Former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State and now a governorship aspirant on the party’s platform, Comrade Tony Nwoye, has identified imposition of candidates during elections against the wishes of the people as the sole reason PDP has performed abysmally in the governorship election conducted in the state since 2003.
The first and only time the party produced the governor of the state was at the inception of civil democracy in 1999 when Dr.Chinwoke Mbadinuju was overwhelmingly elected under the party’s platform as the state governor.
But speaking weekend at the PDP stakeholders’ meeting in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Nwoye, who is a former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) publicly declared his aspiration to serve the state as governor after the incumbent, Mr. Peter Obi.
He declared that PDP had been losing the governorship and other elective positions in the state since 2003 because candidates put forward for election by the party were products of imposition who never won the primaries in the field.
He cited the February 10, 2010 governorship election in the state in which the Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam’s panel appointed by the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) to conduct the chapter’s primaries with a view to picking a candidate to fly its flag, changed the result of the primaries against the wish of the people.
He said that even when efforts were made to reverse the anomaly, the PDP rebuffed it and imposed Prof. Chukwuma Soludo on the party as its candidate, adding that although Soludo had sound pedigree behind him, that ill- feelings and bad blood which trailed the decision led to protest votes against his candidature as other aspirants who felt short changed dispersed to other parties to fly their flags in the election.
The party, he said, is now aware of the effects of imposing candidates on the people and had brought same to the knowledge of President Goodluck Jonathan whom he also said had ordered it’s NWC to conduct free and fair primaries in the state chapter of PDP prior to the governorship election expected to hold in December.
“Imposition is a thing of the past. Tickets will no longer be given in Abuja. There will now be primaries election where three delegates from each of the 326 wards in the state will elect the party’s flag bearer and whoever that wins will get the respect and support of other contestants and the party,” he said.
Nwoye said his motivation to serve the state as governor was inspired by a burning desire to create jobs, wealth and curb what he described as the alarming unemployment rate among the state’s youths which he identified as the major source of insecurity and kidnapping.
Towards this end, he said an agency that will solely be saddled with the responsibility of creating jobs for the unemployed through skill acquisition and soft loan for unemployed school leavers and graduates as well as women would be created.
He also said that while provision of infrastructure like roads, water and health care remain an obligation of any elected government to the people, he would also, if given the chance to fly the party flag and win the governorship election, ensure the upliftment of Awka to a befitting capital city and provide adequate security, while urging the supporters of the party to keep faith with him.