By Titus Eleweke, Awka
The vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Peter Obi is from Anambra State. It is the same with Jennifer, the wife of Atiku Abubakar who is the PDP’s standard bearer for the presidential race and the two are doing everything to see that they deliver in the February 16 polls.
Few days to the presidential election, the campaign for the coveted seat is becoming tougher in Anambra State, as the two-major political heavy weights, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have intensified efforts towards wooing voters.
Though the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Young Progressive Party (YPP), two parties formed by sons of Anambra have fielded their presidential candidates, the battle line appeared to be between the presidential candidate of APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku of the PDP.
Many other political parties have fielded candidates in Anambra; but only the PDP and APC are busy touring every nook and cranny of the state soliciting for people votes ahead of February 16.
The rallies of the two major presidential contenders held recently at Holy Trinity Onitsha were like carnivals, full of activities, considering the mammoth crowd that graced the two functions.
Anambra State has about 2.8million registered voters and but about 190,000 voters are yet to collect their permanent voters’ card (PVC).
In 2015 presidential elections, PDP secured 660,762 and APC got only 17,926 votes while other parties shared the rest. In all, a total of 703,409 votes were recorded during the race.
His safety lies in the Peter Obi connection. As a former Governor of Anambra State, Obi had strong political structure and there is the belief that the electorate would vote for him and by extension Atiku.
On the other hand, Jennifer had of recent frequented Anambra and other states in the South-East soliciting support for her husband.
Just recently during Atiku’s campaign in the state, the PDP stressed that if Atiku wins, their daughter will be in the State House and their son will be second in command.
The entrance of people like Senator Andy Uba and others into APC, the presence of the Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige will most likely deplete the number of votes the PDP would get in Anambra.
Also, the feud between Obi and the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano will play a role against PDP in the state.
Obiano has consistently called on Anambra people to vote for APGA candidates all through, saying they should ignore any call by PDP to vote for their candidates.
There is also a rumour that Obiano is secretly working and supporting President Buhari even though he had denied the allegation severally. Obiano believes that PDP does not exist in Anambra, saying only APGA does.
APC is strongly banking on the strength of Senator Uba and Dr. Ngige considering their grassroots support in the state.
Uba is a sitting senator with enormous supporters and followers, while Ngige is also a serving Minister and a former governor with great followership.
Ngige is being respected because he changed a lot of things in the state, including salaries of civil servants. He also demystified the concept of godfatherism and built many infrastructure in the state during his short stay as governor. He is still loved by the people of the state.
Also, Buhari’s promise of completing the Second Niger Bridge and paying more attention to the South-East might play significant role in the voting pattern in the state. People are yearning for the completion of the Second Niger Bridge at Onitsha and they have seen the commitment in APC.
The commissioning of Zik Mausoleum and conference centre might also play a critical role in garnering more votes for APC and the promise of making an Igbo man next president if APC is re-elected might as well play important role in increasing votes for APC.
The Obi and Jennifer Atiku connections will seriously work against APC in the state because of what the people of Anambra might likely gain if Atiku wins.
Similarly, the alleged marginalization of Ndi-Igbo by the present government especially for denying them a slot for any of the service chiefs is seen as a minus for the ruling government.