The jostle for the All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA) ticket in Anambra South senatorial zone of the state for the forthcoming 2019 general elections, especially by the trio of Bianca Ojukwu, Ubah and Ukachukwu is ruffling some feathers among the party hierarchy. OKECHUKWU OBETA reports the ensuing intrigues.
Though there are five aspirants already known to have filed out, scheming to fly the All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA) ticket in Anambra South senatorial district in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, the conflicting ambitions of three of the contestants is said to be trying to tear the party hierarchy apart.
The five contestants are: widow of the party’s late Supreme leader, ex-Biafran leader, Ezeigbogburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ambasasor Bianca Ojukwu; oil magnate and proprietor, Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah; Proprietor of Prince and Princess Estate, Abuja, Prince Nicolas Ukachukwu; Son of the first Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, Ikenna Amaechi and Dr. Anslem Enyimba Ofordike.
Those whose ambitions are essentially threatening to set the party’s major stakeholders on collision course, sources told LEADERSHIP are: Bianca Ojukwu, Ubah and Ukachukwu. While Bianca is said to be enjoying the support of the Anambra state governor, Chief Willie Obiano who is incidentally the party’s national leader and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) to clinch the party’s ticket in the senatorial zone, Ubah, according to sources is being tipped by the immediate past national chairman of the party and Senator representing Anambra Central, Senator Victoor Umeh. The incumbent national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye, is however said to be lending his support to Ukachukwu for the ticket. Although all the APGA major stakeholders who responded to development in an interview by LEADERSHIP, including the Anambra state Publicity
Secretary, Mr. Chinedu Nkwonta; Anambra South zone Vice-Chairman of the party, Chief Titus Anagbogu and Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Political Matters, Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye denied the existence of such rift, gape-vine information, however revealed that the APGA leaders’ conflicting preferences for each of the three aspirants are based on their respective assessment of the contributions of the aspirants to the party.
Nkwonta said that the issue of who flies the APGA ticket in the state in the forthcoming general elections is generating controversy basically because most politicians in the state, especially those
seeking elective positions and other political offices are now moving into party because of the good works the party’s government is doing in the state. “What we have have been witnessing in APGA in Anambra is that too many aspirants have been joining APGA because of the excellent performances of the party in the same. So, they all want to be part of the success stories of APGA government in the state. And a situation where this happens it creates a confusion.
These people you are talking about are big masquerades. You know that Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, wife the late national leader of our party, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu was a former Ambassador. And you know that Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah and Prince Nicolas Ukachukwu are equally political giants. And we still have have others like the son of the first Republic Minister, Ikenna Mbazulike who is a lawyer and another aspirant, Chief Ofordike who is also seeking the ticket. So, what we have insisted that we will do as a political party is that we are going to provide a level playing group for all the aspirants, we are going to conduct a free and fair primaries to select our party candidates for the upcoming elections”, the APGA state spokesman stated further.
Nkwonta however stated that in view of the contribution of some of those who joined the party from other political parties, especially in the victory of the party during the last governorship election in the state during which the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano seconded overwhelming votes in all the 21 local government areas of the state, “Waiver will be given to some people who are new in the party to contest for the party tickets”.
In his own reaction Anambra South zone vice-chairman of APGA, Chief Anagbogu stated that scheming for the party’s ticket in the senatorial zone has indeed heightened political activities in the area. Though he said he was not aware that Governor Obiano, Umeh and Oye have any conflicting interests as to who should fly the party’s ticket in the zone between the trio of Bianca Ojukwu, Ubah, and Ukachukwu, the APGA chief in the zone, however stated “What is happening is that all the aspirants have been going round in the zone, meeting the party members in the wards and local governments to ask for support from those they think will be delegates during the primaries”.
“The party primaries has not been conducted, the party has not even issued guidelines for the party propimaries, so how can the governor or anybody say that he is supporting this person or that there controversy because the governor is supporting Bianca while Umeh is supporting Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah and our national chairman, chief Victor Oye is supporting someone else. It is not possible because, I believe that APGA will hold primaries to select candidates and governor will only support those who are elected as party candidates during the elections.”
When contacted, the Special Adviser to Governor Obiano on Political Matters, Chief ?Ifeatu Obi-Okoye dismissed the rumor that the governor is routing for Bianca Ojukwu against any other aspirant for the APGA ticket in Anambra South senatorial zone. He rather stated “ Governor is going to support and campaign for all APGA candidates for the various elective positions during the election”.
The views of these APGA chieftains notwithstanding, sources within the APGA hierarchy in the state, however believe strongly most of those who would emerge was the party candidates in various constituencies would be chosen as a pay back for their contributions for the party’s victory during the last gubernatorial election in the state.
Meanwhile,it is said that Governor Obiano wants Bianca Ojukwu to fly APGA senatorial ticket as a proof to the members of the political class that he has not abandoned the late APGA national leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.
On the other hand Umeh, is said to be backing Ubah as a pay back to the oil magnate for the support he( Ubah) gave him during the battle to remove him as APGA national chairman. That was during the former Governor Peter Obi’s second term as governor of Anambra state. As part of the strategies to expand APGA to other South East states, some forces within the party hierarchy came p with idea that the position of the national championship of the party should go to another Igbo state. Both Governor Obi and Umeh who were at the time the highest officers of the party do not only hail from the same Anambra state, they come from the same Anaocha local government area. So, the plan was that Umeh should relinquish the national championship position of the party to Enugu state. So, the plotters of this scheme backed by then Governor Obi organized a mini-convention of the party in Awka, the Anambra state capital and produced, Chief Maxi Okwu as a national chairman of APGA. But Umeh fought against his removal in the Court.
Ubah supported him heavily financially. It was strongly believed then that Umeh had an agreement with Ubah that he ( Ubah) would be given APGA ticket to contest the 2013 gubernatorial election. That did not eventually materialise, just because due to the judicial up and down that characterized the case, Ubah at a point lost hope and crossed over to the Labour Party (LP) on which platform he eventually contested the governorship election.
Ubah’s exit from APGA and the eventual reconciliation between Obi and Umeh, was actually what paved the way for the emergence of the incumbent Governor Obiano, then as the APGA governorship candidate.
Besides, when Ubah lost out in the contest for the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the build up to the state gubernatorial election held last, he immediately decamped to APGA where he worked for the victory of the party in the election. He had even declared his ambition to to fly the APGA ticket in the Anambra South senatorial district more than three months ago. He made the declaration at the Ngozika Housing Estate residence of the state Chairman of APGA when he led some of his political supporters to the APGA state chairman. He stated that as a businessman man he wants to go the nation’s legislature to held make laws that would protect the interests of the operators in the nation’s business sector, so as to grow he economy. He said that the National Assembly was churning out laws that negatively impact on the activities of the business operator because most of the legislators do not have experiences of doing business.
Also, sources within the APGA in the state hinted that the party’s national chairman, Chief Victor Oye is endorsing Ukachukwu because of the latter’s “financial” contribution to the party during the last governorship election in the state. Sources said that Ukachukwu had refused financial offer made to him when he was approached by the APGA leadership to support the party in the election. He was said to have rather put in his own money as a mark of his support for the party.
Ukachukwu according to a source was said to have demanded from the APGA hierarchy then that he he wanted was to be allowed to contest for the ticket of the party in the senatorial zone, and that he was given the assurance.
It is also believed that some stakeholders in APGA are giving their endorsement for Ikenna to fly the ticket as a ark of honour to his father who is one of the very few surviving first republic politicians and Zikists, Dara Mbazulike Amaechi. Ofordike who hails from Okija in Ihiala local government is believed to have the backing of a billionaire oil- magnate in the area, Chief Oby Jackson. The latter is said to have also have contributed to the success of the incumbent Governor Obiano’s re-election ambition.
Indeed, many political watchers strongly believe that one of the things that would cause serious implosion within the APGA in Anambra state ahead of the forthcoming general election would be the inability of the party hierarchy to keep promises made to woo those who contributed to the victory of the party in the last governorship election in the state.
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