…as the party courts Southern Anambra, others
EMEKA OKEKE, AWKA
Barely two months to the November 18 Anambra State governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party, one of the key contenders in the race, has made strategic moves to win bloc votes from Anambra South senatorial zone and thus weaken its major contenders.
To that extent, the party has announced the choice of Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe, the daughter of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme as running mate to its governorship candidate, Oseloka Obaze.
Onyemelukwe, a lawyer, apart from being the daughter of highly respected Second Republic VP, is also from the South District, where the party could count on bloc votes.
Not done, the party has successfully wooed MOFUGAS, a key political group from Awka North hitherto loyal to the Progressive Peoples Alliance candidate, Chief Godwin Ezeemo, to work for Obaze, its candidate.
Signs that the PDP is determined to fight hard during the November election by capturing the votes from communities in the old Aguata Union, most of which constitute Anambra South Senatorial Zone, unfolded over the weekend, at the PDP Secretariat in Awka, where Obaze unveiled Dr Ekwueme’s daughter as his running mate, a development that caught everyone by surprise.
This latest PDP strategic move comes against the backdrop of the fact that communities, including Oko, the home town of Ekwueme, all of which constitute the Old Aguata Union, are potential areas for vote harvest during elections and whoever penetrates these towns and wins their support during the campaign is capable of making a strong impact in an election.
Speaking during the unveiling of Chidi Onyemelukwe as his running mate, Obaze said the move was part of PDP’s women empowerment programmes.
“As Deputy Governor, Chidi will be my partner in turning Anambra State around”, Obaze stressed, just as he added that he selected her from a shortlist of eminently qualified party faithful after weeks of painstaking consultation with the PDP hierarchy and family.
Onyemelukwe who also spoke at the unveiling ceremony, said it was high time they brought out the best hands in PDP to build an Anambra State that their children would be proud to live in. And with the new development, it is expected that PDP and all those who are marketing Obaze will use the issue of their appointment of a woman running mate to woo the female voters who are also large in number.
Prior to the Wednesday event at which the female running mate was unveiled, the PDP had on Saturday at Finotel Hotel, Awka, moved swiftly to gain support in Awka North and weaken its contenders with the defection of members of the MOFUGAS, a key political group led by Chief Shedrack Anakwue, a former supporter of Chief Ezeemo, the PPA candidate.
Plans by the MOFUGAS group to join the camp of Obaze heightened on Saturday with Chief Joe Martins Uzodike, former commissioner in the administration of former Governor Peter Obi and who is considered as the PDP chief strategist, seen at the said hotel conferring with key members of the group on the import and terms of their defection ceremony held that day.
Leader of the group, Chief Shedrack Anaekwe, who spoke at the event, which was attended by many party chieftains drawn from the key wards in communities in Awka North Local Government area, said they joined the camp of Obaze freely as part of the moves to get the best for Anambra State. He promised that they would work for the success of the PDP during the November election.
Responding, Obaze thanked the group on their support and stressed that the PDP now had the best opportunity to win the Anambra State election.
Uzodike had in his speech, commended the group for making what he described as the wisest decision its recent history. He urged them to go out to the field and work for the success of PDP.
However, these master strokes, observer believe, were not without the input of former Governor Obi, who had long fallen apart with his political godson, Governor Willy Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.