BEVERLY HILLS, May 02, (THEWILL) – No fewer than 16 aspirants are already scrambling for the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, ahead of the Anambra State Governorship Election scheduled for November 6, 2021.
The aspirants, who are drawn mainly from the Anambra South Senatorial zone, have since been screened even as the outcome of the screening exercise is being awaited.
Speaking on this development in Awka, the Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu, said aspirants who purchased the expression of interest form from the party had been screened.
The Deputy State Chaírman of the Party, Chief Asolo, also gave the assurance that the party’s ticket would not be given to people who were described as fair weather politicians.
Asolo spoke during a worship conference organised recently for statutory delegates by one of those eyeing the PDP governorship ticket in the state.
Aspirants who have reportedly undergone the screening exercise include Senator (Iyom) Uche Ekwunife; Chief Obiora Okonkwo; Hon. Chris Azubogu; Valentine Ozigbo; Winston Udeh; Godwin Ezeemo; Barrister Emeka Etiaba, SAN; Dr. Ifedi Okwenna; Ugochukwu Uba; Tony Nwoye; Dr. Godwin Maduka; Mrs Chidi Onyemelukwe; daughter of late Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
Onyemelukwe was the running mate to Henry Oseloka Obaze, the PDP candidate during the 2018 governorship election.
It was learnt that each of the aspirants have since launched discreet strategies to scale through both the screening exercise and the scheduled primaries that will take place in Anambra State.
It should be noted that over the years, the battles among the contenders for the PDP ticket have been very intense, acrimonious and competitive. In 1999, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju cracked a hard nut to clinch the PDP ticket and the story was the same in 2003, when Dr Chris Ngige, the present Minister of Labour and Productivity, against all the odds and permutations of that period, emerged as the PDP candidate, after Dr. Mbadinuju was shoved aside and denied the second term ticket, a development that compelled Mbadinuju to embrace the less fancied party under which he contested and lost.
However, in 2007 Dr Andy Uba, who was then a key Aso Rock officer, with all the power brokers and the presidency, as well as the then leadership of the PDP backing him, had a smooth ride as he clinched the party’s ticket and proceeded to win the governorship election of that year, an election which was later set aside on the pretext that Peter Obi had not concluded his first term before it was conducted. This development did not vitiate the fact that Andy Ubah has been a governor, either defacto or dejure, as the case may be.
In 2010, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof Charles Soludo, emerged on the Anambra political scene and threw his eloquence, influence and intellectual prowess around and clinched the ticket of the PDP. The party was eventually beaten at the poll by the All Progressive Grand Alliance which then had Mr. Peter Obi, the incumbent governor, as its candidate.
Soludo has since joined the APGA, where he is making a fresh bid to govern Anambra State.
In 2014, Dr Tony Nwoye, a dogged fighter and one-time chairman of the PDP in Anambra State, joined in the race for the PDP ticket and eventually clinched it, leaving his contenders, many of who allegedly worked against the party in that election which Nwoye lost. It was the first time state was going to be ruled by a youth, but that development did not take place as the internal contradiction and infighting in the party aborted it.
Today Nwoye, who was the APC candidate in the last governorship election, has returned to PDP where he is now a top contender for the party’s ticket.
And as Peter Obi concluded his second tenure and joined the PDP, where he was made the Vice -Presidential candidate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, he beckoned on Sir Henry Oseloka Obaze, who served as secretary to the state government in his administration, drafted him into the race for the PDP ticket, which eventually was clinched by Obaze who consequently contested for the governorship and lost. Today, his running mate in that election, Chidi Onyemelukwe, is one of those fighting for the ticket of the PDP.
Since the exercise to select the PDP candidate for the Anambra State November 2021 governorship election began, a crucial question borders on the issue of who among the aspirants is better equipped and positioned to emerge victorious at the end of the entire exercise. There is also another important question: Who is the person that has the capacity to beat Soludo, who is likely to emerge as the candidate of the ruling party?
A survey of the aspirants indicates that Dr Obora Okonkwo, a very wealthy man, who recently floated an airline, has promised to fix Anambra State if give the ticket.
This is the second time Okonkwo is positioning himself to take part in a governorship election in the state.
Dr. Godwin Maduka, a former APGA Chieftain, who joined the PDP sometime ago, hails from Umuchukwu, Orumba South Local Government. He is rich and well connected, although, this is the first time he is taking part in competitive politics under the PDP. He is a medical doctor based in the United States of America. Not unlike the other contenders, he has promised to fix Anambra State and take it to a higher level.
Another top contender is Val Ozigbo, the former Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp. He is also rich and well connected. He has promised to create jobs and is allegedly enjoying the support of a handful of wealthy influential persons. This is the first time Ozigbo is making a bid for the PDP governorship ticket.
Engr. Chris Azubogu, a two-time serving member of the House of Representatives, who hails from Nnewi town, is also forging ahead in the race for the PDP ticket. He is young, energetic and would likely count on his experience as a long-serving member of the House of Representatives.
The same goes for Senator Uche Ekwunife who is also making a fresh bid for the PDP’s ticket. It is still unclear how far she will go in the race , considering the fact that she is married to a indigene of Nri in the Anambra Central Senatorial zone.
Chief Godwin Ezeemo, an industrialist and the former governorship candidate of the PPA, a less fancied party, has since joined the PDP where he is jostling for the ticket of the party. Ezeemo hails from Umuchu, Aguata Local Government, one of the local government Areas in Anambra South Senatorial Zone, where the Anambra State governorship position has apparently been zoned by the leadership of APGA and other key stakeholders in Anambra politics.
The race for the PDP’s ticket is already a crowded and costly one. One good thing about it all is that most of the aspirants are fully equipped, materially and otherwise, to wage a successful battle to clinch the ticket of the party.
So far, the party’s supporters are looking forward to a free, fair and successful screening and primaries scheduled for June. Emerging feelers indicate that the leadership of PDP may settle for a consensus candidate at the end of the entire exercise to prevent the constant crises that have bedeviled the party over the years following the outcome of its selection process.