Is APC Ready To Be Counted In Anambra?


Is APC ready to be counted in Anambra?

Stakeholders have urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to organise a free, fair and transparent primary to select a candidate that would appeal to voters in Anambra State during the November 6 governorship election. The party’s performances in previous elections were blighted by internal wrangling and pursuit of selfish interests by chieftains. Southeast Bureau Chief NWANOSIKE ONU reports
Going by the current state of the parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has an uphill task in its quest the win the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State. In the chapter, 11 aspirants have lined up to succeed Governor Willie Obiano, whose second term would elapse on March 17, next year. They are the Managing Director of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Agency (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu; Senator Andy Uba; an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, Comrade Maxwell Okoye; a former commissioner, Sir Azuka Okwuosa; Johnbosco Onunkwo, and an Anglican cleric and former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroluem Corporation (NNPC), Rev Godwin Okonkwo.

But, the question many people keep asking is, how ready is the APC to compete with the other two parties? Its Acting Chairman, Sir Basil Ejidike, believes the party is prepared to clinch the seat. He said the problem the party had before was infighting and that, “by the grace of God” that problem has been surmounted.

But, observers maintain that the APC, being an amalgam of different groups, will find it difficult to agree and present a united front during the election. The battle for the party’s ticket has begun, with many of the contenders touring various wards and local governments to canvass for votes.

The APC’s primary has been scheduled to hold June 26, a day after that of the PDP, to choose its flag bearer for the contest.

In spite of the big names the party parades, observers believe that it will take time for the chapter to become accepted in Anambra State, because its two main opponents, the PDP and the APGA, are well entrenched in the state. Besides, the perception of the people about the performance of the APC at the national level is not a positive one. Therefore, the general feeling is that voting for the party in Anambra would be suicidal.

The party was set to make history in 2017 when it fielded Dr Tony Nwoye as its flag bearer. But, members ganged up against him. For inexplicable reasons, they were determined not to allow Nwoye to become governor. As a result, chieftains teamed up with APGA to deliver Obiano for second term.

It was gathered that the party’s top brass was not comfortable with Nwoye’s candidature.

What has changed in 2021? The APC appears to have witnessed some changes within its organisational structure, with a new executive at the helms, led by Sir Basil Ejidike. However, there is internal wrangling within the fold. For instance, there are powerful elements in the party that are not comfortable with the executive committee, led by Ejidike and may not allow the leadership to work freely because of selfish interests.

Though the party has not come out openly to state its position on zoning, the body language of the national leadership suggests that it wants the position to be thrown open. But, some of the aspirants want it to be zoned to Anambra South. To buttress this point, a good number of the aspirants are from the South. They are Senator Andy Uba, Azuka Okwuosa, Johnbosco Onunkwo, Rev Godwin Okonkwo and Chief George Moghalu.

The two persons from outside that zone contesting for the ticket are Okoye and Chief Amobi Nwokeafor.

A group, the Conference of ex-National and State Assembly Lawmakers told The Nation that it is tired of recycled people in the politics of Anambra and that they are looking for ‘virgin politicians’ that can add something refreshing to the polity. Osy Egwuatu, who represented Awka North and South Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, said the focal point of the group is to make sure that the APC wins the election. He said: “They have to start by delivering the party’s candidate in the federal constituency first.”

For Rev Okonkwo, one of the aspirants from Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government, Anambra South, members of the APC have to believe in themselves first. He said the state cannot achieve much without being connected to the centre. He said the aim of the APC is to sweep APGA out of the Government House and by extension, the state.

Okoye, who hails from Nibo, Awka South Local Government Area, in Anambra Central, has become the cynosure of all eyes. He said the APC’s chances of winning the poll are brighter than those of the other parties.

He said zoning is only applicable at the national level and that there is nothing like that in Anambra politics. The aspirant said, however, that it is imperative for the party to conduct a free, fair and transparent primary and select the best candidate for it to be in a position to win the election.

The party parades an array of political heavyweights. But, it is being bogged down by internal wranglings and pursuit of selfish interests. “That is what has made it difficult for the APC to make serious impact during elections in Anambra State,” he added.

Another party chieftain, Chief Modestus Umenzekwe said the party has started serious mobilization ahead of the election. He said the APC has a very good chance to win in the forthcoming election in November and that if the party fails to win, it will be difficult for it to do so in the future.

Despite the large number of people that have declared interest to contest the governorship on the platform of the APC, it is only about six had obtained the forms. Some of them are skeptical about winning the election on the party’s platform, because people in the Southeast still believe it will be difficult for the party to win elections in the region.

Moreover, opposition parties are capitalizing on the general perception of the people that the APC is responsible for why things are not moving forward in the country.

Umenzekwe added that the election is the right time for the APC to win Anambra State. He said the Federal Government has done well for Ndigbo and that the non-appointment of people of Igbo extraction into key positions is nothing compared to infrastructural development the administration has brought in the region.

The APC chieftain listed some of the infrastructural projects in the Southeast as the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, the Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway, the Second Niger Bridge that will be completed in 2022, the Oba-Nnewi-Arondiuzogu-Okigwe Road among others.

He said Ndigbo has benefitted from the Muhammadu Buhari administration and that this is the time to repay the government by patronizing the APC in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.

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