By Favour Goodness
Sen. Andy Uba, the controversial candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the Nov. 6, guber election in Anambra state, has moved to placate Chris Ngige, one of the most powerful critics of his emergence as the party’s standard bearer, who is the minister of labour and productivity.
Emeka Okafor, Ngige’s first cousin, will be announced anytime from now as Sen. Uba’s running mate, according to sources in the Andy Uba Campaign Organization.
A lawyer trained at the University of Benin, Okafor hails from Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area. His father and Ngige’s mother were siblings.
The minister has remained an unwavering critic of Uba’s emergence as the party’s flag bearer following the Anambra State APC congress of June 26.
Ngige has always maintained that there were no elections throughout the 21 local government areas in the state on June 26, demanding that the party conduct a proper congress where a primary election would be held among the 14 aspirants within four days, so as to meet the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, guidelines on the nomination of candidates for the gubernatorial election.
13 out of the 14 aspirants support the minister’s insistence that there were no congresses on June 26, with George Moghalu, the chief executive of the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, going to court to nullify Uba’s nomination on the grounds that there was no congress in the state from which Uba could benefit.
The APC panel on the APC congress and primary election in Anambra State, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, had on June 27, declared Uba the winner of the primaries having garnered, according to him, a whopping 230,210 out of the 348,490 votes cast, with JohnBosco Onunkwo trailing him with 28,746 votes.
It is not yet known if Senator Uba’s choice of his cousin will make Ngige pipe down, but there are already strong indications that all is not well in the Andy Uba Campaign Organization.
According to sources, Okafor has received a report quoting a top adviser to Sen. Uba as saying that he would use his running mate and “dump him once the election is over because it is dangerous to have an Ngige man in the administration; he will be a spy.
“Andy, who worked with President Olusegun Obasanjo as a Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Matters and watched at close quarters the soured relationship between Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar which resulted in endless fights, cannot trust Ngige’s cousin and confidant”.
The minister has for almost two decades accused Uba of masterminding the woes which befell him between 2003 and 2006 when he was the Anambra State governor.
During this period, Ngige was kidnapped on July 10, 2003, by fellow Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members in the state, who announced his resignation, but his removal was thwarted by Vice President Abubakar who ordered his reinstatement.
Four months later, there were three days of mayhem in Anambra State during which public institutions representing all three arms of government were burnt by hired political thugs, a development which President Obasanjo was to call “a family affair”.
None of the rioters was arrested, even though armed police were watching them.
Many in Anambra believe that Uba used his enormous influence on Obasanjo to make governance difficult, as Uba’s younger brother, Chris Uba, put it publicly.
Prof. Chinua Achebe rejected in 2004 a national award which Obasanjo wanted to confer on him in protests against the chaos in his home state, stating he was dismayed by how some politicians with connections in The Presidency had been boasting how they would turn Anambra State into “a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom”.