THE ANAMBRA GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: INTERESTING TIMES ARE HERE
THE TONY NWOYE PHENOMENON
By Anthony Opara
All is almost set for the epic battle for the Anambra Government House in Awka as the political parties are out to slug it out and either return Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) or replace him with any of the candidates of the other political parties challenging the dominance of APGA in the state. It does appear that when all is said and done the main battle will be between the candidate of the All Progressive Alliance (APC) Dr Tony Nwoye and the incumbent Governor.
Tony Nwoye is known for his grassroots political support in Anambra State and was in 2013 the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party which lost to APGA. He is on record to be the youngest man to emerge Chairman of a political party the PDP when he beat all comers in 2006 at the age of 31. Before then he was Secretary of the party. An activist, Dr Nwoye who studied at both the University of Nigeria (UNN) and the Ebonyi State University was a student union activist and was the first medical student to become a Speaker of the Students Union House of Representatives at UNN later became NANS President in 2003. He was awarded a prize for his fight against cultism by the UNN Vice Chancellor Professor Ginigeme Mbanefo.
It was not surprising that he would emerge a dynamic politician of sorts and has been a key player in the politics of Anambra state after leaving the University. Some Anambrarians recall his time in the camp of the Ubah brothers and some people refer to him as a boy of Senator Andy Ubah who he beat with a landslide in what has been described as a stunning and undeniable defeat of a boy against his master.
There are many who see the hand of money man, Chief Arthur Eze in the defeat that Tony Nwoye handed over to all other contestants including Chief George Moghalu an operative of the APC who cane a distant third. Moghalu came from the Dr Ogbonnaya Onu faction of the ANPP that merged to form the APC. Both Nwoye and Uba were yesterday PDP chieftains who later dumped the party for the APC to seek the Governorship ticket. Senator Uba has since returned to the PDP on losing the primary election which many say is typical of the politician from Ugah whose family tried to illegally remove an elected Governor which role was played by the enfant terrible of the Family Chris Ubah who singlehandedly got into office almost all the Senators and members of the state Assembly. He had pocketed the Governor Dr Chris Ngige and when Ngige appeared not to be totally subservient, he attempted to remove him with the help of the Assistant Inspector General of Police for Zone 9 with headquarters in Umuahia who rather than take the Governor to his village took him to a hotel where a good Samaritan gave him a cell phone with which he called on Alhaji Abubakar Atiku who elected the Director General of Radio Nigeria who broadcast the news of the kidnap of a sitting and thus averted what would have been a fiat accompli as the Deputy Governor was on hand to be sworn in as Governor. Also the State Chief Judge also helped matters on the side of Dr Ngige when he disappeared and was unavailable to administer the oath of office before the bubble burst.
Its interesting that Chief Ngige who is now the Minister of Labour featured prominently in this APC primaries albeit negatively. Senator Uba alleged that he gave money to the former Governor to fix the primary for him but apparently he didn’t have the capacity to do so but rather than return the money, the former Governor said the money was used for wetting the ground and running logistics for the Senator who became a Governor for two weeks until the court removed him from office and gave power to Mr Peter Obi saying that he was duly elected. Uba who served as President Obasanjo’s Special Assistance on Domestic Issues is known for nearly causing a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United States of America when he conveyed several thousands of Dollars aboard the Presidents jet which he said was to buy farming instruments. His ambition to rule Anambra State is legendary and one more time he has been roundly rebuffed even when he moved into a new party to realize this ambition beaten by one who in the past had campaigned for the Government House in Awka.
Dr Tony Nwoye, 42 represents Anambra East West Constituency in the House of Representatives where many see him as a dynamic but ambitious politicians who knows how to get things done for his people. Now that he is a candidate many believe that Willie Obiano has a tough battle in his hands which is not helped by the current leadership tussle in his party between the National Chairman Chief Oye and Chief Agbaso elected by a factional party convention. The case is now in court and hence the party is not going into the election as a united body but sources close to the incumbent Governor believes that he has the support of the mainstream of the party especially the wife of the late Ikemba Nnewi whose image looms large in the hearts of all igbos because of his unchallenged position as Eze Igbo Gburugburu which translated means kings of the igbos world wide.
The election is also holding against the backdrop of threats by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who said elections will not hold in Anambra except the Government of Nigeria agrees to hold a referendum on the desire of the Igbos of the south east to be given Biafra as a country of their own. This threat had at first been cancelled when Igbo leaders intervened by many thought Kanu shouldn’t have made the threat in the first place, given that his friend Osita Chidoka, former Corp Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission as well as former Minister in the Jonathan administration is running for Governor under the auspices of the United Peoples Party (UPP). Chidoka it was, who picked up Kano from Kuje Prison when he was granted bail on very stringent conditiosn by Justice Binta Nyako. He was also instrumental in coordinating those who met the bail conditions that helped set Nnamdi Kanu free on bail, including the procurement of a Jewish rabbi who stood surety for the IPOB leader.
With Chidoka also said to be a man of the people and with the entrance of Tony Nwoye, the race will be an interesting one. And as we were concluding this piece, news filtered that Oseloka Obaze had emerged the candidate of the PDP for the November elections so its now open sesame for campaigns for the Governor’s lodge in Awka.
Editor’s note: This piece was written before the conclusion of the Anambra guber elections that has since produced Willie Obiano as governor.