On their Mark

Chris Ngige
Chris Ngige

More than 27 aspirants have shown interest in the November governorship race in Anambra State

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Apr. 1, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

AS the November 2013 governorship election in Anambra State draws closer, political issues in the state are becoming more intriguing by the day. The aspirants clamouring to take over from Peter Obi, incumbent governor of the state, have started intense grassroots mobilisation, sensitisation and consultation with crucial stakeholders.

At the last count, about 27 aspirants have declared interest in the race with most of them keeping silent on their platforms for now. Nonetheless, most of them are likely to contest for the gubernatorial tickets of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the Labour Party, LP, which are the leading political parties in the state.

Chukwuma Soludo
Chukwuma Soludo

Some of the prominent names in the 2010 race that have again aspired to be governor are Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Andy Uba, Akachukwu Nwamkpo, secretary of the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme, SURE-P, Paul Odenigbo, member representing Anambra State at the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Obinna Uzoh, chief executive officer, GOCUZ Group of Companies, Alex Obiogbolu, general manager of the state environmental protection agency, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Emma Anosike, Uche Ekwunife, member House of Representatives and Senator Annie Okonkwo.

Others are Chinwoke Mbadinuju, former governor of the state, Pat Nwachi Obianwu, Lagos-based chattered surveyor, Ifeanyi Uba, chairman Capital Oil and Gas, Dubem Obaze, former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters in the state, Oseloka Obaze, current secretary to the state government, Godwin Ezeemo, London-based businessman, Chike Obidigbo, an Industrialist, Paul Odenigbo, former secretary to the state government, Chijioke Ndubuisi, legal practitioner, Mike Udah, current chief press secretary, CPS, to state governor, Afam Ogene, currently representing Ogbaru Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Emmanuel Okafor, medical practitioner, Chima Anene, businessman, Prince Chinedu Idigo, legal practitioner, Udoka Charles Udoagalanya, former chairman Lagos League of Political Parties, LLPP and Godwin Ibekwe, former President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE in the state.

But the clamour by the people of Anambra North to produce the next governor of the state is heating up the polity. The zone claims that since the return to democratic rule in 1999, it has not produced the governor of the state. The zone want people to concede the governorship slot to it and that aspirants from other zones should withdraw from the race. But the leading aspirants from the other zones are insisting that merit and not zoning should be the deciding factor.

Meanwhile, governor Obi and some other politicians in the state believe Anambra North had been marginalised and should be given the opportunity to rule the state in 2014. Ostia Ezenwa, former secretary to the state government, is one of those who believe that the people of the North have what it takes to rule the state.

“For the purpose of equity, I believe that the people of Anambra North should be given a chance because we have eminently qualified people in the zone. If you give them that opportunity, they will have a sense of belonging because when they have a taste of it, if it’s bitter or sweet, they will know. But let them have that opportunity. So, I support that move because it does not affect the quality of the candidate,” he said.

Peter Obi, Governor of Anambra State
Peter Obi, Governor of Anambra State

Emma Anosike, a former senator from the zone, said the people of the Anambra North have continually been marginalised since the creation of the state 21 years ago. He was of the opinion that the zone had always decided the outcome of past governorship contests in the state, but it has never had the opportunity of producing the governor for the state. For him, 2014 should be payback time for the people of the zone.

According to Anosike, it would not be out of place for their brothers and sisters in the South and Central senatorial zones to support the north to produce a governor for the state in the next election. “If you trace the history of politics in Anambra, you will discover that Anambra North has continued to be marginalised, and this is not fair at all. The zone has always been the decider in every governorship election. We produce bloc votes and this has always led to the emergence of all the governors, both past and present. So, this is payback time. They should support us, so that we produce the next governor. This is not asking for too much from our brothers,” Anosike said.

But Ngige has described the views of those insisting on making the choice of the next governor the preserve of Anambra North senatorial zone, as alien to the power struggle in the state. He said that as a stakeholder, he would not shut his mouth while governor Obi tries to foist a non-existent, impracticable and unacceptable political pattern on the state by his trumpeting that its now the turn of the North to produce a governor in the state.

He pointed out that if Obi’s postulation was correct, sons of the zone like Chudi Nwike, Emma Anosike, Sam Ikefuna, Mike Areh, Alex Obiogbolu, Nnamdi Ozobia, Patrick Agbata, Okey Odunze, Frank Oramulu and Joy Emordi would not have participated in the election that produced Chinwoke Mbadinuju, himself, Andy Ubah and Peter Obi, at all.

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