Beti Onu, Anambra
Controversies continue to trail the primaries of the Anambra State Chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidates, the latest being the cancellation of the House of Representatives primary for Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia Federal Constituencies following the unlawful inclusion of names of Labour Party members as APGA delegates for the exercise.
It was gathered that the Labour Party members whose names were included in the list of delegates for the APGA primary were led by the State Labour Party Chairman, Engr. Sam Oraegbunam who is still in court with his party challenging his removal as the Chairman of the Party over alleged financial misappropriation and high handedness.
Oraegbunam is the Campaign Coordinator of Mr. Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo, the brother in-law of Rivers State governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amechi, whose clearance by APGA to stand for the primary is generating bad blood between the Presidency and the trio of Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano, his wife, Ebelechukwu, and National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh.
Obiano’s wife is due to travel out of the State partly to reportedly see the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan to defence herself for being part of the conspirators against her directgive that Amechi’s in-law, Mr. Nankwo be disqualified from contesting the electgion.
Trouble started when the name of one of the Labour Party members, Oraegbunam was called as a delegate of Mr. Nwankwo, cacophony of voices rented the air in objection.
Three out of the four aspirants objected to the use of Labour Party members as delegates in the APGA primaries and warned against the consequences of such action instigating blood bath among their members.
Though pressure was mounted on Professor Chukwulobelu, Anambra State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, who served as the Returning Officer to disregard the protest over the doctored list and go ahead to conduct the primary for only Mr. Nwankwo, the pervading fear of blood letting and protests by majority of excluded authentic delegates cowed him from proceeding,
After several meetings between the organizers and the aspirants, no satisfactory headway could be reached as the trio of Mike Nkwocha, Onochie Okagbue and Godian Eze rejected the list on the ground that it was fundamentally defective while Nwankwo okayed it.
It was leant that in the long run, it was decided that the primary be shifted to give room for the review of the list, so that only the authentic delegates who are members of APGA and who emerged as delegates would be listed to vote in the primary.
The Returning officer went into another meeting with the aspirants on what to tell the delegates who have been hanging around the White Castle Hotel Neni, Anaocha local government area, since eight O’clock in the morning, and it was agreed that he should not tell the crowd that there was an impasse but that due to the fact that it was already 7 pm, they should come back at 10 am, on Friday for the exercise.
As at the time of going to press, it was not certain if the primary for Anaocha, Njikoka and Dunukofia Federal Constituency will hold as rescheduled, but feelers indicate that Nkwocha, Ookagbue and Eze have lost confidence in the exercise which they tag a charade.
The three aggrieved aspirants had told Professor Chukwulobelu that it would been fairer if they were told from the onset that APGA had made a choice of a candidate so that they would not bother aspiring and spending hugely in paying for the Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms.
According to a delegates whose name was yanked off the list, “The should have told the aspirants and constituents that Dozie is the consensus candidate so that others will not vie. After all, when they said it that the National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh is the sole candidate, nobody objected. How do they think that it will work in this case when it was not made known to the aspirants and constituents? If APGA wants to impose somebody who cannot win election, let the party go ahead. It is not about money, but about popularity and who is on the ground. The point is that they already know that Dozie (Nwankwo) will not win the primary against more popular candidates that is why they are not interested in providing a level playing ground as talked. about.”