NewsNigeriaPoliticsDays to the Inauguration of Anambra State 8th Assembly: the Next Speaker Remains Sketchy

The inauguration of Anambra State 8th Assembly is expected to take place on the 12th day of June 2023, now only counting in days. So far, it is unclear, who is the governor’s preferred choice for the position. More so, APGA as a party is yet to take a position on the matter. What is perhaps definite, is that the contest can now be said to have been narrowed down to Hon. Ejike Okechuku of Anaocha II constituency and Hon. Emma Nwafor of Orumba South constituency. Both Nwafor and Okechukwu are colleagues in the current Assembly and have been elected to serve their second term of office respectively. However, while Nwafor is from Anambra South and from the old Aguata bloc from where Governor Chukwuma Soludo hails, Okechukwu hails from Anaocha, the same local government with Peter Obi and Victor Umeh, in Anambra Central zone.

As of today, less than thirteen days to go, it is still largely uncertain who the next speaker of the Assembly would be. To make it even more intriguing, Hon. Okechukwu and Hon. Nwafor both have certain permutations going for or against them, baring last minute upturn of events, which will move one to becoming Speaker and the other, to becoming Majority Leader of the House, I so predict. Particularly, in the event that Hon. Ejike Okechukwu becomes the speaker, Hon. Emma Nwafor is well built to serve the Assembly as the Majority Leader.

In any case, although APGA is yet to zone House of Assembly leadership or name its preferred choice for speaker, it is conceivable however, that the governor would likely not be disposed to having a speaker from his political bloc, not just his senatorial zone. Even though there are feelers that the bloc had intensified efforts at lobbying the governor. These efforts, information available suggest have now weakened, as the governor does not seem to be particularly enthusiastic about that. Yet, this must not be taken to mean that Hon. Emma Nwafor’s aspiration to become Speaker has hit the rocks. Then again, although Prof. Soludo is expected to demonstrate a higher level of sense of balance in distribution of political power, which though is a minus for Nwafor, but, one is reminded that this is politics and it can turn reason against itself in some cases. On the hand where you have Hon. Ejike Okechukwu, although from Central zone just as the Deputy Governor, however, the consolation for him is that he is not from the same Awka political bloc with the Deputy Governor. Therefore, in a way, it is more balanced than in the first case scenario. Ejike is said to be a protégée of Victor Umeh. This is a major demerit of Ejike, for many who, for one reason or another, do not actually want him as speaker. But in politics, when interests are aligned, the lines are blurred. But when interests are not aligned, the battle lines are bold and unmistaken. In this instance, the battle line between Ejike and Umeh or even Obi, are bold and unmistaken. Ejike is in APGA and Umeh is in LP, these two cannot meet except at opposing ends. So based on the reality of the day, clearly, there is nothing that will put Hon. Ejike and Sen. Umeh in the same box if not as opposition.

It even gets more interesting as many APGA leaders appear to favour Hon. Ejike, except that they have chosen to have their preference remain as a private conversation. But on a general note, both Hon. Ejike Okechukwu and Hon. Emma Nwafor have equal or comparable credentials in terms of qualifications and suitability for the position. But in terms of social skills, reach and a deeper grasp of the House and its activities, Hon. Ejike Okechukwu is no doubt ahead of Hon. Emma Nwafor.

In any case, the silence of the governor and the party have made it even more difficult for some politicians to pitch their tent because, they do not want to be caught in a camp that will end on the other side of history. Therefore, typically, politicians are just waiting to see where it is going before they take a stand. However, for many who are conversant with the members and issues at stake, the speakership for the 8th Assembly should rightly be narrowed down to the duo of Ejike Okechukwu and Emma Nwafor. Yet, between them, Ejike Okechukwu remains the better choice for the Assembly, the government and the party.

Ebuka Onyekwelu (Staff Writer)
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