It‘s not victory yet in Anambra State. Less than four months to November 6, 2021 governorship election, intrigues and suspense have continued to take the centre stage regarding the authentic candidates in the three leading political parties.
This is threatening the credibility of the coming exercise.
As it is, the governorship primaries that were conducted in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that ordinarily should provide basis for the election proper are now unsettling the parties and raising serious doubts as to whether the will of the electorate would count at the end of the day, going by the desperation that has been introduced into the contest.
Some observers are already in a bet that Anambra may go the way of Imo State in deciding who should be the next governor of the state by the Supreme Court. They have insisted that with the raging controversies and several high court rulings over the rightful candidates produced by the primaries of the leading political parties, the Supreme Court will certainly have a final say should any of the parties eventually win the process as the cases have the potential of getting to the apex court being pre-election cases. It is more so as the combatants are not ready to blink an eye until all legal possibilities are exhausted.
In the ruling APGA in the state, it is still being contemplated how far the trio of former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who emerged as candidate from the primary conducted by the Chief Victor Oye leadership of the party; House of Representatives member, Chukwuma Umeoji, who was elected from the primary conducted by Jude Okeke faction as well as Edozien Njoku that emerged as candidate from the faction that he leads in the party, would go to authenticate their candidacy.
In the PDP, a former member of the National Assembly, Dr Ugochukwu Uba who emerged from the primary conducted by Chukwudi Umeaba faction of the party is squaring up former President of Transcorp Plc, Valentine Ozigbo over recognition that is at the mercy of the courts. At the APC, former Senator, Andy Uba is still contending with the party’s aspirants whom he maneuvered to become the “candidate”. The aspirants have refused to accept him as their candidate in the election, despite the stance of some chieftains of the party at the national level.
Last week however, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had attempted to call the truce in the convoluted governorship race when it published the list of candidates of the various political parties that could contest the election.
The list surprisingly contained the name of Umeoji as the flag bearer for the APGA; Andy Uba for the APC while no name was listed for the PDP among others.
That was another window of contention as no sooner were the names published than the combatants headed for the courts in Anambra, to either sustain the list or encumber the Commission from continuing to deal with the names contained in their list, except the one approved by the courts in their favour.
It needed to be seen how counsel to the various contenders from the three political parties swooped on the courts on Monday, July 19, to reverse the INEC list. It was a busy day for Journalists in Awka, as they ran from one court to another in an attempt to obtain orders and counter orders given by the presiding judges about the rightful candidates. One after the other, Soludo, Ozigbo and Uba had run out from the courts clutching various judgments in their favour.
Soludo, who had dragged the trio of Umeoji, Jude Okeke and Edozien Njoku before Justice Peter Okaa over the authentic governorship candidate produced by the APGA got the court’s order in his favour.
Justice Okaa had reaffirmed him as the candidate of the party and ordered the INEC to immediately publish his name, while restraining Umeoji, Okeke and Njoku from claiming to represent the party. Okaa, who described as “meddlesome interlopers” Umeoji, Okeke and Njoku, insisted that Oye remained the authentic National Chairman of the party.
Moments after Soludo got his reprieve, another Federal High Court in Awka, had ordered the INEC to accept and publish Ozigbo as candidate of the PDP for the governorship election.
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