David-Chyddy Eleke writes that the odds favour Senator Andy Uba who is taking another shot at the governorship seat of Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress
Four things will give Senator Andy Uba an edge over other aspirants in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election. These are; his acceptability among the electorates, his experience in the art of leadership, his doggedness, which can match any other candidate’s in other political parties and his deep pocket.
But the current hurdle before the former presidential aide, governor and lawmaker is how to secure the ticket of the APC for the election as the party is already crowded with lots of aspirants. In the primary election of the party, the four qualities above will also come to play in helping him secure the ticket, but most importantly is having shown himself to be a staunch and committed party man, despite all odds. In June, Uba would be slugging it out with 10 other aspirants for the ticket of the party. They are; Barr Ben Etiaba, Dr Amobi Nwokafor, , Dr George Moghalu, Paul Orajiaka, , Engr Johnbosco Onunkwo, Arc Geoff Onyejekwe and Hon Tony Nwoye.
Dedication to party
In 2017, Senator Andy Uba contested for the governorship ticket of the APC, but was stopped from picking the ticket because it was believed that giving the ticket to a candidate from any zone other than Anambra North senatorial zone would truncate the unwritten zoning arrangement in the state, thereby cutting short the term of the northern senatorial zone, where Governor Willie Obiano, who was then running for reelection hails from. The party settled for Hon Tony Nwoye who is from same zone as Obiano to battle him, but Nwoye lost.
Many in the party thought that Uba would leave the party out of annoyance, especially as it was believed that Nwoye who the party settled for was Uba’s ‘boy’, but they got it wrong. Uba insisted he would remain in the party and work for it, while pledging his commitment to work for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. Uba said, “Whatever I can do to make the party win, I will do. I will work for the party, and I will work to ensure it wins. APC is our party, I have done a lot for the party, and I will not leave it for any other political party, that is my resolve.”
True to his words, Uba remained in the party and also worked hard to sell President Buhari to the people of the state in the 2019 presidential election, Uba was the Anambra state coordinator for the 2019 elections, committing himself and his resources towards ensuring the victory of the president. Uba has also remained in APC and given his support to the party, helping to win more members for the party.
So far, Uba has been going around, preaching the message of both the APC and President Buhari. In a recent meeting with members of his electoral ward in Uga, Aguata Local Government Area, the former lawmaker told the people that Anambra State had more to gain when a governor under the All Progressives Congress takes over power in the state. Uba praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his projects in the South-east insisting that the APC has done far more than the PDP government would have done. He lashed out at the PDP, saying it only embarked on projects they used as a campaign slogan without completing them.
“The APC government is doing massively well and executing capital and land mark projects in every state in the South-east which the PDP failed to execute. They (PDP) cannot convince the people that President Buhari is not developing the South-east. That is what governance is all about. You cannot be governor or president, just for your area. You need a governor who will develop the state. When I become governor of Anambra State on the platform of the APC, it would positively affect the state because it is APC to APC and if you go to Imo State today, you can agree with me that Governor Hope Uzodima is working.
“When you understudy the past regimes in the state you will discover that the past governors concentrated on their communities, local government areas and senatorial districts to the detriment of other parts of the state, but as a governor, I will not do that. Mbadinuju focused on Ihiala Local Government Area, Ngige focused on Idemili North and South Local Government Areas and Anambra Central, while Peter Obi took care of Anaocha Local Government Area and some parts of Anambra Central. Even the current administration of Obiano is neck deep in the same direction. The governorship position of Anambra state is not for sectionalism, but for the good of the entire people of Anambra and residents in the state. This has brought uneven development in Anambra State but that is not what governance is all about. We are talking about interfacing with the electorate in the area of equal and even development from the North to the Central and to the South without sectionalism,” Uba said.
Uba, a former presidential aide was also a two term senator. He had a short stint as the governor of Anambra State. He is believed to have a very high experience of governance, and this has placed him above most of those contending the governorship ticket in the party with him. Above his experience, many more factors are working are working in the favour of the Uga born politician. Some of those factors include his connection in high places and his very deep pocket.
In a recent meeting of the party, the state chairman of the party, Mr Basil Ejidike lamented the paucity of funds in the party, stating that he and members of the executive run the party with their personal fund. “This has adversely affected the running of the party. A high powered committee of committed elders has been set up to explore avenues of sustaining the party financially. There is no steady source of revenue for the daily activities and sustenance of the party. As chairman of the party, I personally pay the drivers, security aides, official aides, official travels and other official engagements of the party from my personal funds. This is also applicable to other officials of the party.”
Also, Paul Chukwuma the immediate past national auditor of the party and Emma Anosike, a former senator representing Anambra North zone reiterated calls on Dr Ngige to speak to the national leadership of the party for them to “water the ground well for the party to be able to function in the forthcoming election”. Anosike said, “I have never seen a party that is in power at the national level, but when they is election here (Anambra), we are given money from back pocket to prosecute it, but when there is election in other states in other regions of the country, they give money from front pocket. If they do not want us to be a part of the election, they should tell us early enough so we go and rest.”
Hon Tony Nwoye, a governorship aspirant of the party in his own address called on the leader of the party in the state to reach out to the party at the national level for support if the election must be fully prosecuted. He insisted that if the party continued to run the way it does, it would not be able to win the governorship election in the state. “This is a special meeting where we need to tell ourselves the truth. Our leader, Dr Chris Ngige must play the role of a leader. He has to reach out to the party at the national for us to get the resources to discharge the election creditably,” he said.
But speaking to THISDAY, a top member of the party who did not want his name in print said, “It is true that this time around, we have a large number of aspirants, all of who are quality materials, but let me tell you, a lot of things will be considered before the party would hand anyone its ticket. You have to consider the influence of the person, his connections too, which can help the party win, and most importantly, you have to be sure it is someone who has the money to finance his election.
“Andy Uba is the man who has all these qualities I have just mentioned. He is the man you will give the ticket and he will single handedly do battle, both in bringing his contact to bear and even in bringing out money to finance his election. Most of these people (aspirants) you see are only believing that once the party gives them the ticket, they (party) will also mobilize funds and other logistics to deliver them, but for Andy Uba it is not so. Uba is someone who has the capacity to finance an election without going cap in hand to seek for funds. Let me tell you, nobody is willing to donate money to finance election for another person because of party. Uba also knows how to run elections, he is an uncanny strategist deploying such strategies time and time again.”
Already, THISDAY gathered that Uba has been pulling the necessary strings in higher places, just as his fellow aspirants also recognize his potential and the need to give the ticket to a candidate who can lead the party to victory. A source said most of his co-aspirants were already considering stepping down for him.
Though this year’s election would not be Uba’s first, but pundits say his chances are very bright this time. Uba hails from the Southern senatorial zone of the state, which is believed to be the favoured zone, by virtue of the unwritten zoning arrangement in the state. He may also be compensated for staying put in the party, despite losing the ticket of the party in 2017.
The APC government is doing massively well and executing capital and land mark projects in every state in the South-east which the PDP failed to execute. They (PDP) cannot convince the people that President Buhari is not developing the South-east. That is what governance is all about. You cannot be governor or president, just for your area. You need a governor who will develop the state. When I become governor of Anambra State on the platform of the APC, it would positively affect the state because it is APC to APC and if you go to Imo State today, you can agree with me that Governor Hope Uzodima is working