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Published On: Tue, Jul 25th, 2017

Anambra 2017 countdown: Plot against Obiano thickens  

 

OBINNA EZUGWU and CHARLES OKEKE (Awka)

 

Four months to the November 18 governorship election, the political landscape in Anambra State is already a beehive of activities. On Wednesday last week, Senator Andy Uba, one of the front line aspirants under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the senator representing Anambra South Zone, picked the party’s form accompanied by about 12 senators in what was a display of federal might, but attention is gradually shifting to the state’s Northern Senatorial Zone as stakeholders insist the zone should be allowed to complete its eight years in the spirit of equity.

Last week, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo alongside other interest groups backed an earlier call by the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council (ASTRC) who had met recently and decided that zoning remained the only way to stem bitter acrimony, stiff competition and waste of funds that trail governorship polls in the state and therefore called on political parties to field only candidates from Anambra North so as to allow them complete their eight years in office.

The state’s president of Ohanaeze, Chief Damian Okeke who took this position at a news conference attended by traditional rulers across the state, as well as town union presidents, argued that it was only fair that the North be allowed to complete eight years.

“We interfaced with traditional rulers, president generals of town unions and members of their respective excos and other stakeholders at the senatorial district levels and the traditional rulers, during which the Obi of Onitsha and chairman of the state Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe presided,” Okeke noted.

“We also consulted the women wing of the town unions, youth leaders and elder statesmen, including former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme and first civilian governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife. After these painstaking consultations, we are happy to announce that the aggregate opinions prescribed that for us to enthrone a stable polity, reduce rancour, mutual suspicion, reduce cost of campaigns for elective political offices and begin to enjoy good governance, we must adopt a zoning formula for critical elective and appointive offices.”

“It was recommended that the governorship seat should be occupied on rotational zonal basis and every zone occupying the seat should be allowed to retain it for eight consecutive years before it should rotate to the next senatorial zone,” he said.

This argument stems from the fact that Anambra South had produced two governors: Chief Emeka Ezeife and Chinweoke Mbadinuju, while the Central produced Senator Chris Ngige, and Mr Peter Obi who ruled for eight years. The current governor, Willie Obiano is from Aguleri in Anambra North, and is the first governor to come from the zone. Going by the position of these stakeholders, the contest may come down to Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA); Tony Nwoye, Dr. Chike Obidigbo, of APC; Oseloka Obaze, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Mr. Ezenwa Nzeribe of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Osita Chidoka of United Progressive Party (UPP).

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Uba; George Moghalu, APC national auditor as well as Barth Nwibe who are notable aspirants from the country’s ruling party are all from the South Senatorial District.

In another development, the Martin Agbaso led faction of APGA, alleged to be sponsored by the APC and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, who had vowed to do whatever it takes to stop Obiano, has intensified effort to halt the governor from emerging the party’s flag bearer.

Recently, Agbaso who was recognized as acting chairman of the party by a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu State, affirmed his position with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and announced August 17 as date for the party’s primary in the state, a move allegedly targeted at stopping Obiano. Nonetheless, Chief Ike Oye, the elected chairman and other state leadership of the party have insisted that it is only through a convention that a national chairman of a party can be changed.

The crisis bedeviling All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA] has deepened with the national chairman,Chief Victor Oye hitting his rival,Chief Martin Agbaso hard with the declaration that Agbaso is allegedly an opportunist and a non member of APGA.

Oye said that nobody has ousted him and that he remains the national chairman of APGA because the judgement of Enugu State High Court which allegedly mandated the INEC and Police to deal with Agbaso as the APGA National leader is not binding on him, more so, he (Oye) was not a party in that case.
Addressing journalists at a forum held in Awka on various issues, including the APGA leadership crisis, Oye alleged that those who are fighting him are the opportunists and that Agbaso has been parading himself wrongly as the National Chairman of the party when nobody is supporting him, adding that based on the provision of the APGA  Constitution, t the only way the national chairman can be removed is through the national convention which will have issues related to the national chairman as the only key agenda.
He stated that the position for now especially as they relate to the leadership crisis is that the contending parties are in court and that based on documents with INEC that the agency is working with his Victor Oye  led group.
“Where we are now is that all us are in court, they are opportunists, INEC works with facts and the only facts in UNEC are our documents”, Oye stressed.
He said Anambra State has been producing the national chairman of APGA because the State is the home of APGA and Anambra has produced an APGA governor.
Oye urged the people of Anambra State to join hands with him and deliver Chief Willie M. Obiano to victory during the coming November,2017 governorship election.
Oye who was flanked by key national officers of APGA including the national organising Secretary, Chief Mike Kwentoh, maintained that Obiano has performed very well and should therefore be re-elected in November.
Throwing his support for re-election of Obiano for another term of four years after the November election,Oye said,
” Anybody who said APGA will not govern Anambra State is an enemy of Ndigbo,no political party can defeat APGA here in 2017 and the performance of the Governor is what has lifted the State to a higher level,we must not miss the opportunity”.
Meanwhile, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has continued to call on his followers, and indeed the people of Anambra to boycott the upcoming election. Kanu who enjoys huge following in the state has visited a number of times over the past few weeks and on each occasion, was received by massive crowd. Some of his followers have begun to embark on campaigns, calling on the people to stay at home on the election day, a move that has drawn the ire of both the governor, and the state’s police command.

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Last week, Governor Obiano warned the pro Biafra group to stay off the state during the election, vowing to arrest anyone who attempts to disrupt the polls.

“We are going to go after them, we will deal with those who said there would be no election in the state decisively,” said.

“People are free to vote candidates of their choice, you can see that in Anambra state today people now sleep with their two eyes closed.”

The state’s Commissioner of police, Garba Umar had earlier issued a statement vowing to “deal decisively with any individual or groups under any guise that will disrupt public peace.”

The commissioner noted that the force would not fold its arms and watch “disgruntled elements truncate the peace in the State which the Law Enforcement Agencies are working assiduously to maintain.”

He called on the populace to disregard the call by IPOB, clarifying that the “election shall hold as scheduled peacefully and successfully.”

Undeterred by these warnings, Kanu visited Nri, believed to be the ancestral home of Ndigbo, on Tuesday last week and maintained that the election be boycotted.

“Biafra would come as a surprise to many if the people cooperate with the blueprint of the leaders of the agitation,” he told a crowd of supporters.

“If you want Biafra to be restored, sit at home on November 18. I am not saying you should fight or take up arms; rather you will see Biafra emerging like the rising sun very soon.”

 

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