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In November this year, the people of Anambra State will be going to the polls to elect the next Governor of the State.
Although, Chief Willie Obiano, the incumbent Governor, has the constitutional right to vie for a second tenure, many political parties are already gearing up for the race.
However, given the current political setting in the state, three political parties-All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) – are seen as the frontrunners in the race.
For now, Chief Willie Obiano looks good for the ticket of APGA, the ruling party in the state.
In the PDP camp, the factional crisis in the party, between the Ali Mou Sheriff and Ahmed Markarfi factions, makes it difficult to predict its flag-bearer for the November governorship election in Enugu State.
The APC camp has witnessed a surge of aspirants from both the old and new members of the party. We will therefore look at each of the APC aspirants, their strengths and weaknesses.
Tony Nwoye: Tony Nwoye is representing Anambra East and Anambra West federal constituency in the House of Representatives. He was elected on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but he jumped ship to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He is the most youthful of all those vying for governorship in Anambra State and hails from Anambra North senatorial district with the incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano. Nwoye was the candidate of PDP in the last governorship election in Anambra State held in November 2013 and he emerged first runners up in that election won by Obiano. To emerge as PDP candidate in 2013, Nwoye defeated his former boss, Chief Nichola Ukachukwu, a veteran governorship aspirant in Anambra State. But, his ambition in 2013 was bogged down by an intra-party squabble in PDP, culminating in parallel primaries which threw up Senator Andy Uba as the candidate.
The Court eventually declared Nwoye as the PDP candidate just two days to the election and he emerged first runners up to Obiano, ahead of strong contenders like Senator Chris Ngige of APC and Ifeanyi Uba of Labour Party.
Today, Nwoye is back in the race as a governorship aspirant, but this time on APC platform. One advantage he has ahead of the other contenders is the backing of Anambra billionaire businessman and oil mogul, Prince Arthur Eze. Prince Eze had single handedly funded Nwoye’s governorship ambition in 2013, but that attempt was scuttled by a combination of factors including the intra-party squabble in PDP and the political infidelity of then PDP President, Goodluck Jonathan who romanced with APGA.
Nwoye’s second advantage is his long standing experience in Anambra politics, spanning over 12 years, with started with a stint as State Chairman of PDP when the Uba family dominated politics in Anambra State and determined who gets what, how and when in the State.
He also has wide contact among youths in the state, being a former student leader. Unconfirmed reports have it that Nwoye who is from Nsugbe town, recently qualified as a medical doctor.
George Muoghalu: George Muoghalu is currently the National Auditor of APC. He had a very long stint in opposition politics in Nigeria, which spanned over a decade before APC came from behind and floored the then ruling PDP in the 2015 general elections.
Muoghalu hails from industrial town of Nnewi, Nnewi LGA, South senatorial district of Anambra State and his recent incursion into the forthcoming governorship election is not his first attempt to govern the State. Back in his days with the opposition, he was the candidate of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) in both the 2003 and 2007 governorship elections in Anambra State, but lost in both occasions. Muoghalu was later elected as the National Secretary of ANPP and he held the position until 2011.
He went on political sabbatical thereafter. Muoghalu came back to reckoning with the merger of ANPP with Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) and Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN), which gave birth to APC. He emerged as the first National Auditor of APC and has held the position until date.
Muoghalu may not have the financial muscle but he seems not to be bothered by the deep purse of some governorship aspirants in APC, mostly defectors from PDP as he recently told a stakeholders meeting of Anambra APC that “people do not build houses for others to come and live.” He is also from Anambra South senatorial which like Anambra North, has only one tenure stint as Governor, following Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s failure to secure a second tenure.
Ifeanyi Uba: Although Ifeanyi Uba, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Capital Oil and Gas is not new to Anambra politics, he may not be experienced like Tony Nwoye and George Muoghalu.
He made his first attempt at governing Anambra State in the December 2013 governorship election as the candidate of Labour Party (LP) after a botched attempt to get the ruling APGA ticket.
Uba campaigned vigorously across the nooks and crannies of Anambra State, sharing gallons of kerosene, cash and other gifts to the electorate, but when the result of the election was declared, he came a distant fourth. Uba later deployed the leftovers of his campaign resources to the re-election bid of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, but Buhari defeated PDP. Uba recently joined APC and announced his intention to contest for governorship again this year. One advantage he enjoys is his deep purse. His bravado is also an advantage to him.
Andy Uba: Andy Uba is the Senator representing Anambra South senatorial district. He was re-elected as Senator under PDP platformed but he recently defected to APC. This would not be his first attempt at grabbing the governorship. In 2007, he contested and won as the PDP candidate.
But his reign was caught short after 17 days by a Supreme Court judgment, which held that Peter Obi had not completed his tenure. In 2010, Uba returned again to contest as the candidate of Labour but came a distant fourth. Uba came back again to contest in 2013 under a factionalised Anambra PDP. He won the primaries of a faction of PDP while Tony Nwoye won the primaries of the other faction. The court later declared Nwoye as the authentic candidate and Uba lost out.
He is serving his second tenure as senator representing Anambra South senatorial district. He was elected senator under PDP but defected to APC recently. One advantage he has is his long standing experience in Anambra politics from his days as domestic aide to then President, Olusegun Obasanjo. He has a very formidable political structure known as “Igwebuike” (meaning our number is our strength) as well as a very deep purse. Another advantage is that he also hails from Anambra South, which has only a stint as Governor. His undoing may be his feud with his brother, Chief Chris Uba, the self styled political godfather of Anambra State. He may also have to contend with the Uba family odious baggage, caused by their hideous antecedents in Anambra State which included the attempt to abduct a sitting Governor, burning of Government House, Ikenga Hotels and other government property in 2005. Recently, he got enmeshed in a certificate scandal. Senator Uba however alleged that he was being blackmailed.
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