In a bid to ensure the huge number of governorship aspirants from their region does not hurt their chances of producing Governor Willie Obiano’s successor in the forthcoming Anambra State gubernatorial poll, billionaires from Nnewi has begun moves to throw up a shortlist.
Sources at a meeting held by the Nnewi billionaires, including Chikason, Sir Cletus Ibeto, Innocent Chukwuma (INNOSON), Gabriel Chukwuma, said the inaugural meeting, which held last Monday, was a precursor to the enlarged meeting scheduled for yesterday April 9, 2021, in which all the aspirants from Nnewi are expected.
It is expected that yesterday’s meeting, which was still in session at the time of filing this report, would apart from narrowing down the aspirants on the two major political parties-All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-also explore possible strong contenders the area would support in the event none of their sons clinches tickets of the two parties.
The Nnewi area comprise Ekwusigo, Nnewi North, and Nnewi South Local Government Areas and the following candidates have indicated an interest in the governorship contest include, Dr. George Moghalu, Sir Azuka Okwuosa, JohnBosco Onunkwo, Emeka Etiaba from the All Progressives Congress (APC). Nnewi aspirants on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) include Hon. Chris Azubuogu and Ben Etiaba.
A source at the meeting disclosed that Friday’s session would select two candidates from a shortlist consisting of Moghalu and Okwuosa from APC and Azubogu and Etiaba from PDP.
He said the decision to reduce the number of aspirants from the area was reached by the business moguls to ensure that the aspirants do not spend resources fighting against themselves and possibly end up losing the tickets of the two main political parties.
However, one of the business moguls confided in The Guardian that they were moved to intervene following feelers that the leader of Young Peoples Party (YPP), Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, was making frantic efforts to join APC and bargain for its ticket.
He stated: “We are not politicians, but we feel that such dramatic shifts at this point in time could play a spoiler role in the ruling party and we don’t want to happen. Nigerians know that Nnewi has a lot of billionaires as such we don’t want our blessing to hamper our collective socio-political progress.”
The Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the Senate, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, has however denied that he was planning to contest the governorship on the APC platform.
In a statement to The Guardian, through the Head of his Media and Strategic Communications, Kamen Ogbonna, Ubah declared: “I wish to categorically state that the national leader of Young Progressives Party (YPP) has no intention whatsoever of leaving the party for any other platform.
“YPP is the next vehicle that Ndi Anambra has zeroed in on and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah is the driver of that incoming status quo change, poised to trigger the economic revival of Anambra.
“We have received several calls from our friends, political allies, and well-wishers all trying to find out the veracity or otherwise of the story hence this rebuttal.”
It would also be recalled that the chairman of Southeast Governors’ Forum, Dave Umahi, recently endorsed the Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Waterways Authorities (NIWA), Dr. Moghalu for the APC governorship ticket.
Umahi, who spoke when Moghalu paid him a courtesy visit at his Uburu country home, the Ebonyi State governor noted that Moghalu is “a saleable commodity that will give other parties a run for their money and help APC take over Anambra State.”
Anambra APC Caretaker chairman, Mr. Basil Ejidike, said the party would welcome all legitimate efforts to make APC win the November 6, governorship poll, stressing that winning the Anambra governorship was the only agenda for the party.
Reacting to the development in Nnewi, Coordinator of Buhari Legacy Continuity Initiative (BLCI), Engineer Sam Osita Oraegbunam, said competition for the APC ticket was becoming stiff due to the achievements of the federal government in Southeast.
“Such arrangements are welcome provided nobody is being coerced to withdraw against his or her will. But you know it is not easy for any single individual to win the governorship and the financial support of that caliber of stakeholders is usually crucial,” Oraegbunam noted.