The month will decide the fate of Anambra State, politically as the parties elect the candidates that will fly their flags in the forthcoming governorship election.
Interestingly, some Non Governmental Organizations have been rating the likely candidates of the three major political parties in the election.
Anambra Unity Forum (ANUF) fired the first shot when the body presented two aspirants for the poll.
The body zoomed-in on Anambra North, contending that since the zone already has the incumbent in Dr. Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, it would be fair and just for the two other major political parties to present candidates from that zone.
After consultations with stakeholders across the state, ANUF discovered that more than 80% favoured the current zoning arrangement in the state for the governorship contest, that is, Anambra North should continue in government to enable it complete eight years. Thereafter, Anambra South will take it’s turn of eight years. This goes in line with the Igbo position at the 1994/1995 constitutional conference which emphasized zoning and rotation of political offices as a means to build unity and inclusiveness.
ANUF agreed that each of the candidates for the 2017 election from Anambra North shall undertake to serve only one tenure of four years.
The ANUF assessed the governorship aspirants from Anambra North based on humility; dynamism; passion for good governance; relationship with the masses/grassroots politicians and leaders; level of commitment and strength within their political parties, and experience. Dr. Alex Obiogbolu came first in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, whilst Dr Chike Obidigbo came first in All Progressives Congress, APC.
The group presented the aspirants to their parties as the best governorship materials for the November election, urging maximum support from members.
Against this back drop, the aspirants of the two parties are already horse trading among its aspirants on who would at the end emerge as candidates.
In the PDP, most members are insisting on a real party man who has passed through the party’s internal challenges but remains loyal against all odds. At the moment, the seven aspirants jostling for the PDP ticket with Obiogbolu are Mr Oseloka Obaze , Senator Stella Oduah and Prince John Emeka, all from Anambra North. Oduah is the current senator for the zone. Though it is yet to be seen the underlying current behind the sudden emergence of Oduah who hails from the same Local Government Area with Obaze, Obiogbolu, Obaze and Emeka are the major contenders.
These three gladiators are already shadowing the affairs of the party with their supporters insisting that they make the list of candidates at the end of the day.
It is the belief of most party stakeholders that the Anambra PDP should not allow the show of shame in Edo and Ondo States to repeat itself when the party stakeholders in those states ran at cross purposes to the detriment of the party.
In line with the resolution of the body and in consonance with the demands of the PDP stakeholders, the choice of Obiogbolu appears to be more acceptable.
It is even believed that the choice of a new entrant in the PDP would sentence the party to fresh crisis that may limit the chances of the party’s in the November election.
Many submit that the crisis that rocked the PDP last year was as a result of the imposition of a non-core PDP member as the leader of the party, saying that the PDP is not like other parties where one person is in control, and that a candidate acceptable to most of the major stakeholders will be the key to uniting the party and winning the governorship poll.
Indeed their submission points to their insistence that the only option for the party is Obiogbolu who the party can present comfortably against Obiano, the incumbent. Meanwhile, the confusion in APGA does not speak well of the incumbent who recently obtained his nomination form from the Victor Oye-led executive of the party.
It is alleged that despite the efforts made by Obiano’s foot soldiers to reach out to the Acting National Chairman of APGA, Chief Martin Agbaso, the governor could not obtain the form from him.
Dr. Chike Obidigbo, the third choice of the ANUF-cuts the picture of a man that found himself amid stallions who would not let him pick the ticket of the APC. It is in the light of the above that Anambra North has no option than to back Obiogbolu as its candidate before the second term ambition of the zone becomes history.
By Israel Ugochukwu lives in Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.