With two days to the governorship and state assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, March 18, the focus in the South-East state of Anambra will be on who controls the state House of Assembly. This is so because there will be no governorship election in the state.
Nonetheless, both Anambra State governor, Chukwuma Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, will be slugging it out in the battle of who guides his party to control the majority of the membership of the state House of Assembly.
Although Soludo belongs to the ruling APGA, a party that has controlled the politics and governance of the state for the past two decades, it is the same party Obi rode on as the governor of the state between March 2006 and March 2014.
The party also has a majority in the 30-man House led by Mike Balonwu and two out of the three Senate seats in the state until the February 25 elections when it’s decisively defeated by Obi’s LP.
Over the years, APGA has occupied a special place in the heart of the South- East because of its attachment to the late Dim Chukwuma Odumegwu-Ojukwu. But even when the party seemed to have its appeal in the region, it remained the dominant party in Anambra politics until February 25.
Former governors Obi, Willie Obiano and Soludo have all benefitted from the party’s popularity and widespread acceptance in the state. Things took a new twist when in the lead to the 2019 elections, Obi announced his defection to the Peoples Democratic Party after the completion of his tenure as governor in 2014.
Obiano was the first to kick against his (Obi) move after personally attacking him that he vowed never to leave APGA until his death. The dispute got heightened after Obi booked the PDP vice presidential ticket in 2019 to contest against the incumbent regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
The effect also extended to the National Assembly election where the LP dealt a big blow to the PDP by winning its two senatorial and five House of Representatives seats.
However, members of the two parties have engaged in a war of words. While APGA claims it will be a different game on Saturday, the LP believes the ‘Obidient effect’ will repeat itself.
Political observers believe the state assembly election will therefore be a straight fight between LP and APGA. While Obi called on the candidates of the Labour Party to win and support the APGA-led government, Soludo urged the electorate in Anambra to ignore Obi and vote for his party.
In preparation for Saturday’s election, Obi met with Labour Party House of Assembly candidates in Anambra last week charging them to go all out and campaign to win.
He said they should win and support the APGA-led government to deliver dividends of democracy to the people.
According to him, “I have told my people to go and campaign and win the election.
“Their job as a legislator is to work with the governor and ensure he provides the dividends of democracy to our people. Help him to make good laws on education, health and other sectors.