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Anambra: APC in waiting game as PDP, APGA move on

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Anambra State will not partake in the governorship election in 2023. Reason is that its governorship election was held in November 6, 2021. The election brought in the current governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Presently, the attention of the political parties in the state has shifted to the State and National Assembly seats.

In Anambra State, only three parties are pronounced, namely APGA, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC). The fourth force in the state happens to be the Young Progressive Party (YPP), because it produced a Senator during the 2019 general election in Anambra South senatorial zone.

At present, the YPP senator, representing Anambra State zone is Ifeanyi Ubah, who’s likely to recontest in 2023. Apart from YPP, the two other parties like PDP and APGA have shown enough interest to contest the election in the three senatorial districts. The zones are Anambra North, Anambra South and Anambra Central. The only party that doesn’t have aspirants for senatorial election is the APC. If the party has senatorial contenders, they are not well known yet.

It’s either the members of the party are afraid of what happened during the last governorship election where the party came third or afraid of the hatred the voters have against the party. In the three senatorial zones, only the PDP and APGA have a good number of contestants. Only one person in APC has shown interest in the race from the South, Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo.

APC has not won any election in the State since its formation, despite the array of top politicians in its fold except through defections. And the party has gone through a lot since the governorship primaries of 2021. For APGA, the party has really gained ground in the State and has been in power for the past 16 years. It may be difficult for any other party to dislodge APGA in Anambra.

In reality, Anambra belongs to PDP and parades the political movers and shakers in the State more than any other. But lack of cohesion is the bane of the party in the state. As 2023 National Assembly election draws close, the parties have again, been working underground to outdo each other in different zones.

Such names like Uzuegbunam Okagbue, Ebelechukwu Obiano, Primus Odili, Stella Oduah, Uche Ekwunife, Obiora Okonkwo, Chris Azubogu, Ifeanyi Ubah among others have started dropping in the three zones. Currently, it appears the contest across the zones will be between contenders from the ruling APGA and the opposition PDP.

From the North zone, The Nation gathered that the incumbent Senator, Stella Oduah, is still indicating interest to re-contest. Also, Anambra’s former First Lady, Dr. Ebelechukwu Obiano, is seriously plotting to unseat the incumbent while former governor Willie Obiano’s Chief of Staff, Chief Primus Odili, is also major contender.

From the South, Chief Johnbosco Onunkwo just indicated interest. The member, representing Nnewi North, South and Ekwusigo federal Constituency, Hon Chris Azubogu, seems to be eyeing Ubah’s seat too. As stated earlier, Ubah may also be getting ready to return to the senate in 2023.

In the Central, Uche Ekwunife is set for another litmus test with former National Chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh, who is desperate to return to the red chamber again, while Obiano’s Chief of protocol, Uzuegbunam Okagbue, is equally set to battle them for the coveted seat.

However, the number keeps swelling by the day, but those mentioned above are the ones who have started making waves in Anambra State at the moment. Some of them are still playing hide and seek puzzle game in their different zones. It has also been speculated that former governorship candidate of APC, Dr. Tony Nwoye, is showing interest in the North.

Oduah

The leading contender there remains Senator Stella Oduah because she’s the incumbent representing the zone at the moment. She is a two term Senator having won the seat on the platform of PDP and so popular with her constituents. Oduah, The Nation gathered, is at home with her people, having built houses for the widows, empowered the youth and less privileged in the zone.

Not only that, it’s also said that she has built roads in her Ogbaru local government area to the admiration of even the government and other parties. Political observers say it will be difficult for anyone to win the senatorial zone from her. But she is facing a battle of which of the political parties to use in prosecuting her ambition. Before the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, she had dumped PDP to team up with Senator Andy Uba in APC.

Though, The Nation gathered last week that she has moved back to the PDP after the failed trip. The question remains, will PDP trust her again?

Odili

He was the immediate past Chief of Staff to the embattled former governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who vacated office on March 17, 2022. Chief Primus Odili is the toast of his party APGA, having participated actively in party affairs throughout their eight year tenure. Anambra residents referred to him as Abba Kyari of Obiano’s administration, but the difference, according to them is that he has a heart of gold.

Speaking with The Nation, one of the APGA youth leaders in the North, comrade Emma Okafor, said if APGA fails to give Odili the senatorial ticket, the party should forget about winning the election. It was further gathered that the youth from the North senatorial zone were adequately taken care of through the instrumentality of Odili as the Chief of Staff

Recently, the youth in the area met with many other groups in the zone and vowed not to work for any other person except Odili. They have equally vowed to shut down APGA if the senatorial ticket happens to elude the man they refer as their second messiah after Jesus Christ. But he is likely to face the obstacle of facing the wife of his former boss for the party’s ticket.

Obiano

She was in a very good stead for the senatorial ticket until the slapping saga involving her and former Ambassador to Spain, Lady Bianca Ojukwu. Ebelechukwu Obiano, for eight years she served as the First Lady of Anambra State, she was seen as a good woman who helped the less privileged, widows and the poor.

It started when she established her Caring Family Initiative CAFE, that built houses for widows in virtually all the local government areas in the State. Mrs. Obiano, has Chief Primus Odili to battle for the ticket of APGA in the North. With the presence of her husband, Ebelechukwu stands a chance of grabbing her party’s ticket. Her major problem, for now, is the public shame she exhibited on March 17, during the inauguration of Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo.

That singular act, may rob her the opportunity of representing her people. Besides, the Aguleri people, The Nation gathered, are ganging up against her for bringing shame to their brother by fighting in public. However, if, she eventually emerges the candidate of her party, she may win the battle with Obiano’s presence and his landmark achievements in the North senatorial zone, which had lacked amenities and infrastructure before he came to power.

Ekwunife

She is two-term Senator, representing Anambra Central and gunning for the third term. Senator Uche Ekwunife is one of the Anambra’s political ‘iron’ ladies, who is loved and admired by her constituents. Political observers call her a serial defector, but analysts see her as a political genius who knows how and when to make moves.

The incumbent senator is battle ready to face all comers in the Central that parades other political giants from other parties, if given the mandate by her party, PDP. Though, she has not officially declared her intention, but her body language tells the story. If given the ticket by her party, Ekwunife may ride at Peter Obi’s back to floor any opposition in 2023.

However, some people see her as arrogant and have no regard for people after being elected. Many people believe that the senator has done enough for her people to deserve another slot at the red chamber. At the moment, she remains the only person vying for the PDP ticket. Many people still believe that it’s too early to conclude.

Okelekwe

They call him the man the cap fits in Anambra State. He is a man of the people, who does not delve into controversial issues. Chief kodilichukwu Okelekwe, had before now, contested the governorship ticket on the platform of the PDP in 2011, when he schemed out.

The man popularly called Ubom (his traditional title) in Anambra, is a grassroots politician who decamped from PDP to APC few years ago. He has purchased the APC form and his Nibo community in Awka South local government area, has started mobilization for him.

One of his strongest strengths now is the senator Chris Ngige factor. He has been one of the strong sponsors of APC in the State, having donated some vehicles to the Executive. If he succeeds in arresting the APC ticket for the Central senatorial, the party should start counting its blessings in 2023.

Umeh

The former National Chairman of APGA has become a political oracle in Anambra State and does not need any further introduction. Senator Victor Umeh, represented Anambra Central during the last dispensation and he is gunning to represent the zone again in 2023 on the platform of APGA.

Umeh has a lot of followers in Anambra Central and the State in general, especially, the youth. The former Chairman is facing opposition in his party against former governor Obiano’s Chief protocol Officer and deputy Chief of Staff, Uzuegbunam Okagbue in the Central.

He is not a hidden politician in Anambra State and has the capacity to win election for his party. The problem he is likely to face is being denied the ticket because of his not too cordial relationship with the incumbent National Chairman, Ozonkpu Victor Ike Oye.

Okagbue

He is young, vibrant and full of energy. Uzuegbunam Okagbue, served former governor Willie Obiano well. The APGA aspirant hails from Umunnachi, in Dunukofia local government area and comes from a well to do family. Okagbue once worked in Fidelity Bank before he was appointed by Obiano. The young man has endeared himself to the youth in the seven local government areas that make up the Central zone. Political analysts say he would do well in the Senate if he is giving the ticket by his party.

Speaking with The Nation, Okagbue, said his intelligence and commitment would lead him to victory. He said he was confident that APGA would give him the senatorial ticket, adding that the red chamber needed vibrant individuals and no longer old people who had failed the youth

Ubah

The incumbent senator representing Anambra South, won his election in 2019 on the platform of Young Progressives Party YPP to the surprise of everyone in the State. Senator Ifeanyi Ubah floored the Uba brothers (Chief Chris Uba and Senator Andy Uba of PDP and APC respectively.) Ubah’s victory was as a result of his well-grounded grassroots movement with the youth.

He was equally helped by the Catholic Church because he was building Cathedral for the diocese and empowered many people. The senator may find it difficult to retain his seat as a result of his inability to complete the Cathedral Church he promised to build. Again, political observers believe he may be confronted with some challenges due to some electoral promises he is yet to fulfill.

Azubogu

They call him ‘Mr Project’ in Anambra State and currently, represents Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo federal constituency. His name is Hon Chris Azubogu, who is representing his constituents for the third time. The lawmaker has attracted a lot of roads and other amenities not only in his area, but around the entire Anambra State.

He lost the governorship ticket last year in PDP to Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, who came second to Soludo during the election. Azubogu is quite popular in Anambra State and has equally, made name at the House of Representatives and wants to upgrade. The challenge he will face is being accepted in APGA and dislodging any of the party’s faithful in the contest for APGA ticket.

Before the November gubernatorial election, he had joined APC, but changed his mind few months ago by teaming up with APGA. If the party decides to give him its ticket, the lawmaker will be good to go. But he should brace up for serious opposition in the South senatorial zone.

Onunkwo

The young philanthropist has indeed made name in Anambra State by through his youth programmes. He has been showing interest in contesting the governorship election in the State in his party twice. He is one of the foundation members and major financier of the party in Anambra State. The Umuchu, Aguata local government area born politician, has empowered many youth in the State according to political analysts and may give him an edge over others for the ticket.

Many people see him as humble, but some others see him as arrogant and pompous. Political observers say, he should go for House of Representatives ticket instead of the Senate, since age is on his side. If he succeeds in grabbing the party’s ticket in the South, he will have a huge task containing the likes of Ubah of YPP and others.

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