The crisis afflicting the Peoples Democratic Party at the national level has taken a significant toll on the Anambra State chapter, putting the party under serious pressure to seek an alternative. Emeka Osondu reports From basic indications, things have fallen apart in the country’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, which is acclaimed to be the largest party in sub-Saharan Africa. The toll of the happenings at the PDP national level on the Anambra State chapter has been considerable. The crisis rocking the party at the national level has negatively affected it in the state.
Today, PDP in Anambra State appears to be comatose, as it is enmeshed in a bitter struggle among members for the choice of the party’s candidate ahead of the November 16 governorship election.
Between INEC and NWC
Two candidates produced by parallel congresses – Senator Andy Uba and Comrade Tony Nwoye – are fighting for the right to carry the PDP governorship flag.
Since the August 24 state primaries, where the faction led by Ejike Oguebego produced Uba while Nwoye emerged from the Ken Emeakayi group, the state chapter has not known peace.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission said it recognised the Oguebego-led primary election, which it supervised, and from where Uba emerged, the National Working Committee of PDP pitched tent with the Emeakayi faction that produced Nwoye.
Torrent of Court Cases
An avalanche of court injunctions have emerged from the opposing factions, as each lays claim to the governorship ticket. A Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt late last month ordered INEC to recognise Uba as the PDP governorship candidate in Anambra State, while also restraining Nwoye from parading himself as a candidate for the election. The court held that the primary election that produced Nwoye was not supervised by the body empowered by the Electoral Act to monitor the process.
Curiously, the same Federal High Court in Port Harcourt soon vacated the injunction restraining the recognition of Nwoye.
But there appears to be even bigger hurdles. One of the governorship aspirants, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, secured another court injunction restraining the two warring governorship candidates from parading themselves as PDP candidates in the November 16 election in the state.
These developments may spell doom for PDP in Anambra State in the forthcoming governorship election unless the party moves fast to look for an acceptable alternative factor to beat the September 17 INEC deadline for the submission of names of governorship candidates by the political parties.
The PDP in Anambra State is currently under serious pressure to go back to the drawing board to strategise on the way forward. One of the options for the party may be to pick from the list of its aspirants to the August 24 primary a neutral candidate who is unaffected by the current power-play.
Analysts say the party can pick from aspirants such as Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, Senator Emma Anosike, Chief Ugochukwu Okeke, and others who contested the primary election but were not successful.
Okeke is believed to stand tall among the aspirants because he is visible on both sides of the divide. He has a large followership in Anambra State and has connections both within and outside the country from which he can tap to aid business growth and effective governance if he is elected.
He is also said to possess the wherewithal to challenge the candidates of the other major parties, like All Progressives Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance, and Labour Party, given his formidable structures across the state.
Okeke has promised a programme of massive industrialisation, mechanised farming, quality education, rural electrification, and youth and women empowerment, among others, for the people of the state. Many are agreed that these are what the state needs to achieve the economic and social transformation that will improve the lives of the people.
Okeke, who is one of the 15 aspirants cleared to contest the primaries by the party, has expressed worry about the protracted crisis over the choice of the governorship candidate of the party. He said all stakeholders in the party should close ranks and work for the upliftment and strengthening of the party.
“We as party faithful must align ourselves and be loyal to the president and give him the total and undiluted support needed to move this country to greater heights,” he said.
A political group, the Anambra National Youths Initiative, has also challenged the national leadership of PDP to take urgent steps to address the crisis bedeviling Anambra State chapter of the party, noting that the crisis is more spiritual than physical and would never cease until atonement is made. In a press statement signed by the group’s national coordinator, Uchem Obi, and national secretary, Blessing Ileboh, it lamented that the crisis in the Anambra PDP had cost the party a lot. It added that if the right things were not done urgently, the crisis may be the forerunner of a disastrous outing in the governorship election scheduled for November. The statement said, “This tragedy is about to repeat itself and the party seems not to understand what has gone wrong. PDP should reflect on the circumstances that made them lose the state in 2003. That was where the party’s crisis started and the resolution of the crisis lies in the ability of the party to deal with the truth of what happened in 2003.
“It was in that year that Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, then governor of Anambra State, and his brother in Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, were denied second term tickets despite the gentlemanly agreement PDP had with its governors, that they all would have second terms.
“In manufacturing excuses to deny Mbadinuju second-term ticket, a lot of evil was committed in the state. Lies, blackmail, treachery and insubordination were encouraged and financed in the state, to make it ungovernable. “The party lost Anambra to APGA in 2003 and again in 2010 and with the present crisis, we are worried that the party may lose again in November and such loss may be counter-productive to President Goodluck Jonathan’s ambition in 2015