From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu is right now meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa,Abuja. The minister who wore black suit arrived the Villa at about 11:35am and we t straight to the President’s office. Kachikwu’s letter to the President in which he alleged gross…
For reasons that were obvious, the people of the South East were skeptical in embracing the All Progressive Congress (APC) when it hit town in the run up to the 2015 general elections. But being republican in nature and liberal in attitude, some Igbo leaders have since signed up with the party. Unfortunately, the issues that propelled Ndigbo to treat APC with suspicion have stubbornly refused to go away. If you ask any Igbo man in the street today, he will tell you that the marginalisation of the race has taken a life of its own in the APC led government of Muhammadu Buhari. This, of course, has made it germane for APC to work even harder to win the trust of Ndigbo if it hopes to make any impact in the South East in 2019.
However, events in the last few weeks do not suggest that APC is really conscious of dislodging PDP out of the South East. If anything, there appears to be an orchestrated plan to keep the party away from the region. And this has negative consequences given the fact that both the PDP and APGA and even UPP have continued to make inroads into the South East with a view to either consolidating or, at best, registering a presence. In Imo State, Governor Rochas Okorocha is having a hard run with the populace, given some hard decisions he has taken that appear unpopular on face value. In Abia state, suspicion rules in the APC. In Ebonyi, two factions loyal to Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Science & Technology Minister and Senator Julius Ucha have refused to let go, while in Enugu not much is heard of the party.
That was why expectations were high that the party will use the November 18, 2017 governorship elections in Anambra State to make a statement concerning its seriousness and readiness to take over the South East. But the acrimony and restiveness in the state chapter of APC after the governorship primaries do not appear to sustain that hope. Although Hon. (Dr.) Tony Nwoye was declared winner and candidate of APC for the governorship election, the protests that have greeted that exercise suggest that all is not well and that he may not actually be the one to snatch victory from Governor Willie Obiano.
Yes, APGA defeated the same Nwoye as PDP candidate in the 2013 governorship election in the state. And just as APC is now holding power at the centre, the PDP was also in power with President Goodluck Jonathan in charge. But in spite of the federal might and not forgetting that PDP was actually in control of Anambra State, producing all senators and majority of the House of Representatives members, Nwoye lost. Why did he lose to Obiano who then was not a governor?
Even before answering the questions, something curious happened prior to the election. President Jonathan declined to attend the rally where Nwoye was given the PDP flag. Security concerns were cited as the reasons why he stayed away. There was also a groundswell of opposition from PDP members in Anambra State against Nwoye’s candidature because of his alleged romance with a particular godfather. The rest, they say, is history. Now history appears to be repeating itself. There is another groundswell of opposition to the emergence of Nwoye as the APC candidate. The most common logic is that if he could not defeat Obiano then, is it now that the man is a governor with strings of achievements that he can do so? People easily cite the case of Rochas Okorocha and Ikedi Ohakim to buttress this point. But then again, party members are alleging that Nwoye did not obtain his primary victory in a straight way. They alleged that the primary was heavily compromised .
If these issues have encumbered the candidature of Nwoye as alleged by APC leaders and members in Anambra State, does it not suggest that the party is not in a sound footing to win the election? Given the sensitivity of Ndi Anambra to the issues of security and godfatherism which nearly wrecked the state between 1999 and 2003, there is a clear and present danger.
While some politicians are known to be bad losers who turn around to accuse their victorious opponents of fraud, there is need for APC leadership to thoroughly investigate the various allegations flying round the candidate in Anambra State with a view to redressing the matter before the November 18 polls.
As has been established, when a party goes to the polls fragmented, the party would be fighting a rather hard battle. We know that what is even lawful may not be expedient
Therefore, for APC to realize its dream of penetrating the South East, the acid test is with the Anambra governorship election on November 18, 2017. The first step to getting it right is fielding the best and most acceptable candidate who can defeat Obiano and command the respect of the people of the State. The party would perpetuate its poor showing in the state, is spite of the likes of Senator Chris Ngige in its fold. The time to act is now. There may be an array of hope that the incumbent could face a hard battle given that former governor Peter Obi is no longer on his side, an indication that the opposition will be stiff. The current ruling party at in Abuja may also join the array of formidable opposition if it does the right thing.