No doubt, the political atmosphere in Anambra State has changed since the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixed November 16, 2013 for the State’s governorship election.
The ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and the recently registered All Progressives Congress (APC) considered as the formidable political parties ahead of the contest have been preparing for the impending titanic battle.
Familiar faces have been moving from one political party to another in order to actualize their aspiration to become the next governor of Anambra State after Mr Peter Obi of APGA whose tenure will soon expire.
Among the politicians who are planning to occupy the exalted seat are Dr Chris Ngige, Senator Andy Uba, Dr Ifeanyi Uba, Prof.Charles Soludo, Senator Emmanuel Anosike, Senator Alphonsus Ubanesse Igbeke, Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Tony Okey Nwoye, Chief Josephine Anenih, Mrs Uche Ekwunife , Oseloka Obaze, Uzoh Obinna Chukwudum, Okeke Ugochukwu, Okoye Michael, Obiogbolu Alexander Odikasigbue, Ugokwe Jerry Sonny, Okeke Walter Ubaka, Charles Odunukwe Charles, Chuba Ikpeazu, Azodo Eucharia Okwunna, Okonkwo Donatus Chukwunonso, Onyema Chuwuka Wilfred, Kramer Agape Ifunayachukwu, Onyenisi Obianuju, Adimachukwu Calista, and Udemba Chinyere among others.
Sunday Trust specifically takes a look at the powers behind Chris Ngige, Andy Ubah and Charles Soludo who are three key political figures among these governorship aspirants who are considered as heavyweight contenders ahead of the forthcoming November 16, 2013 gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
Dr Chris Ngige
Dr Chris Ngige is not a strange politician in Anambra State. Ngige was governor from May 29, 2003 to March 17, 2006 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). His 33 months in office were characterised by populist programmes, especially road construction, leaving him in good standing with the electorate.
The trained medical doctor has a lot factors that may work for him in the November 16 governorship election if he emerges victorious at the primary election expected to be conducted by the newly registered All Progressives Congress (APC) to pick its sole candidate.
Firstly, Ngige is loved by people in Anambra State because of commendable performance he exhibited during his brief stint as Governor. This may be one of the reasons why the current Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District was elected on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in April 2011 before his party recently merged with the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form the APC. He defeated the former Minister of Information and Communications Professor Dora Akunyili of the APGA, with 69,765 votes to Akunyili’s 69,292.
Secondly, he will have the backing of members and supporters of the defunct ACN, ANPP and CPC. He will also enjoy the support of national leaders of the APC, including the former Head of State retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the former Governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that of the 11 APC governors among others. Thirdly, his political experience as grassroots mobiliser will further boost the chance he has at the forthcoming polls if eventually considered by his party. So, he is expected to get both moral and financial support from these critical stakeholders from his party. It must be noted that Ngige was a founding member of the PDP. By 1999, he was Assistant National Secretary and Zonal Secretary of PDP in the South East geo-political zone.
Born on August 8, 1952, Ngige graduated from the University of Nigeria-Nsukka in 1979 as a medical doctor. He immediately went into the civil service, serving at the National Assembly and State House clinics at different times. He retired in 1998 as a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Health.
Senator Emmanuel Andy Uba
Andy Uba is not a pushover in the politics of Anambra State, considering his wide connection and past political records. As one of the governorship aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he has the brighter chance of securing the sole ticket of the party at the primary election. His closeness with the immediate past Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman of the PDP Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is seen as one factor that may favour his chance at the polls if he is eventually considered as PDP gubernatorial candidate. In fact, he was appointed Special Assistant on Special Duties and Domestic Affairs to former President Obasanjo because of his contribution to success of the 1999 presidential election while he was in the United States. Uba was described as the President’s right-hand man. He was elected Governor in the April 14, 2007 elections. After spending 15 days, the court nullified his election after the challenge by Governor Peter Obi who said that because the courts had only accepted that he won the April 2003 elections on March 15, 2006, he still had three more years or his four-year term to serve. He ran for the same position in 2010 on the platform of the Labour Party, coming third. Uba returned to the PDP and was elected Senator for the Anambra South District in April 2011 on the PDP platform.
He is considered as one aspirant that has the financial power to prosecute the governorship campaign to a logical conclusion. Andy Uba’s younger brother Chris Uba is a member of the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) who has remained a controversial politician because of the alleged role he played in the purported kidnap of Dr Chris Ngige in 2003.
Uba, who was born on December 14, 1958 in Enugu, has his parents originated from Uga, in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. He attended the Boys High School Awkunanaw, Enugu State.
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo was the immediate past Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). After the expiration of his tenure, Soludo contested the governorship election in Anambra State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, losing to Governor Peter Obi of APGA.
Before losing the election, 47 PDP aspirants struggled with him to get the sole ticket in 2009. The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) had to persuade other aspirants to support him as a consensus candidate after getting the support of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.
On July 17, 2013, Soludo resigned from the PDP after a letter to the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. He later joined the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in preparation for the November 16, 2013 governorship race in Anambra State.
Soludo’s chance at the polls will first be determined by his ability to get the sole ticket of APGA during the forthcoming primary election to choose the party’s flag bearer.
If he succeeds, the economics professor, who was born on July 28, 1960, may have to rely on his perceived solid performance as the CBN Governor as he still remains a respected economic policy authority in Nigeria.
As a key figure during the Obasanjo regime, political analysts say Soludo may also get the support of the former President. Prior to his May 2004 appointment to the CBN chairmanship, he held the positions of Chief Economic Adviser to former President Obasanjo and Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission. Soludo joined the Federal Government in 2003.
He obtained his three degrees and then professorship at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, Enugu State. He graduated with a First Class Honors degree in 1984, an M.Sc. Economics in 1987, and a Ph.D. in 1989, winning prizes for the best student at all three levels.