Soludo: Grappling with APGA’s hidden forces
Posted by News Express | 5 April 2021 | 232 times
•Prof. Chukwuma Soludo
The attack on the former Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo, has shown that there are serious rumblings in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State ahead of the governorship election in November. OKEY MADUFORO reports.
The tide of Anambra State political waters is becoming volatile following the underground plot to stop the former Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo.
This development has given rise to the reasons why the Isuofia-born economist is battling against the desperations of his traducers. It is still unknown those who are behind this dastardly act but it has become instructive that the wanted man has to be understudied over what makes him the marked man.
So far, six persons have indicated an interest in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship ticket, namely, Prof Soludo; Chief Chukwuma Umeoji, member representing Aguata Federal Constituency; Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, member representing Orumba North and South Federal Constituency; Chief Damian Okolo; Chief Akachukwu Nwamkpo and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu.
The party as it stands now is battling against the in-house rumbling over who becomes its candidate and what his status must look like as well as the process of his eventual emergence.
Words had it that after the declaration of Soludo at the party-state secretariat and those of Ezenwankwo and Umeoji other likely aspirants were allegedly asked to make their declarations at the wards or local government level and no longer in Awka. Though the party-state chairman, Chief Nobert Obi had refuted this allegation, no other aspirant has set his or her foot on the party secretariat ever since then and stakeholders and some party fateful have their reservations.
The deep contention is not far as supporters of the three other aspirants have gone to town to protest over what they described as conclusive the party’s primary election, kicking that the party has anointed Soludo as the chosen one even before the exercise.
They are insisting that a free, fair and credible primary election should be conducted in order to ensure the transparency of the electoral process. Consequent to this development, party members under the platform of APGA Integrity Forum for Democracy (AIFFD), have resolved to challenge the emergence of Soludo if it goes against the party constitution and the Electoral Act.
According to its Convener Chief Chuka Ibezim, “Our party, going by its body language, has foreclosed that no other aspirants would be given a level playing ground to contest and this is undemocratic and unacceptable to us in the party.
Our chairman Norbert Obi should be mindful of his actions because it is not only Soludo that is qualified to fly the flag of our party in Anambra State and we also have other aspirants like Akachukwu Nwamkpo, Hon Chukwuma Umeoji and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu Umeoji among others.”
Apart from AIFFD, another aspirant of the APGA, Uchenna Umeoji who spoke through one of his supporters Mr Chiadikobi Ezenwankwo, contended that he is at home with the party constitution and electoral guidelines.
He warned that any declaration of Soludo’s victory against the run of play would mean the end of APGA in the state. “This plot to impose Soludo on the party is dead on arrival and whatever they are planning cannot work and this party is not the property of one man or few people.”
Similarly, party members are apprehensive about the fate of the party after the election.
They expressed fears that Soludo may join the All Progressives Congress (APC) giving his relationship with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as a member of the Economic Team. Ibezim lamented that the former apex bank governor should not be trusted because his body is in APGA while his soul is in APC and there is a likelihood of him joining the APC after the election.
But the National Vice President and state chairman of the United Anambra Youth Assembly (U-AYA), Chief Ogochukwu Egolum, described the concerns of other aspirants as a show of fear.
“The plot cannot fly and they all know it. Our party respects democratic principles and we have never gone against them from inception. “Prof Charles Soludo is one man that has always been against illegality and he respects due process which was made manifest when he was the CBN governor.
Most of the aspirants are no match for him and that is why they are afraid of failure. Nobody has announced that APGA will not conduct the primary election and no one has been barred from contesting in APGA their only worry is how to beat Soludo which is giving them sleepless nights.
“The so-called APGA Integrity Forum for Democracy (AIFFD) does not exist, they are members of the PDP and APC who are being planted in the party to cause problems and members should be careful in joining issues of this nature.
So people should be well informed before making comments about our party activities,” he said. However, for the rest of the five APGA aspirants, it is a case of a comparative apprehension of how they stand.
He was a member Federal House of Representatives for Abuja between 1999 and 2003. Later he contested for the senatorial seat of Anambra South under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the controversy that trailed the intraparty crisis over who is the substantive candidate of the party that won the election didn’t favour him rather Senator Ugochukwu Uba remain the candidate in a controversial Appeal Court judgement of former Justice Opene that drew that anger of the National Judicial Council NJC. Ukachukwu attempted the governorship ticket of the PDP and lost to Tony Nwoye in 2010 and tried his luck in 2013 when the APGA screening committee disqualified him before the primary election.
Recently, he lost the Anambra South Senatorial District election under APGA to Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) and today he is in the race for APGA gubernatorial ticket.
Though he has his supporters in the party, it is, however, not clear how he hopes to win given the epileptic political terrain of the party and he is yet to replicate the old vibrant political structure that he is known for. His failure to win the last National Assembly election seems to be a minus for his ambition because he would have by now built the structure he needs to out stage Soludo.
This is his second term as a National Assembly member and has been Chairman Aguata Local Government Area. Umeoji commands more patronage in his local government and enjoys some sympathy from Orumba North and South local government areas.
But in a broad-based contest Umeoji though an old APGA member has to make strong inroads in the Central and North senatorial districts of the party where Soludo has a firm grip. Similarly, he has to contend first with his colleague at the National Assembly Okwudili Ezenwankwo of Orumba Federal Constituency before battling with Soludo who is acclaimed as the man to beat.
Likewise, the standard-bearers in Anambra South District seem not to be with him at the moment and that is yet another odd against him. He can only gain mileage if Ezenwankwo collapses his structure into his (Umeoji) and forms a formidable force to beat Soludo which is not likely and the structure has to upstage other pan political organizations of the party in other Senatorial Districts.
His opponents are of the opinion that the gubernatorial position of Anambra State cannot be reduced to mere market leadership which he used to become a National Assembly member.
Even the process by which he emerged as the candidate of the party in the last election is still generating controversy within the party as it was alleged that the actual winner of the primary election was robbed.
His ambition is one that is seen by some members as a ploy to protect his National Assembly ticket in the next general election as a form of compensation after losing the primary or withdrawing his ambition. Deepening his fate is the market politics which he still has an interest in and his traducers in the Amalgamated Traders Association are accusing him of meddling in the affairs of the union even after handing over and they have vowed to give him a good run for his money.
Even the principalities and powers that be in APGA are not at home with his gubernatorial ambition and it was gathered that he has been advised to jettison his interest in the race which he described as untrue accusing his opponents of peddling rumours.
He is the fifth aspirant from Nnewi North local government area contesting for the November governorship election and it is not really clear who is behind his ambition.
Okolo is not the flamboyant type of politician and he sure does not have the requisite sagacity and wit to navigate the trouble Waters of APGA politics let alone the election proper.
He may appear as the lamb without blemish but the brand of Anambra politics at the moment does not accept his kind of candidacy.
But his supporters contend that his posture would attract the sympathy of the party members in the unlikely possibility of the crisis that they feel would herald the party primary election. Comparatively, Okolo as candidate of APGA would be an advantage for the PDP and APC and that is ultimate a good night for the party.
If the then federal government programme of SURE P is a success, then Nwamkpo is the man.
But there is no standard for measuring the success of SURE P in Anambra state enough for Akachukwu Nwamkpo to score political points that would secure him the ticket of APGA.
Nwampko no doubt is gifted for presenting ideas and full proof concepts such as A Breath of Fresh Air but how these concepts would rub off positively on his gubernatorial ambition is left for the party delegates to decide, which apparently is not one of the indicators of winning a primary election.
Similarly coming from the Ihiala local government area of Anambra North, pundits are of the opinion that he does not command that type of political strength to emerge as the candidate of the party.
His last attempt at the gubernatorial seat of the state ended up as anti-climax as it all started with high expectations but was not sustained and soon after the election, nothing was heard of him till now that he is in the race.
It has been touted that former President Goodluck Jonathan is behind his ambition and that Aso Rock has concluded that he is the candidate of the party but such reports have always deepened the odds against any aspirant in Anambra state and at a time when the electorates are becoming wiser the gimmick cannot fly.
Going by these permutations Soludo appears to be home and dry as an APGA candidate but has his own cross to carry. He must not go to sleep with the conviction that the ticket would be delivered as a Currier massage at his country home Isuofia.
He has to convince the party fateful that he would not extinguish the flame of APGA and join the APC if he becomes governor which is their fears. He has to separate his membership of President Buhari”s economic team from being a loyal party member and play deep into the family politics of APGA.
Source: News Express
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