Home Nigeria How Soludo, Peter Obi, Ifeanyi Ubah, Ekwunife shaped Anambra politics in 2023

How Soludo, Peter Obi, Ifeanyi Ubah, Ekwunife shaped Anambra politics in 2023

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A few personalities and events shaped the political landscape in Anambra in the outgoing year, 2023.

Some of these events and personalities included the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo and many other political actors.

Even as the year draws to a close, events showing that things are no longer as they used to be are still manifesting.

General elections and the Peter Obi factor

In November 2021, Anambra State went to the polls and elected Prof Chukwuma Soludo as governor. Soludo was later sworn-in on March 29, 2022.

With a government in place, and knowing that the major elections in Nigeria are usually the election of State Chief Executives, one may say that Anambra was not a state of focus.

But the involvement of the former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi in the 2023 general elections as the candidate of the Labour Party, changed many things for Anambra’s participation.

Obi is one of Anambra’s governors reputed to have performed so well; besides that, his calm mien, courage and openness endeared him to many people, such that even though Anambra was not electing a governor, the politicking in the state grew enough to attract attention.

In Anambra particularly, the fear was majorly because many hoped that Obi using his popularity may sweep the legislative positions, both in the National Assembly and state assembly at the detriment of Soludo, and sweep Anambra votes in the presidential election. This didn’t totally come to pass, but more than half of that was achieved.

The permutations aroused the interest of Soludo who was hitherto sleeping, hoping that Anambra was an APGA state. At the last minute when Soludo realized that a delay may mean LP lawmakers dominating the state assembly, he moved fast and was able to secure 17 seats in the assembly out of the 30 state constituencies.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, won 17 seats in the 30-member legislature, while the Labour Party, LP, won eight. The YPP won three seats, while the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won two in the state assembly. APGA also won two out of the three Senate positions.

This was however not after Soludo had been accused of spending a whooping N3.5 billion during the House of Assembly election in the state.

There were allegations that the state government spent the amount in vote-buying to enable the APGA win a majority of seats in the state legislature.

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (INTERSOCIETY) had, before the governorship and House of Assembly elections, alleged that 20 states would spend about N50 billion for vote-buying during the polls.

The organisation had, in a statement by its Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and others, said Anambra was projected with N2 billion to N2.5 billion lavish spending, while the three higher spending states were Lagos (N10 billion), Rivers (N6 billion to N10 billion) and Delta (N5 billion-N6 billion).

The Soludo Factor

Soludo was a serious factor in Anambra politics in 2023. Though he was of APGA stock, many wondered why he was so opposed to the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi. Instead of being known for his support for his party’s presidential candidate, Prof Peter Umeadi, Soludo was rather associated with the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Soludo’s open letter titled: ‘History Beckons, I won’t be silent’, which was authored in 2022 November was one thing that guided many in gauging the thinking of the governor. Many accused him of showing so much hate in the letter, even though he was known to be an ally of Obi. While many were condemning Soludo for being so hard on Obi, supporters of the governor took precautions, having deciphered where their principal stood, and also acted in the same line by defending him. This further heated the state polity and polarized it.

Defections and APC’s Gains

As the year draws to a close, and politicking winds down for 2023, one party in Anambra that will go home counting its gains is the All Progressives Congress, APC. From a party which was known as ‘Fulani party in Anambra State for a long time, the party is gradually gaining acceptance.

In all the years of APC’s participation in Anambra politics, it has hardly been able to make any impact, both in state assembly, governorship or National Assembly elections. In the last election, the party and her candidates failed to secure any seat.

But what they couldn’t win in the polls, they are now getting through defections. The latest defectors are Senators Ifeanyi Ubah and Uche Ekwunife, who are believed to have an alliance that can give them the governorship of Anambra in 2025. Currently, the APC members in Anambra are in high spirit, and have strong belief that they will oust Soludo in 2025, given their unity and the caliber of politicians that have joined them.

PDP’s death in Anambra

No one can exactly talk about politicking in Anambra without acknowledging that the once largest party in black Africa, PDP, has almost gone extinct in the state. Currently, the party has no leadership in the state, owing to several litigations. Also, the once influential party in the state cannot today name its stakeholders, as they are fast disappearing into other political parties.

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