Ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, 38 persons have indicated interest to take over from Governor Willie Obiano at the Government House in Awka.
Of the 38 aspirants, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has the highest number, 16; the All Progressives Congress (APC), 13; the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), 7; Young Progressive Party (YPP), 1; and the People Redemption Party (PRP), 1.
However, in a situation like this, there are pretenders and contenders. The flag-bearers of the political parties will emerge after primaries, where aspirants will test their popularity.
After the primaries of the three political parties: APGA, APC and PDP, expectations are that there would be political realignment as those who could not pick the ticket may jump ship to actualise their dreams.
While some are seen as serious contenders others are said to be trying the murky waters and would most likely bow out as the contest gets tougher.
By the deadline of official expression of interest for aspirants in the PDP, 16 persons had picked forms and have been screened by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in Abuja; and the result is being awaited. Each of the male aspirants paid N27million while the three females paid N6million.
The aspirants are Dr Winston Udeh; Mr Valentine Ozigbo; Senator Dr Ugochukwu Uba; Senator Uche Ekwunife; Dr Godwin Ezeemo; Dr Godwin Maduka; Mrs Chidi Onyemelukwe and Mrs Genevieve Ekwochi.
Others are Dr Obiora Okonkwo; Mr Ike Oligbo; Hon Chris Azubogu; Dr Ifedi Okwenna; Emeka Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigera (SAN); Chief Walter Okeke; Tony Nwoye and Chuma Nzeribe.
Dr Okonkwo, a businessman and chairman of Dome Entertainment, Abuja, is one of those who have stood strongly behind the PDP all these years, even in crisis. He is regarded as a great political mobiliser. However, he has to battle with the zoning principle in the state, having come from the Anambra Central senatorial district.
Senator Ekwunife, generally referred to as “Iron Lady,’’ is considered to be a go-getter, given her political antecedents in the state. She has, over the years, demonstrated courage and capacity in political war in the state.
It is believed that she possesses political force that cannot be ignored as far as grassroots politics is concerned in the state. She is a sitting senator representing Anambra Central.
Ozigbo, a former president of Transcorp, is seen as a youthful candidate with the needed energy to transverse the state and make meaningful change for good. His experience in the transnational cooperation is seen as an advantage to move the state forward, but he has not really paid his dues in Anambra politics.
He is a member representing Nnewi North, South and Ekwusigo federal constituency in the House of Representatives. Azubuogu is also from Nnewi, the southern zone of the state favoured to produce the next governor.
Nwoye was a member of the House of Representatives. He represented Anambra East and West federal constituency of the state. He left the APC a week before picking the PDP form. He is from Anambra Central, the same zone with Obiano.
She is one of the daughters of the former vice president, Dr Alex Ekwueme.
She was also a running mate to Oseloka H. Obaze in the 2017 governorship election.
He is the second son of the former governor of Anambra State, Mrs Virgy Etiaba. He is a lawyer.
Udeh is a lawyer and successful businessman. He is also a board member of 9mobile in Nigeria.
Maduka is a US-based medical doctor and philanthropist who has done much for his community.
For the APGA, the ruling party in the state, aspirants paid N22million to purchase the expression of interest and nomination forms. The aspirants are ThankGod Kenechukwu Ibeh; Chukwuma Umeoji; Okwudili Ezenwankwo; Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo; Nonso Smart Okafor; Nicholas Ukachukwu and Mr Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo.
Professor Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has over 14 organisations supporting his governorship ambition. By the political permutation of the state, it appears this is his time to govern the state.
Having come from the Anambra South senatorial district, where many people expect to produce the next governor, he stands a better chance to pick the ticket of the APGA.
However, he is expected to face some challenges in securing the governorship ticket of his party as many young ones have put up strong challenge.
He is the member representing Aguata constituency in the House of Representatives.
Okafor represents Nnewi North in the Anambra State House of Assembly.
In the APC there are nine aspirants. The party has pegged N22.5million for the expression of interest and nomination forms.
The aspirants are Dr Chidozie Nwankwo; Johnbosco Onukwo, an engineer; Senator Dr Andy Uba; The Rev Godwin Okonkwo; George Moghalu, an engineer; Chief Paul Orajiaka; Mr Ben Etiaba; Azuka Okwuosa and Dr Igwebuike Hygers.
Dr Chidozie Nwankwo
He is the chairman of Wichtech Group of Companies and a philanthropist.
Senator Andy Uba
Uba was a senior special adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo. He represented Anambra South in the Senate.
He is currently the chief executive officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and a foundation member of the APC in Anambra State.
He is a businessman and philanthropist who has empowered many youths in the state.
Okwuosa was a commissioner for works in Anambra. Going by his record and being from the Anambra senatorial zone, he is hopeful.
He is the first son of the former first female governor of Anambra State, Mrs Virgy Etiaba.
The party has not made known the cost for the collection of nomination forms.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah
Uba, a businessman, represents Anambra South in the Senate. By the look of things, he is the promoter and sole aspirant in the party.
The cost of nomination and expression of interest forms of the party has not been made public.
Chief Nnamdi Nwawuo
He is a promoter of the Africa tradition and the only aspirant that has indicated interest to contest the governorship election on the platform of the PRP.