Anambra’s Changing Political Landscape Amid Ubah, Ekwunife’s Defection to APC

The All Progressives Congress in Anambra State has perfected plan to unseat Governor Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance ahead of the 2025 gubernatorial election with the recent defection of Senators Ifeanyi Ubah and Uche Ekwunife into the party. David-Chyddy Eleke writes.

Early in October, 2023, the Senator representing Anambra South, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, announced his defection from Young Progressives Party (YPP) to All Progressives Congress (APC) on the floor of the Senate. The movement had caused political upheaval in Anambra, especially among supporters of the Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, as Ubah’s long time ambition of becoming governor of the state is not hidden.

Last week, Ubah however caused a major political stir among opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), when he was formally received into APC. Ubah was not received alone, he came in with several supporters of his, but what was shocking was that another prominent political player in the state, Senator Uche Ekwunife, joined him in defecting officially.

Ekwunife’s defection, coupled with Ubah’s confidence in his acceptance speech about taking Anambra in the next election left many with the belief that a secret plan had been struck. Ubah in his acceptance speech had said: “The wait in Anambra APC (to take the government house) has ended. APC would no longer keep quiet in Anambra pretending that all is well, when things are bad. APC has finally arrived in Anambra.”

Also, the state Chairman of APC, Chief Basil EJidike in his address said: “We can achieve this great feat if we want, because the manpower and resources are readily available. Year 2025 affords us yet another opportunity to contest and win Anambra State Government House. Let us as one family work towards achieving this goal for our party.

“I enjoin you the new members not to fail to sustain their dogged and positive humanitarian spirits, which is their hallmark. We urge you to double this inherent spirit in your service to the party. The APC will definitely provide you the platform to do more in this regard. I pledge our unalloyed support and cooperation in all our dealings with all of you. Please, rest assured that the party is large enough to accommodate everyone’s political aspirations.”

Some members of APC who spoke under the cover of anonymity, during the stakeholders meeting said the plan of the party was for Ubah to run for governorship on the platform of the party, while Ekwunife would be his running mate. THISDAY noted that the plot perfectly suits Anambra’s unwritten zoning pact. Prof Soludo who is currently the governor is from the southern senatorial zone; the zone favoured with the governorship, after the northern zone concluded an eight-year term through Chief Willie Obiano.

With the zoning pact, Soludo will be entitled to re-election in 2025, but Anambra people can also feel free to vote another indigene of the southern senatorial zone; where Ubah hails from too.

The snag however is that any other candidate from the south except Soludo will only do one term to give way for power to move to the central senatorial zone. Ekwunife, who hails from the central zone, hasn’t taken her eyes off the position since 2010 when she first contested.

If Anambra people dump Soludo for another candidate from the south, there may be need for a firm commitment from the candidate to do just one term in office to avoid distorting the zoning arrangement.

The perceived plan of the APC has however not gone without criticisms from the ruling APGA. The State chairman of the party, Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye in an interview with journalists said it was better for Anambra people to stick with Soludo for a second term, instead of settling for another person from the southern senatorial zone.

He argued that such person may not be relied upon to truthfully do one term and leave, and for such a person, doing a second term after Soludo had already done one, would give the south more number of years, against other zones, thereby distorting the zoning arrangement.

For Hon Chinedu Obigwe, Ubah cannot be trusted with the esteemed position of governor of Anambra State. He said same Ubah who took over the construction on Nnewi Catholic Cathedral and failed to complete it in many years cannot be entrusted with the entire Anambra.

Obigwe who is the coordinator of APGA media warriors in a press statement said: “A man that destroyed Nnewi Catholic Cathedral with a promise of building a befitting edifice for them and abandoned the project along the line. That project is being built by the parishioners as I pen down this piece.

“Ndi Anambra are firmly of the belief that Ifeanyi Ubah has nothing to offer them because of his antecedents. The good works of Governor Soludo is already speaking for him and that will be the determining factor in the 2025 governorship election.”

Reacting to the purported alliance of Ubah and Ekwunife, Obigwe said: “The alleged alliance of Ifeanyi Ubah and Uche Ekwunife for the Anambra State 2025 governorship and deputy governorship race respectively on the platform of APC has been described as a pure business venture.

“The truth is that Ifeanyi Ubah and Senator Uche Ekwunife political alliance is just a business venture that has nothing to do with the interest of the masses. What they are after is their pocket and nothing more. Both of them have reached their political end point and they are now fighting a battle of political survival. Ifeanyi Ubah knows very well that for him to return to the Senate for third term can be like a camel passing through the eye of a needle, hence his reason for defecting to APC as the ruling party at the federal level.

“The 2025 governorship election is still far but they started the campaign early to scam APC Governors, Ministers and other appointees of APC at the Federal level. They are boasting to APC leadership in Abuja that they have the capacity to whittle down Peter Obi’s political influence and take over the State from Governor Soludo in 2025. Well, they can lie and deceive Abuja based politicians but when they return to Anambra, the good people of the State will confine them to where they rightly belong. We know their antecedents and will not make the costly mistake of entrusting the future of five million ndi Anambra in their hands.

“I learnt that APC Governors donate one billion naira each to anybody contesting for Governor with their party ticket and they have up to 20 Governors in Nigeria. What ifeanyi Ubah and Uche Ekwunife are scheming to corner in the guise of contesting the 2025 governorship election is the APC Governors’ huge donation and nothing more. Their alliance will not last, they will scatter in different ways immediately after their shameful defeat in the 2025 governorship election.”

Meanwhile, Ubah and Ekwunife who seem to have paid a deaf ear to all the tirades launched against them, may have commenced work, to poach as many people into their fold as possible. Last week, spokesperson of APGA, Mr Ejimofor Okpara, raised the alarm that Ifeanyi Ubah’s media aide, Mr Chuks Kamen had been in the business of calling all social media influencers in the state, to woo them into pitching their tent with Ubah, with the aim to set up a formidable media team, ahead of the 2025 election.

Already, some members of APC in the state have formed a new group, Ikemba Front, with the aim to drum support for Ubah. The group has commenced visits to various political figures in the state, with a view to poaching them. The group last weekend visited Prof. Peter Umeadi the APGA presidential candidate in the last election. National Leader of Ikemba Front, Sir Arinze Awogu, a former APGA stalwart urged Umeadi to join the party.

As the state counts down to 2025, other political parties will still spring surprises hoping to push Soludo out of the Anambra government house, but it is obvious that Ubah’s defection to APC which is the ruling party, and his popularity, which saw him winning the Senate position from an obscure party, even against known politicians in the state may have been the reason for the hoopla.

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