…Analysis of Individual Contenders and their Chances
By Eric Elezuo
As they say, the day has finally arrived. The much-awaited November 18 political contest is no longer fast approaching, it is right here. It is the day the people of Anambra State will troop out to vote to either retain the state’s incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano, or replace him.
With over 4000 security operatives and a good number of INEC officials and ad hoc staff on the ground, the stage is set to elect the executive image of Anambra State for the next four years.
In the past few weeks, massive campaigns of both calumny and achievements have flooded the media as all the candidates tried their possible best to outdo one another, culminating in the Governorship debate organized by Channels TV recently.
While many believe in the power of incumbency working for the Governor Willie Obiano, other anticipate a certain change in the electoral fortunes of the vociferous opposition parties such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC), the United Progressives Party (UPP) and others.
The stage is set; the contenders as well as the pretenders are ready. Will Obiano be dethroned or will he retain his seat? That remains a story for the day after November 18.
The following are the candidates and what their chances look like:
WILLIE OBIANO (APGA)
He was born at Aguleri town in Anambra State, August 18 1957. A banker, technocrat, and the incumbent Governor of the state, Obiano left the banking industry to join the politics, and in 2013 contested the November 16, 17 and 30 Anambra State gubernatorial elections on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. He won the election and was sworn in on March 17, 2014 to succeed Peter Obi, who had anointed him and gave him full support.
Obiano’s desire to go for a second term has been met with serious opposition from his party members, who feel that he lacks what it takes to defeat the Peter Obi anointed Oseloka Obaze, and so crisis continues to trail the party leading to the emergence of two factions with different flag bearers.
If the attacks he had been getting from opponents, especially the Obaze camp is anything to go by, then the incumbent governor is on his way out, going the way of other Anambra State governors like Dr. Chris Ngige.
OSELOKA HENRY OBAZE (PDP)
Obaze, who was born on April 9, 1955 in Ochuche Umuodu of Ogbaru LGA Anambra state, is probably the most experienced as regards Anambra politics and administration having previously served as Secretary to the State Government in two different administrations – immediate past governor, Mr. Peter Obi’s and the incumbent, Chief Willie Obiano.
Today, Mr. Obaze, who polled 672 votes to beat Dr. Alex Obiogbolu and Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, with 190 and 94 votes respectively, is enjoying the support of Mr. Peter Obi, who is the only Anambra governor to have had two terms in office. He also boasts the support of ailing former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
That said, Obaze’s undoing may be the divided house which produced him as most of his party men are not happy with the way the primaries that selected him were conducted, and have withdrawn their support. Nonetheless, with the trail of achievements for which Peter Obi is celebrated, fortune may yet smile at him during the polls.
HON. TONY NWOYE (APC)
Hon. Nwoye is a medical doctor by profession, and a member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Anambra East/West constituency. He was also a former Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2013 election in Anambra state.
Currently, he is a member of the All Progressives Congress and the party’s flag bearer for the today’s governorship battle. He is also the founder and non-executive Director of Vintage Consolidated Ltd. Nwoye’s ability to defeat Andy Uba, reputed as the favourite aspirant, could form a strong point for the lawmaker as he heads for the polls.
OBY OKAFOR (ACD)
A nominee of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Oby Okafor previously served as the state chairperson of the party, and was one time chairperson of the Inter Party Advisory Committee, IPAC, in Anambra State. She emerged from a unanimous decision of 63 delegates of the party at its primary election in Awka having met the party’s conditions and conformed to the guidelines.
Mrs Oby Okafor is heavily relying on the sympathy of fellow women and their votes to clinch the ticket to Awka Government House.
She stated in her acceptance speech that she was grateful that the party willed its trust to her and that it was time for women to take up the leadership mantle.
OSITA CHIDOKA (UPP)
Arguably, the best of all the candidates, if the debate held a week ago on Channels TV is anything to go by. Mr Osita Chidoka, who was born on 18 July 1971 in Obosi, Anambra State, is widely celebrated as having exhibited a high level of administrative wisdom and discipline.
A former Minister of Aviation and Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Chidoka emerged as the United Progressive Party (UPP) candidate, picking Mr. Marcel Okeke, who hails from Ogbunka in Orumba South Local Government as his running mate.
Mr. Chidoka stressed that his running mate would be a strong partner in the commitment to transform the public service in the state to meet the people’s hope.
OLUCHUKWU AJULUFO (LP)
A journalist, who worked with Ray Power (Daar Communications), Ajulufo is the second female to emerge as governorship candidate after the candidate of the Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD). Mrs. Ajulufo won the governorship primary election under the banner of Labour Party by unanimous vote of the 64-man delegate at the primary election in Awka.
Even though her rival, Mr. Okey Enemuo, former House of Representatives member, has expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of the exercise that produced her, describing it as “laughing stock”, Ajulufo remains the candidate of the Labour Party.
The party has described her emergence as a “divine mandate”, expressing confidence that the party will win the forthcoming governorship election without adducing any concrete reasons for such belief.
Aside the afore-mentioned parties, there are more gladiators in the Anambra governorship project, representing diverse political parties. Some of them include Uju Uchendu Ozoka of AA, Nwezi Felix Amechi of AGAP, Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba of ACPN, Paul Chukwudi Obianaso of ADC, Ifeanyichukwu Edward Reginald Okonkwo of ADP, Adaeze Chizube Okafor of APDA, Nweke Christopher Chukwuduben of APP, Ohanugo Iken Ceci of BNPP and lots more.