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APGA decides in Anambra 

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Barring any last-minute change of heart, former Central Bank governor, Prof. Charles Soludo is on the verge of being made the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state, through the insistence of Governor Willie Obiano. Southeast Bureau Chief, NWANOSIKE ONU gives a background to today’s APGA primary and the implication of the development for the ruling party

 

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is enmeshed in crisis ahead of the governorship election scheduled to hold on November 6. The party’s primary, which is taking place today at the Prof Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre in Awka is already embroiled in crisis.

 

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The governorship battle is between the government forces and the other contenders. Without giving other aspirants an opportunity to stake a claim to the party’s ticket, Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano and his troop have already chosen the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo to fly the party’s flag during the November 6 governorship election.

 

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To achieve their purpose, the APGA leadership had to disqualify some key aspirants such as Chukwuma Umeoji, who currently represents Aguata Federal Constituency at the National Assembly and Smart Okafor, who represents Nnewi North State Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly.

 

A former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo and some other contenders were also disqualified for the primary.

 

But, the choice of Soludo by the forces that be without proper procedures in the party has led to a major division within the APGA ahead of today’s primary.

 

Today is a major decision-making day in the life of the party that prides itself as a movement in Anambra State. The fight has equally led to the change of mantle at the national secretariat of the party, with Chief Jude Okeke being named last week as the new Acting National Chairman. The development came as the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) sacked the two factional chairmen that had been laying claim to the position.

 

While some key stakeholders have continued to warn the party leadership about what they describe as the looming disintegration signals facing APGA as a political platform, some others say there is no cause for alarm. For instance, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka (Ogilisi Igbo) has warned those trying to foment trouble in APGA to desist forthwith.

 

He said the removal of former factional National Chairman, Chief Victor Oye and other chieftains of the party means they want to incur the wrath of the party. He urged them to sheathe their swords before it is too late. Ezeonwuka was referring to last week’s suspension of Oye as National Chairman and the appointment of Okeke in his place as acting chairman.

 

Speaking with The Nation, Ezeonwuka alleged that Okeke and his group were hired by opposition political parties to disorganize APGA.

 

Another chieftain of the party, Comrade Obi Ochije also told The Nation that such efforts will end up in futility. He insisted that APGA does not have any form of crisis.

 

Ochije said the Okeke-led group is disgruntled and is scheming to extort money from those he described as the gullible ones.

 

He added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already taken the delegates list for the primary from the Oye-led national executive and that the party’s primary election will go unhindered in a free and fair manner.

 

Already, the Governorship Screening Committee has disqualified the major challenger to Soludo to pave the way for the renowned economist to emerge as the party’s flag bearer. The trio disqualified are the ones considered as obstacles to Soludo’s emergence.

 

Those cleared to contest today’s primary are Prof. Soludo, Damian Okolo, ThankGod Ibe and Ezenwankwo Okwudili.

 

But, the disqualified aspirants have appealed the party’s decision, while further directives are being waited. The Nation gathered at the weekend that the party said they remain disqualified, which means they would not take part in today’s primary.

 

The party’s decision to disqualify the major contenders without cogent reason has already made today’s exercise a mere formality. There is no obstacle standing between Soludo and the party’s ticket, as none of the other aspirants has what it takes to challenge the former CBN governor.

 

Besides, no one challenges his or her ‘Chi’ (personal god) because the governor is such in this game. The same scenario played out some years back between former Governor Peter Obi and Senator Uche Ekwunife at the same Prof Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre. The rest is history.

 

Before the disqualification exercise, The Nation learnt that all political appointees had been lined up to vote for Soludo to coast to victory.

 

The powers must have seen the handwriting on the wall, thus the decision of the screening committee to weed out those that would possibly challenge the former CBN governor for the ticket.

 

Soludo has already been declared the winner of the primary even before the contest. But, will the wounded continue keeping mum? One of the chieftains of the party, who spoke with The Nation in confidence, said “this is the beginning of the end of APGA”.

 

The source said they are still meeting and discussing the entire scenario; to consider what the far-reaching implications will be for APGA.

 

The party’s State Chairman, Sir Norbert Obi told The Nation that the primary will take place unfailingly at Prof Dora Akunyili Women’s Development Centre. He said what some people see as a crisis in APGA is part of the thing that makes the party stronger as a family.

 

On the disqualification of the aspirants, Obi declined to comment. Rather, he said only the screening committee has the mandate to talk about it.

 

Soludo has a date with history today, as he grabs the ticket of the party to replace Obiano. Whatever problem APGA is facing now the leaders must have it at the back of their minds the Zamfara experience of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

 

But, will APGA family continue to be the same after the primary to face the  challenges of the opposition parties? Only time will tell.

 

 

Source: www.thenationonlineng.net

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