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Anambra election: Soludo, Uba, Ozigbo in tough battle to succeed Obiano, as insecurity overwhelms State

On November 6, eligible voters in Anambra State will attend to polling stations across the state’s 21 local government areas to pick a new governor to succeed incumbent Willie Obiano.

Obiano is likely to leave the government palace in Awka next year, having finished his two-term mandate as stipulated by the constitution.

It was noted that the state is already surrounded by a large security presence, and that the public is ecstatic about the prospect of voting for a new leader.

Though 18 candidates are jostling for the number one seat, political pundits have identified three political parties as the most dominant in the race, while the candidates of those parties have also been adjudged to be the most popular among them, and one among them is most likely to emerge as the next governor of the state.

However, there are factors that will determine the advantages and disadvantages of the Anambra governorship candidates this Saturday. Among them are political parties, backings from top politicians, popularity among the people, religious denominations, antecedents and even financial standings of the individual candidates.

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The three most popular political parties in the state; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) are also fielding very widely accepted candidates in the persons of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Mr Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Andy Uba.

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On the other hand, Soludo, who is running on the platform of APGA already has some advantages. His party – APGA is currently in power in the state. He is also lucky to have been endorsed and vigorously campaigned for by the incumbent governor, Obiano.

Uba, on the other side, has the good fortune of running on the platform of the central government’s dominant party, the APC. Many people fear he’ll exploit his celebrity to either influence or gain votes.

The state’s control of religious politics is a significant element. The state’s politics are dominated by the Catholic and Anglican churches, with the Catholic holding the greater hand. This has sparked a quiet resentment, which several contenders have used to further their ambitions. Andy Uba is an Anglican, whereas Soludo and Ozigbo are Catholics, and all three candidates are from the same Aguata local government region.

Andy Uba is the sole contender of Anglican ancestry, according to reports.

Prof Chukwuma Soludo

Strength – He is the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which is seen to be a dominant political party in the state. He is highly popular in the state, and his antecedents at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where he worked as the governor and helped to turn things around in the banking sector is one of his major strengths. His education, cerebral nature and strength of ideas are also to his advantage. He has a cult following among people of all levels, age and status.

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Weakness – The only weakness which Soludo has, which in fact is also part of his strength, is the avowed resolution of the incumbent governor to deliver him as the next governor. Though this is also his major strength, his opponents use it against him, saying that such may amount to bringing back god-fatherism, which has long been done away with in the state.

Mr Valentine Ozigbo

Strength – Being a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is one of Ozigbo’s greatest strengths. Though many believe he is new in politics, having been a banker and business mogul all along, his ability to wrestle power away from known names in the party during the primaries is his biggest strength, such that he is today rated ahead of other candidates. He is known to be very cerebral in thinking, and also very innovative. His age, and religious denomination (Catholicism) are all to his advantage.

Weakness – Ozigbo is not known to have any visible weakness, as he has discharged himself creditably since he arrived on the Anambra political turf. However, the support he enjoys from the former governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi has been misinterpreted as that of a godfather and godson relationship, and has been used many times over to taunt him as one who is taking Anambra back to the era of political god-fatherism.

Senator Andy Uba

Strength – He is running on the platform of the national ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and has a lot of bigwig politicians behind him from across Nigeria, and people in the presidency. Uba is not in short supply of money to prosecute his election, and has successfully wooed most prominent politicians in the state, including top office holders to his party. What is Uba’s greatest strength is the fact that he is a great political thinker, and as always his taciturn self, he never boasts, nor openly discloses his political strategies, until he plays them. He is an Anglican, and considering the fact that Catholics have been dominant in the politics of the state, it may be the turn of his church to rally round him and produce a governor.

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Weakness – Uba has a past about Anambra politics that is not so palatable to the ears, and has been severally accused of being responsible for the misfortune that befell Anambra between 2000 and 2006, when public properties were destroyed, and a former governor of the state kidnapped and mandated to resign from office. He is not also gifted with oratory, so, whatever his plans for the state are; he finds it difficult conveying them in simple and understandable language.

Although the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has called off its planned sit-at-home exercise, today’s election is likely to witness a low turnout due to the ongoing insecurity in the southeast region.

DAILY POST is currently in the state that prides itself as the “Light of the Nation” and will bring you live updates, results, situation reports from the governorship election.

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