David-Chuddy Eleke writes that the political momentum in Anambra State is on the upward swing as politicians have started positioning themselves for selection as governorship candidate of different political parties, in readiness for the election in November 2021.
Prof. Chukwuma Soludo
He doesn’t need any introduction in Nigeria. His tenure at the Central Bank of Nigeria was marked by a lot of ground breaking innovations. He is not afraid of challenges. In 2010, he took a shot at the apex seat in Anambra, but lost to Mr. Peter Obi who was seeking reelection then.
In that election, Soludo launched his blueprint for Anambra tagged; ‘African-Dubai-Taiwan’. In that proposal, he argued that it was easy to turn Anambra into Africa’s Dubai/Taiwan. He marshaled out methods by which this could be achieved. Sadly, he did not make it. Not because Anambra People doubted his ability to make this happen, but many said he contested on the platform of the wrong party then; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). At that time, the state had not come out of the multiple trauma experienced during the reign of former governors Mbadinuju and Ngige, who were both of the PDP. Under them, Anambra suffered a lot of setback.
Soludo hails from Anambra South, and is touted to be the most favoured aspirant for the ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
A current senator representing Anambra Central zone, Ekwunife has become known in Anambra politics as the woman who holds the magic wand. Nothing is impossible with her. Though many have argued that a state like Anambra may be difficult for a woman to govern, Ekwunife has proven beyond doubt that she is a woman who is equal to men.
Her recent victory in the Anambra Central senatorial election, where she vied against a known candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh and won is also an indication that she is popular in the state.
Ekwunife is not new to governorship contests. In 2010, she had contested for the governorship position of the state, while holding the position of a member of House of Representatives. Though she did not win, she created a huge impression on many, contesting on the platform of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA). She has also acquired the reputation of a veteran governorship contender, and one can predict that she would contest the forthcoming election. She is a member of the PDP.
He is a household name, and mostly known for his sterling performance during his days as the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC). He was also a Minister of Aviation under President Goodluck Jonathan, and known to have pioneered several changes in the nation’s aviation industry.
Chidoka is young, very outspoken, well connected, with a brain bursting with ideas. He is very well loved among the people of the state. He hails from Obosi in Idemili North local government area, which falls in the Central Senatorial zone of the state.
He contested the governorship position in 2017 on the platform of the United Progressive Party (UPP). Though running on the podium of a new and little known party, Chidoka was able to galvanise support for the party and performed well in the election. He will, this time, be contesting on the platform of the PDP, which is his original party. Sources hinted that because of a seeming resolve of the leaders of the party in Anambra to favour a candidate from the Southern Zone, Chidoka has taken his quest to Abuja, and has been relating very well with the leaders of the party at the national level. He is an influential member of the PDP.
Obiora Okonkwo hails from the Central zone of the state. He is of the PDP and also a business mogul who has over the years impacted on the lives of young people in the state through his philanthropy.
He has, before now, contested the governorship position of the state, and also tested the waters as a senatorial candidate but has not made a headway. Sources have it that he is also positioning himself for governorship the ticket of the party.
Godwin Maduka is rich a medical doctor based in Las Vegas, USA, where he has his Las Vegas Pain Institute. Single handedly, Maduka who hails from a border community in Anambra, Umuchukwu has turned around the fortunes of his community for good, providing several amenities in the community to the extent of engineering a change of name from the Nkerehi that it has been known for hundreds of years to Umuchukwu.
Maduka who is of the APGA, a source hinted, is making preparations for the election, but may face a stumbling block in the leadership of the party who, it is learnt, does not favour his pride. He is also said not to be in good terms with the leadership of the party because of his role during the last general election when he joined the wife of the late leader of the party, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu to attack the national chairman, Dr. Victor Oye.
He is a grassroots politician. He is a lawmaker in the House of Representatives and very much loved by his people. He is known to be a silent operator, and had previously been a member of the PDP before moving to the APGA recently. His political calculation in the state has never gone wrong, no matter the political party he belongs.
His quest for the governorship position of the state may be hinged on the fact that APGA has stated clearly that it favours the Southern senatorial zone for the governorship position. His membership of the APGA and his sagacity in politics are factors that brighten his chances for the position. It is also gathered that he is favoured by the hierarchy of the party for the ticket of the party.
Azubogu is a serving member of the House of Representatives where he represents Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ekwusigo Federal Constituency for the second time. He hails from Anambra South zone of the state, which is favoured to produce the governor. Azubogu cuts the picture of a level headed politician who is loved across party lines. He may also be a good politician who the godfathers may support. Sources within the party have also stated that Azubogu is most favoured for the PDP ticket.
A likeable gentleman, suave in dressing, smooth in looks, highly intelligent and a great orator, Muoghalu is from Nnewi in Anambra South Zone. He is a staunch member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) where he holds the position of the National Auditor of the party. He is known to be consistent in his brand of politics and has almost remained a member of one political party, all his political career.
He joined APC during the merger from the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), where he was an ally of President Muhammadu Buhari. His faithfulness to the propagation of the APC in Anambra gave rise to the rumour that he was penciled down for a ministerial appointment recently, but when the list was made public, his name was missing.
A source said that leaving him out as one of the ministerial nominees was deliberate as he was being prepared for the governorship position in Anambra by the party. Though his party is very unpopular in the state, the recent charge from the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo during a roundtable interactive session in the state, urging members of the party in the state to work hard to win the state has also strengthened its members, and they may put up a good fight, this time.
A known philanthropist, business mogul and politician, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo is not new in governorship contests in the state. In 2014, Ezeemo under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) staged a surprise when he almost snatched the governorship ticket of the party from Dr. Chris Ngige, who then was the face of the party and its leader in the state. He was however denied the ticket by the leadership of the party, but the magic he deployed to beat Ngige was not lost on many. He moved to Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), where he became the leader and financier of the party and also flew its governorship flag that year.
Ezeemo also flew the governorship flag of PPA again in 2017 before moving to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Many think that Ezeemo who did very well in 2017 when he was still in a small party, and also contested against the zoning formula in the state which favoured a northern candidate as against his southern root would spring a surprise this time in a bigger party, and also having the state’s zoning arrangement working for him.
He will contest on the platform of the PDP, if he eventually decides.
Since he first threw his hat in the ring for the Anambra governorship contest in 2007, Senator Andy Uba has never left anyone in doubt that he has his eyes on that position. He had the opportunity to taste the governorship seat for 17 days in 2007 after he ‘overwhelmingly’ won the election then, before it was upturned by the court, to give Mr. Peter Obi who had only been sworn in, in 2006 for an election he won in 2003, the chance to complete his four-year term.
Uba flew a kite of being a governor-in-waiting in 2010, after Obi completed his first term. He insisted that having won the 2007 governorship election, but was removed by court for Obi to complete his term, there should not to be any election, rather, he should be sworn in. Again, the court determined the matter, insisting that they ought not to have been an election in 2007, meaning that his election was a nullity; moreover, Obi who was already rounding off his first term had the right to contest for reelection. The election was held, and Obi defeated other candidates, including Uba who had contested on the platform of the Labour Party.
The former presidential aide to President Olusegun Obasanjo can pass for a veteran election contender. He has also vied twice for the office, after his initial loss. He missed nomination in his new party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2017, when he lost to Dr. Tony Nwoye. Uba hails from Anambra South Zone of the state, which is favoured in the coming contest. He may most likely contest on the platform of APC.
Dr. Vincent Okpala
It is believed that Dr. Vincent Okpala, recently sworn in as the new Health Commissioner, has been brought in by Governor Willie Obiano to understudy governance, in the hope that he may be favoured with the governorship ticket of the APGA. Okpala is virtually unknown in the politics of Anambra. But the rumour in town is that he may fly the flag of the APGA. That rumour has, however, not been authenticated. He is from Anambra South zone.
Sen Ifeanyi Ubah
Since 2010 when this oil mogul ventured into the political contest, he has remained a veteran contender, and has consistently vied in every governorship election in the state.
Ubah has contested previously both at primary election, state and the general election on the platform of the PDP, APGA, HDP and LP. Today, he is the senator representing Anambra South zone of the state on the platform of Young Progressive Party (YPP). It may not be wrong to say that Ubah will contest the forthcoming governorship election, what is not clear yet is the political party platform on which he will contest as the YPP may not be a strong vehicle to actualize his governorship ambition.
Meanwhile, many believe that if he could win the Uba brothers who contested the senatorial election against him on the platform of the APC and the PDP, he may yet spring another surprise contesting on the platform of the little known YPP.