As the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State inch closer, political parties are beginning to consult and dig deep to bring out the best in their pack. While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given the latitude to all zones to showcase their big masquerade, the reigning All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has zoned the governorship slot to the South senatorial zone. Though the main opposition party, PDP has kicked against the idea of zoning, APGA seems he’ll bent on carrying on with its decision. The party argued that the incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano who is from the North zone came into power as a result of the zoning system as initiated by former Governor Peter Obi. It insisted that for equity to thrive the governorship must be zoned to the South to give them a sense of belonging and more so ensure order in the leadership of the state.
So far, the big masquerades are already dusting their cap for a bout of wrestlemania that will ultimately determine who will be the next sheriff to occupy the Agu-Awka seat of power.
The big fishes eyeing Obiano’s include former Central Bank Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo; an America-based medical doctor and philanthropist, Dr. Godwin Maduka; veteran businessman and politician Godwin Ezeemo; Senator Uche Ekwunife; Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu; Obiora Okonkwo; Dr. Alex Obiobgbolu; and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, among others.
Though Soludo has been tipped as the first choice for APGA, there are indications that the table is turning against him. Information from the grapevine has it that the economist was promised the party’s ticket during the last governorship election in the state, hence his dedication and commitment towards the re-election of the incumbent Governor, Obiano. In the course of the campaigns, he made a rhetorical statement that has stuck with his name, “If it’s not broken, why mend it?”
The statement broke the straw as to where his bread was buttered and an underlining game of transition from Aguleri to Isuofia. No doubt, Soludo is a strong character with a good name to his portfolio but in the context of Nigerian politics, most promises are mere lip service aimed at rubbing a person’s ego to achieve a desired result.
Suffice it to say that history may again play out like it did during Obi’s transition out of power. Then, Obi found a suitable successor in a retired diplomat, Mr Oseloka Obaze, but the murky waters of political power play swept him away for Obiano as a preferred choice despite the fact that the latter was a political neophyte.
In the case of Soludo, he has not only been close to the corridors of power; he has also played the game of politics at several levels. Despite the economist’s intimidating profile, feelers have it that there is an ongoing scheme to push him aside and replace him with the owner of Stanel Oil company, Mr. Stanley Uzochukwu. The 37-year-old businessman from Nnewi in Anambra State is said to be a very close associate of Governor Obiano. Information from an inside source who pleaded anonymity said the Governor takes Uzochukwu and sees in him, a replica of what the youths of today should look up to. The source said that part of the reasons Obiano is not comfortable with handing over to Soludo is because of fear of being hounded after leaving office.
He said: “The Governor worries that an economist as a successor would scrutinise him but a young man who is like a son to him, will revere him. He is also an advocate of getting young people into leadership. You can see the example from his cabinet members. He believes Anambra has vibrant, young men that should be given opportunity to showcase what they have and in that process, build them up to take over from the older generation.”
Uzochukwu may have done well in building a business empire for him at a young age and even winning Forbes 2017 African Achievers Award for his outstanding achievements in the area of job creation, reaching out to widows and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), prison inmates and people with disabilities, but governance of a state is not same as managing a business. Asides being a political neophyte he may not be a good market for APGA come 2021 as the elites in the state would rather prefer an elder with experience than a suckling baby.
The source further revealed that a chieftain of the party who is also eyeing Obiano’s seat during a meeting which Uzochukwu allegedly also attended at the Governor’s Lodge, the Governor has expressed his desire to hand over to a younger man. “The statement didn’t go down well with the party chieftain as he immediately objected to it, advising the governor not to make mistake of taking such decision to the detriment of the party. According to him, that choice will further tear the already torn party into further shreds. He said that though he has interest in contesting for the seat, that Soludo remains the best option for the party.
To that, the Governor turned to Uzochukwu and said: “Man, you have heard what he said.” Anambra is a state blessed with men of different strata and wealth, hence, it takes the tough to hold it together. While the Governor may not have the final say as to who will emerge the party’s flag bearer, he wields some influence on whoever will emerge the candidate. For now, Soludo’s fate hangs.
Source News Express