Will APGA’s dominance end in November?

The two major opposition parties in Anambra State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) have been boasting that they are going to take over the state on November 6 when it goes to poll for the election of the next governor. Southeast Bureau Chief NWANOSIKE ONU looks at the performance of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state over the years and how it is likely to fare at the polls

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been in power in Anambra State for close to 16 years. Since the former Governor Peter Obi regained his mandate, from Dr Chris Ngige of the then Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2006, no other party has been able to dislodge the APGA.

Members of the party will always be quick to remind anyone that wants to hear that the APGA is more than just a party, but a “movement” in Anambra State. That appears to be the true position of APGA in Anambra, the only state it controls in the country. The PDP and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been making attempts in the past to take over the control of the state but have find it difficult to dislodge the APGA during elections.

As the race to pick Governor Willie Obiano’s successor begins, the question is, will the APGA continue its dominance come November 6, 2021, when the people of Anambra will go to the polls to vote for the candidate of their choice? As far as the two major opposition parties in the state, the PDP and the APC are concerned, this year’s governorship election will be the end of the APGA in Anambra.

But, will the APGA fold its arms and allow such to happen? Observers believe that is not likely. The ruling party, nevertheless, has many rivers to cross to win the contest. Many stakeholders are not happy with the Obiano-led administration, even though it had executed some gigantic projects in the last seven and half years.  Not only that; the governor has been nicknamed “alert -25’ (the day workers receive salaries across the state).  How he manages that when many governors owe their workers, marvels even the opposition.

But, the major problem facing the APGA today is the allegation of “fraud” hanging over the neck of the party’s leadership as far as the Imo State governorship election and those of the state House of Assembly and the National Assembly in Anambra during the last general elections.

Many of its members still bear grudges against the leadership over what transpired during the last general elections and have vowed to work against the party in the governorship election scheduled to hold on November 6.

Besides, the allegation that Governor Obiano is scheming to ensure that former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo becomes the party’s consensus candidate is also a source of discord within the fold.

Soludo, a first class brain in every ramification, possesses what it takes to govern Anambra and the entire country. Yet, some APGA members and, indeed, opposition see him as a “boss man” who would too independent to manipulate.

Though, the party has other aspirants eyeing the ticket, but the fact that Soludo has the backing of Governor Obiano has almost made him the sole candidate. Other aspirants include Sir Damian Okolo from Nnewi; Chief Akachukwu Nwankpo from Okija; and Chukwuma Umeorji. They would surely give Soludo a challenge for the ticket.

Nevertheless, Soludo who has over 25 support groups all over the state drumming support for him, as well as the backing of that of members of the state executive committee, he is likely to secure the APGA ticket.

Even at that, Sir Damian Okolo told The Nation there is no cause for alarm because “everything would end at the primary”.

But, the National Chairman, Dr Ike Oye, The Nation learnt, is not following the footsteps of Obiano in endorsing Soludo as a sole candidate. This, according to him, is not healthy for the party. He said every aspirant of the party has equal opportunity of securing the APGA ticket.

Many stakeholders believe that anyone that gets the party’s ticket is as good as being the next governor because of the incumbency factor.

The ruling party does not have political heavyweights like the opposition parties, but what goes for them is the general belief or moving spirit that “this is our own” or “nkea bu nke anyi”, as it usually uttered in Igbo.

A chieftain of the party, who did not want to be quoted told The Nation in Awka that Obiano would be the last APGA governor, if the party insists on endorsing Soludo as a consensus candidate. He said: “They pretend that everyone likes Soludo, but we make things happen in APGA. The man in question is arrogant and pompous. He sees himself as the only educated person in the state.

“The stakeholders have started putting their heads together; we are not going to listen to the governor. Whatever decisions our national chairman takes, that is what we are going to do.”

For comrade Obi Ochije, anybody who sees the APGA as a party going down in Anambra must be a joker. He said: “The three legacy projects Obiano’s government has done will tell you that the party means well for the people. The airport is no longer for cargo alone; it will also cater for passengers. Take a look at the International Conference Centre in Awka and the Stadium also in Awka. Didn’t we have governors here before him?

“We know what the opposition parties are capable of doing during elections. But, we are equal to the task. All their plans will never work. If they want us to continue with the APGA, then let the governor use his number six. But, you can take it to the bank, Obiano is likely to be the last APGA governor.”

Speaking with The Nation, the APGA State Chairman, Sir Norbert Obi debunked the claim that any of the aspirants would be adopted as a consensus candidate of the party. He said the major problem with some people is listening to opposition, who according to him, have been looking for ways to destabilize the APGA.

Obi, expressed confidence that his party would win the November governorship election as it has done in the past. He described the claims by the APC and the PDP that they would take o over Anambra State as ‘factory noise’.

“We don’t believe in noise-making, what happened in 2017 will repeat itself again in Anambra State. Forget the opposition and watch what will happen on November 6. The APGA is no longer a political party, but a movement. It moves like a tsunami. Those party members who are talking about working against us will disappoint you at the end. We are intact.”

Also, Sir Jude Emecheta, who is the Managing Director Anambra Signage and Advertising Agency (ANSAA), told The Nation that the style of Obiano’s leadership has brought APGA closer to the people than ever before.  He said anyone who is thinking that the party will lose the November governorship election must be a dreamer.

Emecheta said: “You said APGA going, going…; going to where? A party that is as solid as a rock. Those who want the end of APGA is the opposition and we know them. This great party has come to stay in Anambra and it will be difficult for other parties to dislodge it. Obiano is a trusted leader. Our national chairman is a ‘lion’ who fights to the end. We may not have ‘money-men’ like other parties, but the masses are our own money-men.”

Anambra election has always been tough, more than any other state in the country because of the number of influential persons the state parades and the November 6 governorship election is not likely to be an exception. The election is eight months away, yet the atmosphere is already charged between three political parties and perhaps.

Read the Source post on Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics.