• APGA upbeat as circumstances favour Victor Umeh

The intrigues in Anambra State politics have returned in full swing, as parties gear up for the Anambra Central Senate seat rerun election scheduled to hold in the first week of March, 2016.

Uba Group

The Anambra Central senatorial contest promises to be a riveting one as the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party has proved to be the loser. This is because the party has been barred from participating in the re-run contest.

So far, sacked Senator Uche Ekwunife, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor and Dr Obiora Okonkwo, among other prospective PDP candidates who were positioning themselves for the party’s tickets, have been shoved aside when the INEC made a pronouncement barring PDP
from contesting.

The re-run election was ordered by the Supreme Court following the nullification of the election of Ekwunife as senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District in the Senate.

Ekwunife had probably brought misfortune to the PDP in the manner she dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress, shortly after the court nullified her victory.The implication of her exit, according to the INEC, is that since she was the candidate in the senatorial election, her candidature cannot be substituted.

But sadly for Ekwunife, on getting to the APC, she was shoved aside and denied the APC ticket.

Ekwunife’s calculation was that, having joined the APC in grandstyle, she would grab the party’s senatorial ticket easily since Dr. Chris Ngige, the incumbent Minister of Labour and Productivity, did not show interest in the contest. But the PDP in the state had declared that it would stop the election with a law suit.

However, a few days after she visited the party headquarters in Awka and spoke to the chieftains on her desire to return to the Senate on the APC platform, events which eventually aborted her desire, began to unfold so soon.

First, the former woman leader of the APC and a relatively unknown force in Anambra politics, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, had stormed the APC office in Awka, where she relayed
her ambition to grab the party’s ticket. She also spoke on the import of her candidacy and
the need for her to be in the Senate.

Her visit to the APC office in Awka came few days after Ekwunife made a similar visit. Although her entry into the race caught everybody by surprise, as she was never one of the contenders, feelers said she was drafted into the race apparently to weaken Ekwunife
whose defection to the APC was considered by many as highly opportunistic.

And eventually, by the time the two female APC gladiators went in to the primaries, the competing forces deployed all their intrigues, to the extent that Sharon, who was considered an underdog, won the APC’s contentious primary held in Awka. The forces against Ekwunife worked discreetly, weakened her position and threw her out of the contest. At the end of it all, Sharon was declared the APC-preferred candidate and she cruised to victory amidst the uncertainty trailing the expected re-run contest.

The intrigues continued as Sharon Ikeazor geared up for the contest. She had started campaigning with her posters pasted in strategic places in Awka and other key cities within the Central Zone. Still basking in the euphoria of her victory over Ekwunife, Sharon was full of enthusiasm and was optimistic that she would beat Chief Victor Umeh, the All Progressives Grand Alliance candidate, who was considered the remaining strong contender in the race.

However, it was apparent that she had yet to grasp fully, both the import of the Supreme Court decision over the Anambra Central seat and how the INEC would implement the said apex court decision.

The fact was that, as she moved on with her campaign, the INEC came up with a declarative statement purporting that only the candidates who participated in the cancelled April 2015 Anambra Central senatorial election, would participate in the March 2016 rerun election. And with this latest development, Sharon has since reclined to her shelf as not much has been heard from her, even as the focus has been shifted to Ngige and Umeh.

So far, it was gathered that some forces were discreetly pushing Ngige to come out and take part in the contest again, to give APC a new lease of life in Anambra and send shivers down the spine of Umeh, a move that had not manifested as Ngige is still clinging tightly to his ministerial position.

The camp of Victor Umeh has gone full blast, cementing their strategies and reaching out to the key stakeholders that would influence voting during the re-run election. Recently, Umeh was upbeat and filled with enthusiasm at the Women Development Centre, Awka, where APGA leaders and chieftains, drawn from the 21 local government areas, formally handed the beacon of victory to him.