Thisday scrutinises the electoral prospects of aspirants seeking the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress in Anambra State
The November governorship election in Anambra State will be unique for many reasons, but for the All Progressives Congress (APC), the uniqueness would be perhaps the number of quality aspirants that have crowded the party to run on its ticket this time. Anambra is one state that is known to have tagged the APC, since its formation, as a Northern party, thereby making an average indigene of the state distance himself from the party. Only a few with personal conviction, and others who are diehard supporters of some bigwigs in the party remained with the party all through. Also, it was rare to find an array of fine gentlemen, running for governorship position on the APC platform in Anambra.
The seeming unpopularity of the party then made it open to its leader in the state, Dr Chris Ngige to run on the platform unchallenged in every election. Today, the story has changed as quality aspirants rooting to govern the state are seeking the ticket of the party for the election.
A reliable member of the party, Mr Arinze Igboeli, who is a zonal publicity secretary of APC in Anambra State told Thisday that so far, there are 14 governorship aspirants jostling to win the ticket of the party for the November election. Arinze said that what was fascinating is that all the aspirants are good materials for the election, adding that the number was a clear testimony of the level of acceptance the party has attained in the state.
Barr Ben Etiaba, a lawyer and son of Anambra’s former Deputy Governor, Dame Virgy Etiaba, who later acted as governor for three months in 2006, after the governor, Mr Peter Obi was impeached. Etiaba is not known to be so much of a politician, at least in the context of Nigerian politics where many take it to be an occupation. He is however known to be brainy and full of ideas , which is his major advantage in the race, but sources say he lacks the financial muscle to execute the primary election, not to talk of the main election. A party source who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity said, “Not all our aspirants are serious. Some of them are contesting on the internet, and Etiaba is one of them.” The lawyer is running for the governorship seat, alongside two of his younger brothers, Emeka Etiaba; a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirant and Echezona Etiaba in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Dr Amobi Nwokafor is an indigene of Awka in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State. A seasoned accountant with over 31 years work experience in the accounting profession. A member of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Institute of chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), fellow of chartered of institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) and member of a Chartered institute of Arbitrators (ACIArb), Nwokafor even with his zeal to serve the state has been described as a green horn politician. Though a perfect gentleman, he is a naïve politician, who may be swallowed in the horse-trading and high power maneuvers that come with politics
Hon Azuka Okwuosa, an Oraifite, Ekwusigo LGA born engineer, he is among the few in the race who can be described as thorough grassroot politician. He advanced in politics through the ranks and was thought by some of the best politicians, including late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Okwuosa, popularly called ‘Zukky’ by his supporters has been a local government chairman, a commissioner and has worked as Director General of campaign organizations for governorship candidates. He is very experienced, and regarded by many as the man for APC. Beyond his experience in politics, his major selling points are his acceptability at the grassroot, his ability to finance his own election without waiting for fundraisers and his consistency in APC. He has received several endorsements from groups and individuals.
Dr George Moghalu: He is currently the Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA). A perfect gentleman, and very experienced in Anambra politics. He made previous attempts to govern the state but failed. He hails from Nnewi in the southern part of the state and his biggest advantage is his consistency in party politics. Moghalu is a foundation member of APC, and has since remained in the party, after joining the party from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He is said to have a close relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, especially after working with him in his previous party, before the formation of APC, and may use his relationship with the president in the election.
Paul Orajiaka: An entrepreneur and a self made man, Orajiaka is one of the men who will be slugging it out with others in June for the APC ticket. He is highly rated among the aspirants, and believed to be sincere and straightforward. His education is an advantage to his aspiration. He is young and rich, but he can be considered to be an unknown in the state, especially in the area of politics.
Dr Chidozie Nwankwo is a businessman who has business interest in many countries across the world. He hails from Oko in Orumba North LGA, and can best be described as a rookie politician. He is known to be very rich, and in a state like Anambra where the power of money cannot be ruled out, Nwankwo is considered to be a top contender in the primary election. He is the Chairman CEO of Witchtech Industries, makers of a range of building materials, and also known to be a preacher of the gospel. He told THISDAY in an interview that his choice of party was based on a revelation he had, which shows that the APC would form the next government in Anambra State. He added, “I have chains of businesses across the world, and I know my businesses will suffer when I become the governor, but I don’t mind, if only we fix Anambra first.” It was gathered that some aspirants were already fidgety about his entry into the race, and had made accusations about billionaires joining the race, with intention to buy the ticket of the party. He will rely on his wealth in the election.
Engr Johnbosco Onunkwo: Young, suave, showy and debonair Anambra politician. Even though he is still in his early 40s, Onunkwo has made several attempts to govern Anambra State, and his many attempts have qualified him as a veteran contender. Once an election is around the corner, his supporters do not need to be told that he will vie as they simply begin to canvass support for him. He is a politician that cannot be underrated, but many insist that his attempt to govern the state may be a demonstration of over-ambition, especially as he is not known to have held any public office, or had experience in that area. It is for this reason that many consider him a pretender, rather than a contender.
Senator Andy Uba’s name rings a bell, not only in Anambra State, but in the entire country. He was presidential aide, two term senator and has garnered enough experience on the running of government. In 2007, Uba was governor for 17 days, after he won the governorship election of that year overwhelmingly. He was however removed by the court to allow Mr Peter Obi complete his tenure. While many believe that the ticket of the APC cannot go to anyone else, considering the fact that he is a dogged fighter, others have said that there is already an agreement that Uba should fly the ticket of the APC for the election. Those who hold the later view, say the party considered many factors before settling for Uba, including looking out for a candidate that will be able to match both the PDP which has an overwhelming popularity in the state, and the APGA, which is the ruling party. For many reasons, the odds favour Uba for the ticket, including his very deep pocket, his connection in the corridors of power and his popularity among the people, most of who he is said to have touched through his philanthropy. He is the only aspirant who showed proof of having purchased the party’s forms, at a time when the party was lamenting that no aspirant was forthcoming. He is coming to the race very equipped.
Geoff Onyejekwe: Onyejegbu is from Ichi in Ekwusigo Local Government Area. He was acting GOC 2nd Mechanised Division of Nigeria Army. He was a Military Diplomat Attachee to Washington DC. He was a governorship aspirant in 2010, and also contested for a seat in the senate in 2019. He is said to have made contributions in sustaining APC in Anambra State, but his popularity among members of the party is in doubt.
Edozie Madu: is the former National Chairman of Independent Democrats (ID), and presidential candidate of the same party. He joined APC in 2020. He is known to be a thoroughbred politician. Although he is not popular in the party, owing to his recent entry, some political analyst believe that he is in the race with new tactics, which may include getting endorsement from the party at the national level.