Anambra 2021: 18 guber candidates and their chances (2)

OKECHUKWU ONUEGBU reports that come November 6, Anambra state’s electorate will file out to elect a new governor. The Anambra South is angling for the position, claiming it is their turn in the state which has 326 electoral wards, 179 communities, 21 LGAs and three Senatorial zones. 

Col. Geoffrey Onyejegbu: Allied People’s Movement (APM)

Onyejegbu is the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM). The retired soldier is on the race for a third term having contested in 2014 and 2017 unsuccessfully. He was among the aspirants who left APC to new party after he failed to secure the ticket. From Ichi in Ekwusigo LGA, Onyejegbu had also contested for Senate in Anambra South without success. 

However, that is not enough for his name to be registered on the memory of voters. APM is an orphan in Anambra state political space. His running mate, Mrs Onuora Chinwe Uchenna Lettitia, is also unpopular. Additionally, the party state chairman, Evangelist Isaac Onuka and other executives and members of the party recently defected to APC, pledging allegiance to Senator Andy Uba. Time shall tell if he would make it despite the challenges.

Mr Azubuike Echetebu: Action People’s Party (APP)

Echetebu is the standard bearer of the Action People’s Party (APP). According to a popular analyst in Anambra, “APP is not only unknown but without a definite structure anywhere.” This could be why the  people don’t consider the Awka born politician seemed as a serious contender. Checks showed that he’s either not campaigning or involving the media in his activities as only the report of his emergence as the party candidate remains the most relevant about him. His running mate, Mr Ogbonna Nnabike, is also not well known. Anyway, the electorate have the final say.

Mr Okeke Chika Jerry: Boot Party (BP)

Okeke, a renowned author with several awards, is trying his hand in Anambra governorship race for a third time. He’s candidate of Boot Party, one of the relatively unknown political parties in Anambra state. He had equally contested for both State Houses of Assembly and Representatives in futility. From Ezinifite in Aguata LGA, Okeke had equally held various leadership positions in his Anglican Church, schools and communities. Although in a party without structure, Okeke is boasting that he had greater chance of winning the poll as the according to him, he is for youth. His campaign focused on five ‘pillars’ namely, Education, Agriculture, Industrialisation, Infrastructure, Social and Human Capital Development. Ms Chika Juliet Adibe is his running mate.

Obiora Agbasimelo: Labour Party (LP)

Agbasimelo, the gubernatorial candidate of Labour Party (LP), is from Ezinifite in Nnewi South LGA. The young Agbasimelo is a relative of Chief Godwin Agbasimelo, a foremost philanthropist, sport promoter  and owner of Oga Ndi Oga, a sociocultural movement. The leadership and members of this his uncle’s group from wards to state levels took over LP as executives and members following Obiora’s emergence as governanorship candidate. Aside this, Obiora is not in the list of those considered as top contenders. He’s not also campaigning like others do. Not even his Deputy, Mr Moukwe Chinedu Peter is known.

Afamefuna Victor Nwafor: National Rescue Movement (NRM)

Nwafor is the candidate of National Rescue Movement (NRM). Nwafor, from Achina in Aguata LGA, is a green horn in the state governorship race. He had vied for a state House of Assembly poll under APC and failed. He left APC to ADC to run for governor. Barely 24 hours to the ADC gubernatorial primary, he withdrew from the race, and later emerged candidate of NRM through substitution. Although he had been campaigning, analysts do not see him as a front line contender. His party is not only unknown but lacks the structure and financial wherewithal to execute the election. His running mate, Ojukwu Nzube Chukwuma does not also have with political muscle to win the poll.

Sir Emeka Ohajimkpo: New Nigerian People’s Party (NPP)

Ohajimkpo is the candidate of New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP). Even though little is known about him, his party and his running mate, Mrs Henrietta Ebelechukwu Nwude, he’s optimistic of victory. According to him, Anambra people would pull a surprise by choosing him due to his integrity and what he termed his social contract to the people. He promised to run a Chinese model of education and technology.

Mr Valentine Ozigbo: People’s Democratic Party (PDP)

Ozigbo, the governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a typical example of the Biblical David having risen from an unknown to a known status in Anambra political space. He left Transcorps PLC, a hospitality company where he was President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to join the governorship race. 

He sprang surprises by clinching PDP ticket against 18 other contestants who were seen as heavyweights. At first, INEC did not recognise his candidacy due to barrage of court judgments, yet he did not panic. He went on campaigning and later triumphed, and currently, over 60 political groups and sociocultural groups within and outside the shores of Africa have endorsed him for governor. 

From Amesi in Aguata LGA, the Chartered accountant and award winning CEO, is favoured in the race due to his track records in private sector, the popularity of PDP, and others. His political slogan and manifestos, “Ka Anambra Chawapu” (for Brighter Anambra), has taken over the lips of voter.

He is also down to earth and sociable as pictures of him visiting and fraternizing with personalities from across political drives, states and nationalities. What would also count for him is his running mate, Mrs Lillian Azuka Enemo. 

She was the first woman to be appointed a Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy matters, an office unofficially previously reserved for men in Anambra because traditional institutions fall under it. 

Enomo held unto this office during former governor Peter Obi’s Administration and first tenure  of Obiano’s Government. Her tenure restored peace among many communities in Anambra. In terms of voting strength, the academic turned politician is from Anambra North and married to Anambra Central. 

Aside her, Ozigbo team is headed by another strong woman and politician, Dr Uche Lillian Ekwunife currently representing Anambra Central at the Senate. What could affect his chances in the election are the facts that himself, APGA and APC candidates are from the same council area and Anambra South zone. 

There are others from the council area and zone but the trio are considered as top contenders. So, they would naturally divide their votes from ward to zonal levels thereby creating opportunity for other candidates outside the zone to shine. 

Also, recent defections to another party by some stakeholders of the PDP is an evidence that crisis rocking the state chapter of the party have not been solved despite huge efforts put in place by Ozigbo and others to entrench peace.

Chief Nnamdi Nwawuo: People’s Redemption Party (PRP)

Nwawuo, the candidate of People’s Redemption Party (PRP), is also a first timer on the race. Likewise, his party is viewed as an unknown in Anambra State political terrain. The alternative medicine practitioner from Anambra North Senatorial zone has succeeded in adorning some streets with his billboards and posters, but many are not seen him as a contender. His profile and that of his Deputy, Mr Godwin Gozie Igbo are not rich. They do not also have the financial muscle to square up with popular parties and candidates. The party is also not yet acceptable in Anambra.

Chief Obinna Uzoh: Social Democratic Party (SDP)

Uzoh, governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP), is a household name in Anambra state politics. From Ihiala, Ihiala LGA, Uzoh has the financial power to match other candidates, even though his party is relatively unknown. A lawyer and renowned business executive, the SDP candidate has contested the seat twice under PDP and lost the primary. He had also been a governorship candidate of the defunct United Democratic Party (UDP), as well as contested for Senate in Anambra South and lost out too. His deputy, Mr Chira Uzochukwu Obiora was a House of Representatives aspirant for Oyi federal constituency under PDP in 2019. November 6 shall tell if Anambra voters would vote for him or not.

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah: Young Progressive Party (YPP) 

Ubah, Senator currently representing Anambra South, is a business mogul and heavyweight politician. He won the senatorial race in 2019 with the newly registered Young Progressive Party (YPP) under whose platform he’s also slugging it out for governor. The Nnewi, Nnewi North LGA born tried becoming governor first time in 2014 as Labour party candidate but failed. He aspired under PDP in 2017 unsuccessfully too. 

He then moved to APGA; floated Afa Igbo Efuna, a political movement with which he canvassed for Obiano’s reelection. When he vied for APGA Senatorial ticket in 2018 (ahead of 2019 general election) and failed, he dumped the party to YPP and clinched its ticket. 

Ubah is loved by his people, Nnewi North and South, so he would likely secure the two local government areas on November 6. This could be why LP was rumoured to have won the cancelled Chairmanship election in Nnewi North in 2014. But would he make it this time as governor? With Afa Igbo Efuna members, he constituted a strong YPP party structure across the state. Currently, some of these YPP members including ward, LG and states leadership of the party are dumping the party to APC, PDP and APGA. This development will definitely affect Ubah’s chances of winning the Gubernatorial poll. There are other business and employees relations issues likely to affect him in this election. 

Nevertheless, he has a financial muscle to execute election just as his Deputy, Hon. Okechukwu Eze, cousin to the famous oil magnet and philanthropist, Engr Arthur Eze , is an added advantage. Eze, a medical Practitioner, served as a House of Representatives member under PDP for Anaocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka federal Constituency from 2015 to 2016 when court threw him out and brought in his political opponent, Hon. Dozie Nwankwo of APGA instead.

Dr Obiora Okonkwo: Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)

Okonkwo, the candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), is a political mover. A political scientist cum economist, Chairman, Nigerian United Airlines, among other enterprises, left PDP where he came second at the party primary to ZLP. From Ogidi, Idemili North LGA, Okonkwo is officially in the race to govern Anambra state for the first time. But he pulls weight due to his Economic wealth, experiences and capacities. His party, although not popular is strategically located; last in the ballot paper. Idemili North and Idemili South federal constituency where he hails from, is a densely populated area with many voters. He will surely gather enough votes, especially, from the area even though it is also the stonghold of PDP and APC respectively. 

Among them are Azuka Enemo; former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka and his brother, Obinna Chidoka who currently represent them at House of Rep are of from there and of PDP, while Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment is of APC. Also while the candidates of popular political parties like PDP, APC and APGA, including YPP, Accord, SDP, AAC, and ADC are from South, Okonkwo is the most popular and most mentioned candidate from the Anambra Central on the race. So, his chance is bright. 

He has the financial muscle and teeming supporters as well. Similarly, his deputy, Hon. Jessie Balonwu Uka, is a key player in Anambra political terrain. She is from Onitsha in Onitsha North LGA, and had represented Onitsha North and South federal Constituency under PDP.