As Anambra people go to poll this weekend to elect the number one citizen of the state, the atmosphere ahead of the poll is a combination of anxiety, fear and hope amidst fears of disruption by the one week stay-at-home ordered by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The tension, understandably heightens everyday as the clock ticks towards the November 6 date for the governorship election in Anambra State. The candidates and their political parties in the race for the state number one seat are slowly winding down their campaign trains to bed and setting up their various situation rooms for the last minute gameplan, to outwit other contestants before and during the electoral contest this Saturday.
There are 18 candidates as released by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the election, the names released by INEC were Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Sen. Andy Uba of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The list signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner in charge of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee also had Sen Ifeanyi Uba as the candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP). Dr. Obiora Okonkwo would fly the flag of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Others were Obiora Agbasimalo, Labour Party; Dr. Godwin Maduka, Accord Party’s; Bennet Etiaba, ( AA); Chidozie Nwankwo,( AAC); Akachukwu Nwankpo (ADC), Afam Ume-ezeoke (ADP); Geoffrey Onyejegbu (APM); Philip Echetebu (APP), Okeke Chika Jerry (BOOT Party). Leonard Ohajinkpo will contest on the platform of NNPP, Afam Ezenwafor for NRM, Nnamdi Nwawuo for PRP and Obinna Uzoh for SDP.
While many believed that until the election is held and someone is returned as a winner, it will be difficult to predict who will carries the day, some others have narrowed the contest down to a race among four candidates and political parties.
The four candidates are Soludo of the ruling APGA, Uba of the APC, Ozigbo of the PDP and Ubah of the YPP, this is according to their current political coverage across the state and the political structures they and their political parties have amassed to prosecute Saturday’s governorship election. Furthermore, analysts are of the opinion that the candidates of these leading parties possess the required deep pockets, human resources and political wherewithal to pull the rug off the feet of their competitors on Saturday.
Other platforms such as the ZLP, LP and the Accord Party have shown some consistency in their campaigns and mass mobilisation ahead of the election, but It is believed that contrary to the posturing of some of the candidates of these parties, they lack the needed financial muscles to spring any surprise at the polls. As the parties are all relatively new to the people of Anambra state, and lack the much the needed support base across the state to make any appreciable impact in the election.
It is also observed that the election is basically a testing ground for three political parties of APC, PDP and APGA to test their political strength ahead of 2023 general elections. For ruling party at the centre, APC, it is an opportunity to consolidate the gain of 2019 in Imo state where they won and clinched one state out of five in South East region. But for Governor Willie Obiano and APGA, the poll means being able to pass on the gavel of authority to another member of the party that have been in control of the state since 2006, the way it was given to him by Peter Obi before they part ways. And to also know which party to support in the 2023 presidential election. For Obi, even though he had long played his part as governor, the election would present yet another opportunity to prove to top hierarchies of PDP, that he is a force to be reckon with in the state and spite Obiano, after missing the chance in 2017, when Obiano ran for reelection.
If APC win, they will have 2 states in South East going into 2023 presidential election, if APGA won, they will remain only party to have a state under its control asides APC and PDP that spread across the nation. While for PDP, it is a case of returning prodigal state to its fold.