Some politicians in Anambra State have expressed mixed reactions to the list of governorship candidates released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja on Friday.
The list came as a surprise to many as prominent names including that of Chukwuma Soludo, a professor, and Valentine Ozigbo who were expected to contest on the platforms of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were missing.
While a member of the House of Representatives, Chukwuma Umeoji, was listed as candidate for APGA, no candidate at all was listed for the PDP.
Andy Uba, a former senator, and Akachukwu Nwankpo were listed for All Progressives Congress (APC) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) alongside their deputies.
Reacting to the vacant space in the PDP, Samuel Anyakorah, a chieftain of the party loyal to the Chukwudi Umeaba faction, said his camp was satisfied that INEC acted according to the law.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP held two primary elections on June 26 conducted separately by Umeaba Caretaker Committee and the PDP national leadership.
Mr Anyakorah said it would have been a surprise if Mr Ozigbo’s name were listed when the matter challenging the legitimacy of his candidacy was still pending in court.
According to him, “that is what we wanted, we are happy that INEC obeyed the court, the substantive suit is still pending and as I am talking to you we have adopted our cases and are expecting judgement.
“When the matter is determined by the court, INEC will know the right candidate to list,” he said.
On his part, Valentine Ayika, a director in the Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Campaign Organisation told NAN that nothing had gone wrong with the development apart from its distractive value.
Mr Ayika said the unfortunate thing about the development was that Mr Ozigbo would not have his credentials scrutinised alongside those of his contemporaries.
He expressed dismay that the court would stop an electoral process that was in progress against the provision of the Electoral Act, saying it was misled by some people.
He however said Mr Ozigbo’s name would be published 30 days to the election in line with guidelines after the cases would have been determined because they had no locus to challenge a process they did not belong to.
On his part, Jude Okoye, a strong enthusiast of APGA said the listing of Mr Umeoji for APGA was a welcome idea in view of the ‘impunity’ perpetrated by the leadership of the party.
Mr Okoye, who described Mr Umeoji as a grassroots politician, said he was a unifier and had the capacity to win the Nov.6 election if his candidacy stays.
In its reaction, the Soludo Campaign Organisation said the basis upon which Mr Umeoji was recognised by INEC was not sustainable and that Mr Soludo would contest the election on the ticket of APGA.
A statement which was signed by Joe Anatune, a director in the organisation, urged the Anambra electorate to be calm as the campaign’s legal team was handling the matter.
“Therefore, there is no need for Anambra people and all lovers of progress in Nigeria to be worried about the judgment, the judgment will be set asid,” the campaign said.
“We thought that the state had passed the stage where some politicians moved from one end of the country to the other in the dead of the night in search of judicial orders to impose themselves on the people.
“Our supporters should rather remain supremely confident of not only Soludo’s participation in the November 6 gubernatorial vote but also his triumph in the polls with a big margin,” it stated.
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