ColumnsNigeriaOpinionCourt Judgment against Hon. Chris Azubogu Speaks to Governor Soludo’s Position

The Federal High Court judgment against the candidacy of Hon. Chris Azubogu, the APGA candidate for Anambra South senatorial zone might have removed every doubt in regards to the position of Anambra State Governor, Prof. Soludo, on the matter. First of all, Hon. Ben Nwankwo who approached the court against Hon. Chris Azubogu is of the same APGA party. In fact, in 2017, Hon. Ben was one of those that supported Willie Obiano’s second term bid early. He was a serving House of Representatives member and in PDP, at the time. Then, it was said that he declared support for Obiano and joined APGA in support of former Governor, Willie Obiano’s second term bid, so that he would be given the APGA ticket for Anambra South senate in 2019. However, after Obiano was returned elected for second term, the rest was history.

The 2019 primary election in APGA remains the most contested and controversial till date. Then again, in 2021 when Soludo was contesting on APGA’s platform as the party’s candidate, Hon. Ben Nwankwo supported him. Soludo and Nwankwo are friends. On the other hand, Hon. Chris Azubogu supported Andy Uba. At the end, Soludo emerged winner of that election. This background is important if we must have a fair assessment of the situation.

Basically, it is given that Governor Soludo has a preferred candidate in the person of Hon. Ben Nwankwo, to fly APGA’s flag for Anambra South. But somehow, Hon. Chris Azubogu has far more reach and relying on that, some kind of political agreement was reached and Chris eventually emerged the candidate, supposedly with the governor’s blessing, which now appears to be neither here nor there.

Today’s judgment has revealed clearly that the governor might still be supporting his friend Hon. Ben Nwankwo to take that ticket. This option is possible and might be convenient for the governor who might not want to offend his allies that supports Azubogu, by denying him the ticket during primaries. He just might still want to take it from the back door. Otherwise, the next unlikely thing might be that the governor has no interest in the politics of who has his party’s ticket in his own senatorial zone. Yet, another possibility could be that the governor is supporting another candidate in Anambra South and therefore not particularly concerned about what happens in APGA. Let us now look at the options.

Subterfuge is a major character of politics. So, one might give with one hand and forcefully take what he has given with the other hand. This is especially under the circumstances in view. So it could be that Nwankwo has Soludo’s full support to regain APGA ticket from the court. Governor Soludo is the leader of APGA and so, it is almost impossible to think that he is not interested in what is happening in the party, not to mention in his own senatorial zone. There is just no way it is possible for the governor not to be interested in who flies APGA flag in his senatorial zone. Therefore, there could only be two reasons; either the governor is still supporting his friend, Hon. Ben Nwankwo or the governor has a preferred candidate for the senatorial seat, who is contesting in another party. Whatever the case may be, it is now abundantly clear that the governor is returning Hon. Azubogu’s 2021 favour. Considering that Hon. Nwankwo is Soludo’s friend and ally, there is no way the party or the governor would not have neutralized the court case if he was supporting Azubogu’s candidacy. For the case to linger and eventually go against Azubogu speaks to the governor’s own position on the matter. Head or tail, what is certain is that the governor’s position is not in Azubogu’s favour. It does not exactly matter if the judgment has awarded the victory to Ben Nwankwo or not, Azubogu simply does not enjoy the governor’s support. Otherwise, resolving the case out of court would have been easy, and at no cost at all.

At the end, APGA risks not having a senatorial candidate for Anambra South and if they do, the party might just have been too fractured to have a good outing in February 2023.

Ebuka Onyekwelu (Staff Writer)
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