The list of governorship candidates provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja on Friday elicited conflicting reactions from several leaders in Anambra.
Many people were surprised by the list because notable names such as Prof Chukwuma Soludo and Mr Valentine Ozigbo, who were expected to run for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), respectively, were absent.
While Rep Chukwuma Umeoji was nominated for the APGA, the PDP did not have a candidate.
Sen. Andy Uba and Dr. Akachukwu Nwankpo, as well as their deputies, were nominated for the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In response to the open seat in the PDP, Mr Samuel Anyakorah, a party chieftain belonging to the Chukwudi Umeaba faction, said his side was satisfied that INEC followed the law.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), the PDP held two primary elections on June 26: one for the Umeaba Caretaker Committee and one for the PDP national leadership.
Anyakorah said it was surprising that Ozigbo’s name was posted while the case contesting his candidacy’s legitimacy was still pending in court.
According to him, “that is exactly what we intended,” and “we are pleased that INEC followed the court’s orders.” “The substantive litigation is still continuing,” he says, “and as I speak with you, we have adopted our cases and are awaiting judgment.”
“When the matter is determined by the court, INEC will know the right candidate to list,” he said.
Chief Valentine Ayika, a director with the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Campaign Organization, told NAN that the development had gone off without a hitch aside from its diversionary effect.
The regrettable aspect of the scenario, according to Ayika, is that Ozigbo’s qualifications would not be scrutinized at the same time as those of his contemporaries.
He was disappointed that the court would halt an election that was already underway in violation of the Electoral Act, claiming that some people had mislead the court.
He did say, however, that Ozigbos’ names will be released 30 days before the election, in accordance with norms, once the cases had been resolved, because they had no standing to dispute a procedure they were not a part of.
Mr Jude Okoye, a staunch APGA supporter, said the nomination of Umeoji for the party was a welcome notion in light of the party leadership’s “impunity.”
If Umeoji’s candidacy is confirmed, Okoye, who described Umeoji as a grassroots politician, believes he is a unifier with the potential to win the Nov. 6 election.
The Soludo Campaign Organisation responded by claiming that the premise on which Umeoji was recognized by INEC was unsustainable, and that the Economist would run for office on the APGA ticket.
Joe Anatune, a director in the organization, issued a statement urging the Anambra electorate to be calm while their legal team dealt with the situation.
“Therefore, there is no need for Anambra people and all lovers of progress in Nigeria to be worried about the judgment, the judgment will be set aside.
“We thought that the state had passed the stage where some politicians moved from one end of the country to the other in the dead of the night in search of judicial orders to impose themselves on the people.
“Our supporters should rather remain supremely confident of not only Soludo’s participation in the November 6 gubernatorial vote but also his triumph in the polls with a big margin,” it stated.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN