As Nigerians go to the poll next year to elect persons that will represent them at all levels of government, various political parties have mapped out plans on how to field candidates that will represent them at various elective positions that will be contested. Like others, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) which is the ruling party in Anambra State has also released time table for the conduct of primaries for various positions as the party is expected to field presidential, governorship (where applicable), senatorial, House of Representatives, as well as states houses of assembly candidates in the election year.
Although it is not yet clear if the party will field a candidate in the presidential race, confirmed fact remains that the party will have flag bearers at all positions that will be contested in Anambra State and it is expected that the party’s hierarchy understands the need for internal democracy in organizing its affairs.
APGA became stronger in Anambra few months before the 2017 Governorship Election in which the state governor Willie Obiano was reelected. The strength of the party was consolidated by inflow of Political heavyweights from various political parties especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who decamped to the party in protest of what they described as biased conduct of the 2017 PDP Governorship Primary in the state. The decampees alleged that the state former Governor Mr. Peter Obi hijacked the party and imposed his candidate Oseloka Obaze on them and in a move to ensure that the PDP learned its lesson in a hard way, they joined APGA with their numerous supporters and campaigned vigorously at their various Constituencies and Senatorial Districts for Willie Obiano which eventually led to his victory in all the 21 local government areas of the state.
Going by the above circumstances that led to the reelection of Governor Willie Obiano, APGA under the leadership of Chief Victor Oye should ensure that the party conducts a free, fair and transparent primary.
The party should ensure that all aspirants are given equal playing grounds and it must desist from manipulating the delegate list, calling for a consensus or imposing some aspirants on others. APGA should know that it’s current strength was built by lack of internal democracy in other political parties and shouldn’t make same mistake unless it wants to sell itself out to other parties who are anxiously waiting to harvest on any own goal the party may score.
It is time for Governor Willie Obiano to stand firm as the Party’s leader and uphold the tenets of democracy within the party which remains the only identity of Ndị Igbo in Nigeria’s political space as that is the only way to prove that truly Nke a (APGA) bụ nke anyị.
God bless Nigeria.
• Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu writes from Awka, Anambra State.