Controversy continues to trail the list of candidates for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday.
Politicians in the state expressed mixed but strong emotions about the list, which excluded key candidates of the leading political parties, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Valentine Ozigbo of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The list came as a surprise to many, as names of the two prominent candidates, who were expected to contest for APGA and PDP were missing.
While Rep Chukwuma Umeoji was listed for APGA, the PDP had no candidate on the list.
Sen. Andy Uba and Dr Akachukwu Nwankpo were listed for all Progressives Congress (APC) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) alongside their deputies.
Reacting to the vacant space in PDP, Mr Samuel Anyakorah, a chieftain of the party loyal to the Chukwudi Umeaba faction said his camp was satisfied that INEC acted according to law.
The PDP reportedly held two primary elections on June 26 conducted separately by Umeaba Caretaker Committee and PDP national leadership.
Anyakorah said what would have been a surprise was if Ozigbo’s name was 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, Chief 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.
Ayika said the unfortunate thing about the development was that Ozigbo would not have his credentials scrutinised at the time as 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 Ozigbo’s 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, Mr Jude Okoye, a strong enthusiast of APGA said the listing of Umeoji for APGA was a welcome idea in view of the ‘impunity’ prostrated by the party leadership.
Okoye, who described Umeoji as a grassroots politician, said he was a unifier and had the capacity to win the Nov.6 election if the candidacy was upheld.
In their reaction, the Soludo Campaign Organisation said the basis upon which Umeoji was recognised by INEC was not sustainable and that the Economist 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 their legal team was handling the situation.
“Therefore, there is no need for Anambra people and all lovers of progress in Nigeria to be worried about the judgement, the judgment will be set aside.
“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.