CHESS BOARD POLITICS IN ANAMBRA (1999-2013)
From EMMANUEL UZOR, Onitsha
Since the return of democracy in 1999 till date, politicians have exhibited uncommon attitude in search of one political office or the other.In the cause of their quests to get or clinch unto political power, Anambra politicians have swapped political parties and have shown that platform is not only the determinant to getting to the zenith of their political career.
In fact, in every election year, every political party matters in Anambra state despite the many years of inactivity and political limbo, once it is election year, all the political parties return to their offices and begin to wait for their new beautiful brides because many politicians would abandon their original parties for them.There were many political parties that were not doing well and were not on the threshold of making history they were revived by some political heavyweights in the state in the cause of pursuing political ambitions.
From the Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA to Labour Party, life returned to almost all the political parties.Anambra politicians have strong political character and have almost insatiable quests to get power by all means; hence not even deficiency in any political party could deter them from such. However since the successive administrations in the state, many or almost all the big politicians have left the fold of their parties for another at one time or the other all in search for greener pastures.
While some political watchers posit that they have taken very big shot in the dark, others see it as the only way to get what was denied them in their respective political parties. Meanwhile, from the history of political prostitution and rebellion in the state, only few have benefited from such.Despite their financial muscles, many of them failed to click and tried to get power in their new found political parties. Others saw it not only as a political rebellion but political prostitution.Apart from Senator Chris Ngige and Mrs. Uche Ekwunife who defected to new political parties from PDP, others have not been such lucky in the history of Anambra state despite their might and financial strength.
Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju, 1999-2003: PDP-AD. He was elected the first governor of the state since the return of democracy in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP). However when he fell short of political grace as a result of the intractable political crises between him and his godfather and the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he was striped off the political robe. Frustrated and dejected Mbadinuju desirous of retaining his seat at the Awka government House defected to Alliance for Democracy, AD now ACN. He ran on the platform of the party after he led group of supporters that carried coffin rapped with PDP flag round Awka, the state capital. However he lost, the rest is history.
Senator Chris Ngige: 2003-2006: PDP-ACN-APC. Like his predecessor, Senator Chris Ngige who is the Senator representing Anambra Central on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, received his own political baptism of fire when he fell out with his estranged political godfather, Chris Uba and former President Obasanjo. Elected the governor of Anambra state on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in 2003, Ngige after his abduction saga and finally his sack by the court of Appeal left PDP to Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN where he is right now and with the merger, he may be going to APC.
Senator Andy Uba: 2007: PDP-LP-PDP: The Uga born politician is the Senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone. He won the governorship election in 2007. The former Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo is the shortest serving governor in the history of the state when his election was invalidated by the Supreme Court judgment. He vacated the office again for Governor Peter Obi.
He took another shot at the governorship in 2010 when he lost the PDP ticket to the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and defected to the Labour Party, LP and later went back to PDP where he won election to the Senate. He is out again for another strong political battle for the governorship seat of Anambra state and may likely defect to another party if he losses the PDP ticket. But only time will tell.
Mr. Peter Obi: 2006-date: PDP-APP-APGA-not yet known: The incumbent governor of the state before his emergence as APGA governorship candidate in 2003 was a strong member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state. Meanwhile, he left the fold of PDP for the All Progressives Grand Alliance; APGA and later became its candidate in 2003, contested and won the election. Though there have been speculations that he is nursing the ambition of returning to his former party, PDP, Obi had debunked the allegations that he is not going anywhere even with the intractable crises in APGA. While some people describe him as a man with integrity as it concerns dumping his political party even when his mates in Abia and Imo states did, others attributed it to the former warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu's pressure not to let the party die.
Senator Annie Okonkwo: 2007: PDP-ACCORD-APGA-APC: He represented Anambra Central senatorial zone from 2007 to 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. He left the party's fold in 2010 when he felt aggrieved over the outcome of the PDP primary election in the state in 2010 which Prof. Soludo won. The Ojoto born politician in Idemili South council area also tried to look for better days in Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA in 2010. He sought to return to the Senate in 2011 after he returned to PDP and lost the nomination form and ran on the platform of Accord Party. He joined the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA that is teaming up with APC.
Mrs. Uche Ekwunife: 2007-date: PDP-PPA-APGA: The female political bulldozer hails from Nri, Anaocha council area of the state. She is currently member representing Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka federal constituency. She won the first election to the National Assembly in 2007 on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP after which she left the party and contested the governorship election in 2010 on the platform of the Progressives Peoples Alliance, PPA. She left PPA after she lost her bid to be the governor of the state in 2010 and joined All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. Mrs. Ekwunife contested election and went back to the House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu: 2010: PDP-HDP-PDP: He was in PDP before he left, joined Hope Democratic Party, HDP in 2010 governorship election when he felt aggrieved over the outcome of the primary election in the state in 2010. He joined HDP and after that went back to PDP. In, 2011, he contested senatorial election on the platform of PDP with Senator Andy Uba and lost; he contested the outcome of the election in courts and lost too. However his political future is not yet known for now.
Obinna Uzoh: 2003 till date: PDP-NDP-PDP: The Ihiala born politician has had his fair share in the contests for the soul of the state government house right from 2003 he contested the governorship on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and lost the ticket to Senator Chris Ngige. He left the party and joined National Democratic Party, NDP and later went back to PDP where is one of the big aspirants to watch in 2014 governorship election in the state.
Dr. Alex Obiogbolu: PDP-APS-PDP: An Onitsha born political heavyweight who serviced as the former Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission. He has participated in the governorship elections in the state right from 2007 till date. He joined Africa Political System, APS when he left PDP in 2010 governorship election. Having learnt the lesson of defeat, Obiogbolu went back to PDP and has declared his intention to run for the governorship of the state on the platform of PDP.
Dora Akunyili: PDP-APGA. The former Director General of NAFDAC and Minister for Information and Communication hails from the same council area with Obi.She resigned her political position to contest the senatorial election to represent Anambra Central senatorial zone and lost to Senator Chris Ngige. Since then, she has been on the move, following Obi to almost every occasion.
Senator Joy Emordi-PDP-APGA-PDP: Senator Joy Emordi represented Anambra North senatorial zone and presently the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly Matters and has contested governorship elections in the state though without success. She may have thrown in the towel when she lost her bid to return to the Senate on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, hence may have found restitution again in the hands of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.