Members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are unsettled over plans by Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige to fly the party’s flag in the Anambra State governorship election slated for November 2017.
Among those who have so far indicated interest in the party’s ticket are ranking senator, Andy Uba, National Auditor of the party, Chief George Moghalu, and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Tony Nwoye.
The APC national officers are worried that Ngige, who has denied gunning for the position, may be secretly mobilizing to contest in the party’s upcoming governorship primary election.
Said an officer, “Yes, Dr Ngige has constantly maintained that he’s not interested in returning to Anambra Government House, but the situation on ground suggests otherwise.
“We’ve heard stories of Ngige holding several political meetings with heads of the clergy, market and town unions, and how he has been distributing gifts to them, and Ngige certainly is not a philanthropist,” noted the party officer.
According to another official of the party, Anambra APC is worried by the alleged plans by Ngige to renege on an earlier promise not to contest for the governorship.
He said the APC was the more worried that Ngige’s alleged governorship ambition may weaken the APC’s chances in the forthcoming election where Governor Willie Obiano of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) is the incumbent.
He noted, “We all know how difficult it is to run against an incumbent. We also know that the APC is gradually making inroads into the South-east, and this is the litmus test for the party’s popularity and acceptance.
“Should we go into the election with a divided house, the consequences will be too dire. Ngige has a reputation for not honouring agreements. One can only hope that this is all speculation,” he offered.
An APC chieftain from Anambra Central District advised the party to select what he described as a very marketable candidate.
He remarked, ”We all know Ngige came third in the last governorship election. We also know the late Prof Dora Akunyili almost embarrassed Ngige at the 2011 Anambra central senatorial election. So this isn’t a time for trial and error. We should be able to present a very formidable candidate.”
Although we were unable to reach Ngige for comments. However, a political associate of his maintained that it was the minister’s right to contest any election he so desired, saying Ngige never entered into any agreement not to contest the governorship election.
“Those claiming Onwa (Ngige) pledged not to contest the governorship election should provide proof. He worked hard for the party and, as a leader, deserves to be accorded the right of first refusal. After all, his governorship was aborted in 2006 by the Appeal Court.
“We are consulting widely. What is standing in our way is Mr President’s ill health. We pray he gets well soon so we can get his nod to contest. Once given the ticket, Onwa will become the next governor of Anambra State,” he declared.