Editor’s note: Ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state, Legit.ng’s political editor, Nurudeen Lawal, predicts the top three candidates who have what it takes to emerge the winner.
There are 18 candidates and political parties participating in the Anambra governorship election, according to the document released by INEC. However, three candidates and parties appear to have a clear edge over the others.
Charles Chukwuma Soludo
Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
One of the factors that make Soludo a strong candidate and potential winner is the power of incumbency. In Nigeria and many other democracies across the world, the incumbent candidate or political party usually has a political advantage over challengers at elections.
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For over 15 unbroken years, from Peter Obi to Willie Obiano, APGA has remained the party to beat in Anambra. It is also the only state the party is controlling in Nigeria.
Though being a candidate of the ruling party does not guarantee the former CBN governor victory, it gives him some political edge.
Also, among the candidates contesting the Anambra guber poll, Soludo’s profile stands out. Apart from heading the nation’s apex bank, Soludo also has a unique experience of serving as an economic adviser for two of the country’s presidents; Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari.
As an economics professor, Soludo has also worked for various international financial institutions across the world.
Meanwhile, as a former governorship candidate of the PDP (2010), Soludo’s understanding of the political terrain of Anambra and his popularity among the Anambrians is not in doubt.
The challenge: One party, two candidates
However, the biggest challenge facing APGA in the election was its inability to put its house in order. The party was deeply divided into two factions which produced two different candidates; Soludo and Chukwuma Umeoji.
It took the intervention of the Supreme Court before Soludo was eventually certified as APGA’s candidate. Thus, APGA’s chances of winning are hinged on its ability to resolve the internal crisis and bring the aggrieved faction back into its fold before the election day; if it's not too late.
Though Valentine Ozigbo is relatively not a strong political figure in Anambra politics, the former president and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc (Transcorp) is standing on the shoulder of the PDP, an undoubtedly strong party, to take a shot at the Anambra state’s governorship seat.
When Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999, the first party to rule Anambra (1999-2006) was the PDP. Also, until very recently, the southeast appeared to have a soft spot for the nation’s opposition party.
Meanwhile, as the PDP makes efforts to return to power at the national level in 2023, the party understands the importance of winning Anambra state and will certainly pull its resources together to get the desired result.
All these make Ozigbo a strong candidate to beat in the forthcoming election.
The stumbling block to PDP’s victory
The internal crisis also rocked the PDP before Ozigbo eventually emerged as its candidate after a series of intense legal battles. The inability to manage the crisis well led to the exit of an aspirant, Godwin Maduka, who eventually emerged as the candidate of the Accord Party in the election.
Asked about the chances of the PDP in the forthcoming poll in an interview by Arise News TV, even the former Senate president Bukola Saraki admitted that the failure to manage the internal crisis well makes the poll a tough contest for his party, though he expressed optimism that Ozigbo will emerge the winner.
Unlike PDP’s Ozigbo, Andy Uba is a political veteran not only in Anambra politics but also at the national level. He was a former senator on the PDP’s platform and joined the APC in 2017. Prior to that, Uba also got a brief taste of the Anambra governorship seat in 2007; he occupied the seat for about 14 days before he was asked to vacate the seat for Peter Obi via a court order.
Uba also served as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s aide on domestic matters.
Apart from his political strength, he is flying the ticket of the party that is not just in power at the national level but also aggressively making efforts to take over the southeast in a bid to secure victory in 2023.
APC’s major problem in the southeast
Even with the defection of Governor Umahi and the shocking victory of Imo governor, Hope Uzodimma, at the Supreme Court, the APC still appears to be an unpopular party in the southeast. Things are also not too good for the party at the national level especially as many Nigerians accuse it of failing to deliver on its promises.
Also, though its own crisis was not as deep as that of the PDP and APGA, there were some party chieftains who were against the emergence of Uba as the party’s candidate.
The wildcard: Ifeanyi Ubah
Ifeanyi Uba is also a grassroots politician in Anambra state and has all it takes to win the poll. However, his party, the Young Progressives Party (PDP) is lesser-known compared to the APC and PDP.
Nevertheless, one cannot entirely rule Ubah out because even with the lesser-known YPP, he defeated the APC’s candidate and the incumbent, Senator Andy Uba, and the PDP’s flag bearer, Chris Uba, to emerge the senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the National Assembly.