July 26, (THEWILL) – The All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) are all grappling with internal crises, ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State.
Elections in Anambra have been a three-horse race so far, as both the PDP and the APC have tried in vain to wrest power from the APGA as the dominant political party.
Anambra is the only state outside the control of either APC or PDP in the South-East. However, if the events of the last few weeks were to be the yardstick to determine who wins the forthcoming governorship election, the state could well be out of the reach of the two major parties for the umpteenth time.
Two primaries were conducted by the two splinter groups within the PDP in Anambra: The Ejike Oguebego-led faction, which is supported by Chris Uba, and the Ndubuisi Nwobu-led group.
While Senator Ugochukwu Uba emerged as the winner in Oguebego’s group, Valentine Ozigbo emerged as the candidate of the Nwobu faction.
Although Ozigbo appears to be the choice of the mainstream PDP, the fact that the party is split into two factions could affect its chances of winning the governorship election scheduled for November. Perhaps, it was this confusion about who is the authentic candidate of the party that made the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to omit the PDP when it announced the names of candidates representing each of the parties at the election.
APC: Ngige vs Andy Uba
Despite having only one candidate so far, the APC is also having its own baggage of woes. Senator Andy Uba emerged as the candidate of the party in the election conducted by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has disputed the election, saying that the election did not take place.
Soludo and crisis-ridden APGA
The APGA is also having its fair share of internal problems. Like the two other parties, it is currently embroiled in a crisis ignited by the emergence of two factions. Although Prof Charles Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, emerged as the candidate of the Oye-led faction, which is recognised by INEC, the crisis within the party has reached a point where a court pronouncement is required to end it.
The dark horse
There is an indication that a dark horse may emerge from the Anambra governorship election. In this case, some pundits claim, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, representing Anambra South Senatorial District, is likely to be the one.
Although Ubah is the candidate of the Young Progressives Party, a relatively small party at that, they argue, he has the capacity to be a dark horse. At the 2019 general election, he defeated incumbent, Andy Uba, alongside Chris Uba and others.
While the governorship election is a different ball game entirely, as it stands, all the candidates of the major parties are from Anambra South. Just as Prof Soludo has the APGA structure, Val Ozigbo/Sen Ugochukwu will have the PDP and former governor Peter Obi structures, while the APC can count on federal support and other advantages.
However, these other parties are battling with internal wrangling, some with cases in courts.
Speaking on the current situation and possibility of a dark horse emerging, Achilles-Chud Uchegbu a senior journalist, says everything is possible in the coming elections. The outcome of the governorship election, he adds, will depend on how the masses view the dark horse in the race.
“The crisis rocking the political parties are not insurmountable. This is Anambra politics,” he says.
Rotation among the three senatorial districts has been a major part of the politics of Anambra State since 1999. The chances of any of the candidates emerging victorious will depend on how they are able to garner votes outside their senatorial districts, as all the major contenders are from the same zone.
APGA will be counting on the incumbent governor Willie Obiano to deliver Anambra South, while Chris Ngige and Peter Obi will have to battle it out in Anambra Central.
Interestingly, almost all the players are familiar faces. Obiano and Obi, once political allies turned enemies, will continue their battle for supremacy.
Obi paved the way for Obiano to emerge as his successor, but their relationship turned sour almost as soon as Obiano assumed office. The last battle ended in favour of the incumbent who defeated Obaze the PDP candidate in the 2017 governorship poll.
The Uba brothers connection
The three Uba brothers, Chris, Andy and Ugochukwu, are all involved in the governorship election. Andy and Ugochukwu, both former members of the National Assembly, are candidates of the APC and PDP (factional candidate), respectively. The other Uba, Chris, backs the PDP faction that produced Sen Ugocbukwu as its governorship candidate.
It would be recalled that Chris Uba was the political godfather that gave Chris Ngige certain stringent conditions in 2003 and the alleged mastermind of a subsequent plot to kidnap the labour minister when he was still a sitting governor of Anambra State.
Andy Uba was governor of the state for 17 days before a Supreme Court judgment removed him from office in June 14, 2007. He was replaced by Peter Obi.
It is now a four-man horse race for the governorship position in Anambra State. The battle is fast approaching. Are the gladiators ready?