Contrary to claims from the camp of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, that all is well between the Governor, his political party, All Progressives Grand Alliance[APGA] and the Presidency, emerging facts point to the real fact that all is not well and that the alliance between APGA and President Goodjuck Jonatahn for support in the 2015 general elections may be heading for the rocks soon except something drastic is done to rescue it.
APGA was one of the earliest political groups to endorse the second term ambition of President Jonathan in 2015. In return, the President’s party, Peoples Democratic Party[PDP], may allow APGA to field candidates for legislative positions especially in Anambra State.
The two parties have been enjoying very cozy relationship. They President did not only nominate Sir Victor Umeh and Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, National Chairman and National Secretary respectively, of APGA, as delegates to the recently concluded National Conference, even when the leadership tussle of the party was still in court, he also conferred national honour on Umeh. Jonathan has also included Governor Obiano in his team for some foreign tours of late.
But the plot by the Governor and the APGA leadership to field a close ally and brother in-law to Mr Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, governor of River State, Mr Dozie Nwankwo, as the party’s candidate for the Anaocho, Njikoka and Dunukofia Federal Constituency election next Febraury appears to be putting a knife in the thing that the kept alliance together and it may fall apart.
When it was first learnt that Nwankwo who in 2011 contested for the same position on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria[ACN]and lost, was angling for APGA ticket this time around, the Presidency was said not to have taken kindly to it. Both Obiano and the leadership of APGA were said to have been cautioned against such move.
The grouse of the Presidency is said to have stemmed from the fact that Nwankwo is allegedly being sponsored by the Rivers State Governor who is a well known political foe of President Jonathan. The hawks in the Presidency are interpreting the trend to be a deliberate attempt to bring to the National Assembly, elements who would be fighting Jonathan if he returns after the 2015 elections.
First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan is said to have asked both Governor Obiano and APGA leadership not allow Nwankwo fly its flag for the House of Representatives election. Though the party leaders are said to have assured the First Lady what she heard was a mere rumour which will not come to reality, emerging facts now show that Nwankwo is almost on the verge of picking APGA ticket for the race. He has already been cleared to contest the party’s primary election for the ticket.
Contrary to Obiano’s claims that his government is not backing Nwankwo, the aspirant is said to be enjoying the patronage of the state government. Sources in Anambra revealed to this reporter that prominent members of Governor Obiano’s cabinet have been accompanying Nwankwo in his campaign tours of late. Among those fingered in this regard is the State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Vicky Chikwelu. Apart from her, other aides of the Governor are said have been accompanying Nwakwo on his campaign trips.
Nwankwo who is contesting for the ticket with two other aspirants, Chief Mike Nkwocha and Chief Okagbue Onochie, is said to be favored to pick the ticket, notwithstanding the opposition from the Presidency. The possible success of Nwankwo in this regard, is said to be causing some ripples between Mrs Jonathan and the First Lady of Anambra State, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano. This strained relationship between the two first ladies is said to have manifested in the refusal, three times so far, by Mrs Jonathan to visit Anambra for the purpose of launching the Women Empowerment Programmes initiated by Mrs Obiona.
Hawks within the Aso Rock Villa are said to be mounting pressure on Mrs Jonathan to cancel entirely, the proposed visit to Anambra State but this has not worked out as the First Lady is said not have been convinced that Governor Obiano will go against her directive. A Presidency source was quoted as saying that it is a big contradiction for the leadership of APGA to be talking about endorsing President Jonathan’s re-election bid and at the same time be fielding the cronies of the President’s political foes for National Assembly election.
But sources close to the leadership of the party, said that since the First lady is said to be supporting Hon. Uche Ekwunife for Senatorial election in the same constituency which the APGA National Chairman is also running for, the party leadership may not be blamed for working against the directive of the Presidency in this regard. The Presidency source however justified this by claiming that the First Lady’s soft spot for Ekwunife is not perculier to the House of Representative member. He argued that Mrs Jonathan is doing the same for many other female political office aspirants in different parts of the country, in her bid to enhance the status of women in Nigeria.
Mrs Jonathan is said to be angry with what is happening in Anambra State with regards to the likelihood of APGA fielding Governor Amaechi’s brother in-law for the House of Representatives election.