Anambra 2017: Nwoye’s defection resets plans

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Chief Tony Nwoye
Chief Tony Nwoye

Medical doctor, politician and former student activist, Dr. Tony Nwoye’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC, is laced with much intrigues that could soon inflame the political landscape in his native Anambra State, Vincent Ujumadu wites for Vanguard...

When the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and other top officials of the PDP vowed to unseat Dr. Nwoye in the House of Representatives, it only reflected the hostility Nwoye had felt in his dealings with his former party. Recall that Nwoye became the Anambra State chairman of PDP in 2006 and due to his political sagacity and mobilization prowess, his leadership produced all the 30 members of the Anambra State House of Assembly, the three senators, 10 out of the 11 members of the House of Representatives and the state governor.

Indeed, the primaries conducted under Nwoye’s watch are still adjudged as the only free, fair and credible primaries of PDP since the present democratic dispensation. During that primaries, there was no rancor as all the candidates that emerged campaigned freely and PDP won almost all elective offices then.

But instead of rewarding his hard work, Nwoye faced conspiracies from various quarters, culminating into his being removed as the state party chairman of the party even before the expiration of his tenure. In 2011, Nwoye contested and won election into the House of Representatives to represent Anambra East and Anambra West constituency without the support and backing of his party, the PDP.

However, because of the parallel primaries deliberately conducted to undermine him, Nwoye was not sworn-in as a member of House of Representatives that year. Again in 2013, he contested the governorship primary of PDP along with such notable contestants like Dr. Andy Ubah and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and won. Vanguard recalls that before that primary, there was an understanding among the contestants and the party hierarchy, that whoever emerged as candidate must be supported by the rest.

His emergence as the PDP governorship candidate after the primaries apparently came as a rude shock to other contestants and subsequently triggered conspiracies and sponsored litigations by chieftains of the party in contravention of the earlier undertaking. In fact, due to litigations and deliberate efforts by the PDP leadership, Nwoye could not campaign until 10 days to the election.

Besides, there was no formal presentation of the PDP candidate to the electorate by the party, neither was there financial or materials support to him. Those who were present at the Holy Trinity field in Onitsha where the PDP campaign flag off took place never forgot in a hurry, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s statement urging Anambra people to vote according to their conscience for the governorship election, even when his party’s governorship candidate, Tony Nwoye, was there in the field.

It was alleged that there was an agreement between the leadership of APGA and PDP that the PDP would leave Anambra State governorship for APGA, while APGA would support Dr. Jonathan for the PDP presidential election. Some supporters of Nwoye recalled that before the infamous flag off at Onitsha, the party was busy extorting money from its candidate. A chieftain of the party confided in Vanguard that the party collected N30 million from Nwoye on the flag-off day, as a condition for party chieftains from the national headquarters to show presence in Onitsha.

After the governorship election, due to the irregularities that took place, Nwoye went to the tribunal and, again the party did not show any interest or concern. Instead, negative comments aimed as frustrating the case were dished out by the party chieftains. In spite of the obstacles created for him in the party, Nwoye still kept faith with PDP. In 2015 when Nwoye wanted to contest for the House of Representatives election, he was surprisingly advised by the national leadership of the party not to contest because, as was the case during the governorship election, the Anambra East and West Constituency was reserved for Governor Willie Obiano who is from the same constituency.

The bargain was that the governor would in turn, support the then President Goodluck Jonathan for his second tenure. When Nwoye insisted on contesting based on pressure from his people, he was again abandoned by the party which even created hurdles for him such that on the day of the election, he was seriously attacked and some of his campaign vehicles were seriously vandalized. Again, his party, PDP, did not show any concern.

During the collation of the results of the poll, the entire results from his home town, Nsugbe were removed, as some of his supporters said, to enable the APGA candidate to emerge. Not satisfied with the outcome, he proceeded to the election petition tribunal to seek the inclusion of the results of the two wards in Nsugbe. Again before going to the tribunal, he consulted the party leadership, but the party declined to be involved. Nevertheless, he went to the tribunal without PDP legal representation, which could have lent more weight to the suit.

Rather, what he experienced were negative comments, and subsequently, expulsion through the state leadership headed by Prince Ken Emeakayi and the national publicity secretary, Chief Olisah Metuh. Despite the tribulations, Nwoye still felt that Anambra PDP could be salvaged and he advised that the only way to strengthen the party and unify it was to conduct credible congresses at all levels. His advice was not heeded; hence, the traditional method of writing lists as seen in the last exercise that produced three parallel leadership of the party, with resultant litigations and counter litigations.

It is therefore not surprising that Nwoye had to succumb to the pressure from his supporters across the state to leave PDP and join the APC. Shortly after his defection last week, there was jubilation by his supporters in all parts of Anambra State. Some of the people who spoke said PDP supporters had been taken for a ride for too long, adding that enough is enough. With the 2017 governorship election in Anambra State drawing near, speculations are rife that Nwoye might contest the next governorship election on the platform of APC.

Though Nwoye declined to discuss the issue of 2017 governorship poll, he said his main concern is to empower his constituents who have remained faithful to him even during difficult situations.

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