The enigma surrounding the ever turbulent political sphere of the south eastern State of Nigeria, Anambra may have found a renewed vigor – from a peculiar signet of political money bags and half-baked charlatans littered across the senatorial zones of the State. This is as the gubernatorial exercise scheduled for February 2014, less than a year away, appears politically charged and at the edge of volatility. Already, gradual upsurges of the typical gladiators in their normal regalia and jerseys have been witnessed parading the corridors of influence at the communities of concern. However, the political parties appear locked in a political quagmire that had plagued the State with each election year.
The ruling party in Anambra State, the All Progressive Grand Alliance – APGA which recently opted to adopt the principle of zoning – in its attempt to allow Anambra’s next governor to emerge from the North Senatorial district of the State has lost the “Igbo Kwenu” steam which it had while the Late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu was alive – that had propelled the party into repeat victories at the State level. The steam according to keen observers has sizzled out.
Officials and leaderships of the party– following the demise of the Ojukwu – have found themselves engaged in a litany of internal tussles for control of the party. To many, the party structure appears sitting on a powder keg. This is as the key officials of the party have not shied away from displaying their internal disagreements/quarrels publicly in the open media.
One of the recent disagreements /quarrels amongst party officials which threatened to bring the wheels of progress to halt – came about when the State governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi introduced a zoning formula – to be used for the selection of the next gubernatorial candidate of the party. He had zoned the position to the north senatorial district of the State – based on the reasoning that other senatorial zones have produced a governor – except the north senatorial zone. But the then National Chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh along with other financiers of the party expressed their profound disagreement with the new zoning formula. And so a disparity was introduced in the leadership of the party.
The disparity further led to a caustic dislodge between the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi and the then National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh. The National Chairman viewed the governor’s support for the zoning as over-reach – tantamount to an attempt to crown a successor – and thus paving the way for the return of godfatherism. Reacting, the National Chairman fought the zoning idea through the enlistment of personalities with financial muscle. He tapped on the shady oil mogul and Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas, Chief Ifeanyi Uba – who was already harboring aspirations of becoming the governor of Anambra State under the banner of APGA. Chief Uba was eager to battle the Governor’s zoning idea.
As a result, the formally ailing APGA was brought to a near mute. Threats of exposure by Chief Umeh of Gov. Obi and counter threats by Gov. Obi’s aides of outright expulsion from the party became the order. Chief Umeh was heard and seen threatening to expose the alleged shady deals of the Anambra Governor should the Governor hold on to his desire to crown a candidate that was not the candidate of choice of the Party Chairman. The Governor, through one of his aides called for the expulsion of the Chief Umeh from the party.
Adding an unexpected lock jam to the already mute party was the recent quasi merger into the mega party, the All Progressive Congress – APC.
The then National Chairman in cohorts with the APGA governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha had joined the merger deal on behalf of the party [APGA]- without Gov. Peter Obi’s knowledge or willingness to join. And as the merger announcement was made public, and as APGA was named as a party to the merger, Gov. Peter Obi was quick to disassociate his faction of the party from the merger deal.
So as the 2014 gubernatorial elections approach less than one year away, personalities aspiring to mount the office under the banner of the APGA have begun to make themselves known.
One of the prominent personalities expected to join the fray [with the governor’s blessing] is the current Secretary to the State Government [SSG], Oseloka Obaze – he was recently appointed to the office in June/July 2012 following a minor cabinet reshuffle. He hails from Ogbaru Local Government Area [LGA] in Anambra north senatorial district. He is the brother to the immediate past Commissioner for LGA matters and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dubem Obaze – who was considered the closest cabinet member to Gov. Peter Obi. Oseloka Obaze is a well-qualified internationally trained technocrat. He is not a politician.
Also declaring is one of the more notorious politicians whose name rings of a dreadful past in the history of Anambra State. Her name is Uche Ekwunife – a house of representative member representing a constituency within the Anambra central senatorial district. She hails from Igbo Ukwu – and by marriage from Nri. She had been involved in the politics of Anambra State dating back to the dark days of governance when former Governor Mbadinuju held sway as the Governor – and schools were shut for several months for none payment of teacher’s salaries. She was originally a member of the People Democratic Party [PDP] when she initially won the seat at the house of representative. But with months following her arrival, she cross carpeted to the Peoples Progressive Alliance [PPA] party – under which banner she made a failed attempt at the governor’s office. Weeks after her failed attempt, she cross carpeted again to the APGA. She is a ‘win at all cost’ politician.
Feelers on the ground inside the communities of Anambra State point to the changed APGA as the shadow of its former self while expressing concerns what the draw-power of the party will be at the polls without the Late Ojukwu – who had served the rallying center for the party. Worthy of note is the divide that exists within the party that has further sedated the south east based party. And it is – one faction of the party belonging to the APC while the other faction belongs to the PDP.
Only time will tell what will be of the APGA come 2014.
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