HOW ANAMBRA POLLS TORE HDP APART
The Anambra State governorship polls have come and gone. But the ripples it generated are yet to settle. In the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, the result is tearing down the cohesion and unity in the party.
There is a war of attrition between the governorship candidate, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and his running mate, Barrister Mike Okoye. Though Ukachukwu has accepted the result of the polls in good faith and it's in no dispostion to contest it. Okoye thinks otherwise.
This has triggered off a war which has the capacity of destroying the fragile organs of the party. Okoye allegedly sent in a petition against Peter Obi's victory without the consent and participation of Ukachukwu.
Observers believe that Ukachukwu may be forced out of the party which, according to a source, he spent fortunes to bring into limelight. Also, another school of thought believes that the business mogul may have entered into an understanding with Obi without the consent of the party leadership, and his deputy, hence the reason for the petition to attract attention from Peter Obi's administration.
However, to those who have been following the political development in Anambra till date, Ukachukwu wants nothing but to be governor, and that is the reason he may not betray his party and his deputy for political gain. According to them, severally, he has made huge political investments since 1999 without benefit. Daily Sun reliably gathered that since 2003, successive governments have been giving him the opportunity to nominate or recommend those to be made commissioners, chairmen of councils and board chairmen which most of his political loyalists have attested to as beneficiaries. So, he may be exercising authority as the sole sponsor of HDP.
Governor Peter Obi has stated in his victory speech, that he will run an open door administration and will carry others along. This shows that Ukachukwu interests may yet be accommodated.
Drama at Ukachukwu mother's burial
According to our source, a drama ensued at the burial of Madam Loveline Ukachukwu, the mother of Hon Nicholas Ukachukwu. When Governor Peter Obi arrived the venue, Barr. Mike Okoye left unceremoniously and only Ukachukwu was to welcome fellow politicians who came to console him and the entire family. Ukachukwu spent time with the governor before the latter left. The question on many lips, is why the sudden loss of cohesion between Ukachukwu and Okoye who before and during the election were inseparable.
This gave rise to the belief that there is a crack in the party. Our sources also revealed that many people especially those who know Ukachukwu warned Okoye not to accept being his running mate, because, according to them, he is good at using and dumping mostly his running mates immediately after election since 2003. But many believe that Barr Okoye refused to be used and dumped as he decided to challenge Obi's election, if that can make him relevant unlike his predecessors who disappeared after election. Also observers are of the view that Okoye has an intimidating political history which Hon. Ukachukwu may not be comfortable with. Okoye was a National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) member, one of the groups that fought for the democracy we are enjoying today. Also his father contributed to the creation of Anambra State. This and many more cannot be ignored.
The era of criss crossing from one party to another by Hon Ukachukwu may be over as he might have decided to pitch his tent finally with Hope Democratic Party. According to Chief Okey Paul Emeka, a political analyst and member, Omaballa Youth Forum from Ayamelu local government area, the problem 'Ikukuoma' will face or is already facing is the control of the party. As he puts it, the HDP is the brainchild of Barr Okoye who he believes registered the party but because of lack of funds existed merely on INEC register of political parties until Hon Ukachukwu showed up and threw his weight behind the party and ever since then the party is a household name. Sun also gathered that having popularized the party, Barr. Okoye is afraid of losing the party to Ikukuoma whose political structure is presently the life wire of HDP in Anambra State. Also many see HDP as a vehicle for Hon Ukachukwu to launch himself into political mainstream with his vast connections especially with the northern ruling class where his success story began.
A member of 'Ikukuoma Solidarity Organization',who pleaded anonymous, accused Okoye of betraying the HDP candidate. According to him, nobody in Anambra State knew that HDP was among the political parties registered by INEC until Hon Ukachukwu , as a result of the fall- out in PDP joined the party, a development that has made HDP visible in all the electoral wards in Anambra State.
He said Okoye's petition seeking to challenge the election in which Obi was declared winner without consulting the standard bearer is of great concern. Ukachukwu has refuted the story and disclaimed the move and it is expected that Okoye would render an apology to the party and Ukachukwu whom he did not only embarrass but wanted to portray as an enemy of the state.
The entire HDP members in Anambra State met and agreed that Ukachukwu should congratulate Obi, but Barr Okoye never objected to this decision only to chose toe embarrassing line.
Also, another school of thought sees Okoye's action as the only option to be in firm grip of the party he registered as he is believed to be afraid of Ukachukwu hijacking the party thereby rendering him irrelevant. According to them, since 2003, when Ukachukwu completed his tenure in the House of Representatives, where he represented the Federal Capital Territory and returned to Anambra State to vie for senate and was substituted with Ugochukwu Uba, PDP has continued to lose Anambra State to the opposition.
Also, they believe that all the parties he had joined never remained the same. They cited example of All Nigeria Peoples Party he joined in 2003 after leaving PDP, and contested for senate but fell out with the chairman of the party, Chief Edwin Umezoke after the 2007 election when he contested and lost the governorship bid. He left and that weakened the party that used to be the strongest opposition in the state then. However, many are of the opinion that Ukachukwu 's enemies are after him by turning his deputy against him to pay him back for shattering their political calculations.
Those in support of Ukachukwu insist that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. They see Ukachukwu as an asset to the party who should not be toyed with because today he is the beautiful bride being wooed by virtually all the parties in the state to dump HDP with automatic ticket to run for Senate in 2011 which they believe he has turned down.
Also, those who are in support of the Osumenyi Prince see Okoye as fighting a lost battle because according to them, Ukachukwu is the toast of members of the party and preferred more than any indvidiual or group in the party.
But those in support of Okoye are convinced he is more of a politician than Ukachukwu who they believe only throws money around with a view that money is everything in politics.
The new twist in the party is bound to elicit strong reactions from within and outside the state. The die is cast.