The 2015 National Assembly election has come and gone, leaving in its wake numerous victims and casualties in the South East geo-political zone of the country with many serving federal lawmakers failing to book a return ticket to the Red Chamber in Abuja. Besides serving federal legislatures, there are prominent politicians in the region who wanted to join the National Assembly but failed to have their aspiration fulfilled. In this report Hallmark provides insights into the Very Important Personalities in the South East, who like Niger State governor, AlhajiAliyiuBabangida, his Bauchi counterpart, IsahYuguda, former Kaduna State governor, Alhaji Ahmed Markafi and few others who failed to realize their ambitions of either retaining their National Assembly seats or joining the National Assembly.
Certainly, the biggest loser in Imo State following the abysmal performance of APC in the National Assembly election is Chief Ben Uwajumogu, who is the Speaker Imo House of Assembly. Uwajumogu who has tried severally in the past to go to the Federal House of Representatives on the platform of PDP but failed, eventually made it to the Imo House to represent IhitteUboma State Constituency in 2011. After RochasOkorocha was elected governor, Uwajumogu dumped PDP for APGA and was subsequently elected as the Speaker.
While serving as the Speaker, Governor Okorocha convinced him and few others on the need to defect over to the newly formed APC. As the Speaker, Uwajumogu empowered youths of his area and he was commended for a job well done. To this effect, he nursed the ambition of going to the Senate to represent Okigwe Senatorial zone but his dream was truncated by the massive support enjoyed by Chief AthanAchonu, popularly known as One Arm General. Based on how events finally played out in Imo state, Uwajumogu may be made a minister if Okorocha returns as governor, but may lose all if the governor fails because he will grab the ministerial nomination for Imo state.
He is a reputable lawyer and human rights activist. It is on record that he was one of the lawyers that did their best to defend Chief Ken SaroWiwa, but failed as the Ogoni Environmentalist was gruesomely hanged by the Nigerian military junta in 1995. At the dawn of civil rule in Nigeria, Onyeagocha joined politics and in 2003 when APGA came on stream; he contested and won a seat in the House of Representatives to represent Owerri Federal Constituency. Since then, he has been in the opposition. Following irreconcilable differences in the rank and file of APGA, he decamped to ACN and finally APC, the party on which platform he contested and lost the Owerri senatorial seat to Chief Sam Daddy Anaynwu of the PDP.
By all standards, he is a refined gentleman and an upwardly mobile politician who believes in constitutionalism, internal democracy, discourse and superior argument. When Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe looked unstoppable as he continuously won the Orlu Senatorial seat, it was Osita that stopped him in 2007, when he was even serving the Senator as private assistant. He therefore represented Orlu zone in the Senate between 2007 and 2011, when he also lost the seat to Chief Hope Uzodimma who equally defeated him again this autumn.
All who knew his effective representation and quality delivery at the House of Representatives and the dividends of democracy he brought home to the Aba North and South federal constituency are still shocked that he never succeeded in his re-election bid. It was said that his failure was made possible by the hatred of PDP by Aba residents and indigenes. Azubuike was defeated by Ossy Prestige of APGA the same way he (Azubuike) defeated NnannaUzorKalu in 2011.
No matter how you look at it, Ngige is the biggest casualty of the APC’s defeat in Anambra State as shown by the result of March 28, 2015 National Assembly elections. Ngige is a former governor of the state and has been a Senator since 2011. Last year, he re-contested the governorship of the state but lost to eventual winner, Governor Willie Obiano. He once again made a spirited move to go to the Senate for the second time, but he was defeated by UcheEkwunife who also humbled Chief Victor Umeh in the race for the Anambra Central Senatorial zone. Surely, it may not be completely over for Ngige as he is a potential minister designate.
Not many national commentators really predicted rightly that Umeh, the loquacious APGA national chairman would lose his Anambra senatorial ambition to Lady Ekwunife. Almost all the opinion molders gave it to the big APGA man, considering the fact that the state is controlled by APGA structure even as Umeh is known as a courageous fighter and a man who can hold his own. With the crash of President Jonathan Goodluck and the eventual fall of the PDP as the ruling party just as Umeh is no longer the APGA boss, the Anambra born politician may not have his footing again. Or can he bounce back?
Given his impressive record at the National Communication Commission, NCC, Ndukwe, a renowned technocrat, was tipped to win the Anambra south senatorial seat, but he lost to Senator Andy Ubah who has been in the Senate for more than eight years now. Ndukwe ran a massive campaign and made speeches that endeared him to the voters but Ubah employed the all conquering PDP machine and his intimidating war chest to muzzle him out of the battle.
The name Tobias Okwuru, for sure is not a household name in South East politics, but he is one of the diehard supporters of Governor Martin Elechi. He represents Ezza South/Ikpo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. He actually went to Abuja on the platform of the PDP, but as the umbrella party failed to give him a ticket to re-contest, he defected to the Labour Party, the platform on which most of Elechi’s supporters joined after the controversial PDP primaries in the state. Unfortunately for Okwuru, he lost and it is not yet certain what will be his next line of action.
Stories by ORI MARTINS