A News Analysis by Emmanuel Mogbede, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Political analysts believe that it will be an unprecedented exploit for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to win the Anambra governorship election on Nov. 6 where the Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) holds the helm and controls the state government with massive supporters.
For the benefit of hindsight, an APGA candidate was first elected as governor of Anambra in February 2013, a faction of the party later merged with the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) to form the APC in the state.
In January 2018, APGA clinched a seat in the Senate after a by-election, while all local government area chairmen in Anambra are card-carrying members of APGA.
The party experienced remarkable growth during the 2019 elections when it won seven seats in the House of Representatives compared to the 2015 elections when it won only two seats.
As expected, most aspirants, especially those on the platform of the APC, believe that the power of incumbency may have significant influence on the forthcoming Anambra government.
While the APC is hopeful in taking over the state, its chieftains and stakeholders across the federation fear the power of incumbency and the influence of the bigwigs believed to play significant role in the election.
To them, the yet to be addressed grievance among APGA members and the internal crisis in the state chapter of the party could also enhance APC’s chance in Anambra.
The challenges in parties, notwithstanding, political analysts insist that the contest for the governorship seat in the state will be a straight fight between the APC and APGA.
Part of the concerns is indicated in the list of governorship candidates released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that does not include Prof. Chukwuma Soludo –APGA– and Valentine Ozigbo, who are expected to contest.
While a member of the House of Representatives, Chukwuma Umeoji, is listed as candidate for APGA, no candidate at all was listed for the PDP.
Sen. Andy Uba and Mr Akachukwu Nwankpo are listed for APC and African Democratic Congress (ADC) respectively.
Mr Jude Okoye, a strong enthusiast of APGA, says listing Umeoji for APGA is a welcome idea in view of the “impunity’’ perpetrated by the leadership of the party.
Mr Okoye describes Umeoji as a grassroots politician, a unifier who has the capacity to win the Nov. 6 election if his candidacy stays.
But the Soludo Campaign Organisation says the basis upon which Umeoji is recognised by INEC is not sustainable.
However, APC governorship aspirants in the November election are Uba, Nwokafor Daniel, Dr George Moghalu, Mr Paul Orajiaka, Mr Edozie Madu and Dr Chidozie Nwankwo.
Others are Mr Maxwell Okoye, retired Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu, Mr Azuka Okwuosa, Onwa Mokelu, Igwebuike Hygers, Godwin Okonkwo, Beneth Etiaba and Onunkwo Obinna.
Assessing the political strength of other aspirants, Uba who is re-contesting the Anambra governorship election on the platform of APC, says he is not worried by the presence of the bigwigs, especially those from APGA that produced the incumbent Gov. Willie Obianor.
Uba believes that the power of incumbency in the state cannot be a threat to him, saying that the electorate would decide who the next governor will be.
“I think Anambra people will have to decide after our primary, after the primary, they will decide who they want as their governor.
“They have been there for 16 years and that does not mean they will win, being in power for many years does not mean anything,’’ he says.
“If you remember in 2007 when I won the election as the governor of Anambra, I had plans to change the face of Anambra.
“My plan was to empower youths and women in the state and to take Anambra to a different level in terms of infrastructure and agriculture among others.
“I have modified those plans now from what they were before; Anambra will be a different state once I am elected as its next governor,’’ he says.
Uba won the Anambra governorship election in 2007 and was sworn-in on May 27, 2007, but on June 14, 2007, barely two weeks and three days after being sworn-in, Uba was removed from office by a judgment of the Supreme Court that held that the tenure of the then incumbent Gov. Peter Obi of APGA had not ended.
Uba who hailed from Uga, Aguata Local Government Area of the state in Anambra South had since then made efforts to contest again for the position.
In April 2011, he won the Senatorial election to represent his district and has served for two terms.
Observers note that beyond the fear of the power of incumbency is the need to ensure a level- playing field for aspirants and to address the internal crisis in APC in the state.
Party members of APC note that until this is done and true ownership of the party is given to its members, commitment and loyalty will remain a lip service just as enthroning an APC government in Anambra may remain a mirage.
Mr Victor Giadom, the Secretary of APC Membership Registration and Revalidation Appeal Committee, has however, assured party loyalists that the recently concluded registration exercise has made the party’s members its true owners.
Giadom commends the party for embarking on the exercise, saying it is a development that will give members a true sense of belonging.