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making the choice of a running mate

The dust raised by the emergence of the former Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, Chief Oseloka Henry Obaze as the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is yet to settle, even as the party is presently engulfed in unending crisis and threats of protest votes over the seeming plan to pick a running mate from Anambra South Senatorial Zone.

The crisis which has been brought to the attention of the national leadership of the party is currently jolting PDP amidst threat to vote against the party unless it remedies the ugly situation.

Obaze is from Anambra North Senatorial Zone where most of the political parties have nominated their gubernatorial candidate for the November 18, 2017 election, making the choice of a running mate a critical permutation for any of the parties in contention for electoral victory.

Obaze joined Peter Obi to dump the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for PDP about two years, fuelling speculation that core PDP members are gearing up to have one of its own as the running mate to fight the incumbent APGA-led government of Chief Willie Obiano.

Granted but not conceding that PDP has shifted the Deputy Governorship slot to its core member, one major controversy tearing the party apart presently is where the running mate should come from.

The emergence of Obaze who is touted as the godson of the former governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi whom he served as the SSG has thrown the party in confusion for an alleged manipulation of the process that threw in Obaze as the flag-bearer, coupled with the controversy surrounding the planned choice of a running mate from Anambra South Senatorial Zone for him.

The rumour that PDP is considering either Tim Egboka, a former member of the Anambra State House of Assembly and Dr. Ugochukwu Ubah, who is the eldest brother to Senator Andy Uba and Chief Chris Uba, all from Aguata LGA is unsettling future political calculation in the State.

Already, Uba who challenged his elder brother, Andy Uba’s emergence as the elected Senator in the 2015 National Assembly Election has carpeted Peter Obi who is seem as the brain behind the permutation to nominate his brother, Senator Ugochukwu Uba as Obaze’s running mate in the 2017 election.

It is believed that Uba is eyeing the gubernatorial seat come 2022 and might not support the emergence of a running mate from Anambra South Zone as being presently canvassed.

Also, in the forefront of agitation against the choice of a running mate from Anambra South Senatorial zone are mainly ambitious personalities who want to contest the gubernatorial election in 2022, after the completion of second term by the Anambra North between 2018 and 2022.

According to our source who pleaded anonymity, a choice of a running mate in the 2017 governorship election will not only jeopardize their chances but also put the running mate in a better stead to clinch the gubernatorial ticket in 2022.

To this end, these gubernatorial hopeful and other interested groups are in a make or mar disposition, and have been mobilizing locally and abroad against the offer of a running mate slot to Anambra South Senatorial Zone, preferring instead an option for the party to throw it open to any zone.

Ordinarily, pundits believe that a choice of a running mate would have been easier for PDP to make from among Obaze’s contenders in the PDP Primary, but they allude to the choice outside the contenders to the fact that most of the aspirants came from Anambra North Zone as Obaze.

They include Senator Princess Stella Oduah from Ogbaru LGA, Linda Ikpeazu, House of Representatives member representing Onitsha North and South Federal Constituency from Onitsha North LGA, Prince John Emeka, for Minister of State for Transport from Anambra West LGA, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu from Onitsha North LGA, among others.

Tipped as a major contender who can bankroll his campaign is the Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah from Nnewi, Nnewi North LGA, but who is ruled out on account of his allegation of irregularities arising from use of purported unlawful list of delegates to conduct the primary that produced Obaze.

Those in the know predict that Peter Obi’s choice is not final as he is predictable as dribbler who can keep his opponents and well wishers guessing where he is headed to. In the 2013 build up to the Anambra Gubernatorial election, Obi as the governor promised the likes ofPatrick Obianwu, Idigo, Paul Odenigbo, and Oseloka Obaze whom he influenced to dump his United Nations’ senior post to contest, but finally settled for Willie Obiano about two weeks to the election.

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