narrowed down to a contest of the three main political parties and their candidates namely, Governor Obiano of the APGA; Obaze representing the PDP, and Nwoye of the APC.
Although it is generally believed that both the PDP and APC, which are the major opposition parties in the state have the financial muscles to dislodge Obiano from office, but both parties appear to be engulfed in crisis emanating from the primaries held to elect their flag-bearers, which stands to jeopardise their chances at the coming election.
According to available information, Nwoye is not receiving the necessary support from chieftains of the party to enhance his chances. One of his major obstacles is Andy Uba, a senator, who lost to Nwoye in the primaries election, has allegedly refused to work for the success of the party ahead of the polls.
Irked by his inconsolable behaviour, Nwoye did not hesitate to tell the media recently that Uba was the only aggrieved person in the party after the primaries which he won to clinch the APC ticket. “Nobody is aggrieved; the only person who is aggrieved is Dr. Andy Uba. He was my boss; then he is the only person that was aggrieved, he is still aggrieved. I went severally (to meet with him), he refused to see me; I made phone calls, he refused to see me. What would you want me to do?” he questioned.
Nevertheless, Nwoye expressed confidence that he would be able to deny Obiano a second term in office, despite the strength of the APGA in the state. He claimed that the orchestrated blackmail against him by the ruling APGA party aptly showed that the party was afraid of him. “APGA is afraid of me, that is why they have been manufacturing propaganda.
APGA is a strong party to beat but we believe that when we get the support of my people we are going to beat them,” he said.
Facing a similar problem is Oseloka Obaze, the PDP candidate and a former secretary to Anambra State government. Since his emergence as the party candidate, he has not been able to enjoy the full support of the PDP hierarchy in the state.
In fact, some analysts said his emergence had only created a big gulf in the party as some of the aspirants in the party primaries and their supporters have decided to pitch their tent with Obiano of the APGA. Prominent among those that have reportedly pitched tent with the Obiano is Ifeanyi Uba, an oil magnate. Uba, who was one of the strong contenders in the PDP primaries that produced Obaze, has never hidden his disgust for the conduct of the primaries, which he alleged was not free and fair. This has prompted some members of the party to defect to the ruling APGA.