With the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State fast approaching, many political parties are in the mood of conducting primary elections to determine among the aspirants those who will fly the party’s flag in this all important race.
From the look of things, the Anambra State election is going to be a tripartite race between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). In between the tripartite parties is the United Progressives Party (UPP), but the party is currently bogged down by internal crisis despite having a standard bearer for the race.
Among the tripartite parties to watch, one is having internal cohesion problem as it has already produced two governorship candidates who are ever ready to go for each other’s jugular.
What the internal tussle mean is that the electoral values of APGA would seriously depreciate because having two candidates for one election in the person of the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano and Dr. Hygers Igwebuike is going to confuse the Anambra electorates which will be a very high risk to take.
Therefore, the Anambra voters would go for a credible and reliable alternative because casting their votes for APGA is equivalent to gambling with their political future and destiny; a situation that will certainly hinder developments and good governance from taking the rightful place it deserves in the state.
Hence, the race would now be between the largest opposition party in Africa which is the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling party at the Centre which is the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But situation reports from Anambra State shows that APC is not on ground and that it is only banking on the federal might to win the state ahead of the 2019 general elections; a situation that would require the PDP to field a popular candidate who is loved and acceptable to Anambrarians since the state is where the last election for the year would be held because Ekiti State election of 2018 would be the last governorship election in Nigeria before the 2019 all important elections.
Hence, the Anambra State election is a must win for the PDP so that it will swell up the number of PDP governors in the Southeast thereby making it four since the Southeast and the South-South are the strongest base of the party in Nigeria.
But then, who flies the PDP flag in Anambra State would go a long way in determining how far the party can go and whether Anambra State would be a plus or a minus for the PDP.
This question would however be addressed by the choice of who becomes the PDP candidate or standard bearer for the light of the nation.
According to reliable sources in the nation’s security organizations, Prince John Okechukwu Emeka is the only aspirant giving the security community tough time because they have no incriminating evidence against him to execute the directive given to them to arrest and prosecute whoever emerges as PDP candidate for the November 18 governorship race in the state.
One of the sources added that the intelligence community have combed all files related to Prince John Emeka but could not find any incriminating document against him.
He further stated that if Prince John Emeka emerges as the PDP candidate for the November 18 governorship race in the state, there is no force on earth that will stop him from winning the election.
When I ask the source about other aspirants in the race, he said the intelligence community have distributed incriminating evidence against them to the security organizations in the country to help them execute the directive given to them by the powers that be at the Centre; revealing that whoever emerges as PDP candidate for Anambra State besides Prince John Emeka would be given the Saraki treatment.
Asked what he meant by Saraki treatment, the source laughed and told me that they have perfected plans to arrest and prosecute any aspirant that will merge outside Prince John Emeka in the coming PDP primaries.
He noted that since there was no time bar to a criminal offence as was seen in the case of Saraki versus the Federal Government over alleged false assets declaration, they are going to use the same tactics on anybody that emerges besides Prince John Emeka saying the tactics is what will give victory to APC in the state since it has no structure in that state which will make it to win the much needed state.
When I asked him how the strategy would work, the source said by the time they institute a criminal case against whoever emerge outside John Emeka, the candidate would not have time to canvass for votes among Anambra electorates and in that case, they would have no other choice than to vote for APC because the crisis in APGA will not allow it to canvass for votes and even if they do Anambrarians would not take them serious.
The source said this is how they plan to execute the order given to them to enthrone an APC government in Anambra State at all cost.
When I asked the source to reveal the names of the affected aspirants they plan to hound down, he declined saying it was none of my business.
However, a simple search on the internet about the other aspirants would show that some of them are not scandal-free as they swim form one scandal to another with some even having issues of dual citizenship and document forgery pending before the NIA, DSS, CCB, ICPC and the EFCC. These are offences capable of destroying PDP chances of winning the election if a wrong candidate is fielded.
With the APC planning to win the Anambra State election at all cost, the power for Anambra PDP delegates to align with the overall interest of the party ahead of the 2019 general elections is in their hands.
Hence, the advice I would give to Anambra State PDP leaders and delegates on who to choose between the aspirants having pending issues and cases against and a scandal-free aspirant in the person of Prince John Emeka is not different from the advice given to political parties by the National Commissioner and Chairman Elections and Party Monitoring Committee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Antonia Okoosi-Simbine. She said: ”When Primaries were badly conducted and the court quashes such elections, the party involved will have no opportunity to take part in the re-run, meaning that the party has lost at the end.”
Therefore, since the security agencies acting on the directive given to them by higher authorities have perfected plans to institute a case against the emergence of any scandal-ridden aspirant in the race, the only credible and viable option for the PDP to win the Anambra State election is by electing Prince John Okechukwu Emeka as its standard bearer for the November 18 Governorship election in the state.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Mr. Edwin Emeka Aboh is an award-wining Public Affairs Analyst.
He writes from Abuja.