Fresh out of plum offices, some aides of the former governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano seem in need of what to do, and the hallowed chambers of the Senate beckons, writes David-Chyddy Eleke.
Almost all the commissioners and senior aides of the former governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano have settled to run for one elective position or the other.
While some are gunning for House of Assembly seats, others have chosen to move to the House of Representatives, while the very courageous among them, including the wife of the former governor himself have settled for Senate.
Last week, it was a jostle among them, as the contestants and their supporters flocked Abuja in fully loaded flights to pick their expression of interest and nomination forms from the headquarters of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). It was like a show of some sort as aspirants competed with each other, over who would hit the party headquarters with the highest number of supporters, while the aspirants after obtaining the forms posed with them to show off.
Meanwhile, there is a serious power play among the contenders across the senatorial zones. Some of Obiano’s former aides, who are now known as ‘billionaire boys’ may already be working against the wishes of their former boss who made them, as reports have it that some of them recently staged a walk out on him.
While Obiano’s wife, Ebelechukwu Obiano is seriously warming up for a seat in the Senate to represent Anambra North, former Chief of Staff to Obiano, Mr Primus Odili is also gunning for the same position in the same zone, and is said to have defiantly rejected pleas to step down for the Ebelechukwu.
Sources said the people of the zone, especially Aguleri community where they both hail from, are more favourably disposed to having Primus represent the zone as he is young, vibrant and more articulate.
However, there seem to be pressure on the former governor, to ensure that the ticket of the party was handed to his wife. Sources said in a recent meeting called by Obiano in his home in Aguleri, he reportedly asked the duo of Primus Odili and Hon Chinedu Obidigwe to step down their ambitions for his wife.
Obidigwe is a member of the House of Representatives and a powerful grassroot mobiliser, and one of the men made by Obiano. THISDAY gathered that the idea behind asking Obidigwe to also step down, even though he is gunning for a separate seat was because he hails from Aguleri, and comes from the same town, and cannot produce a senator and a member of the House of Representatives at the same time.
In the said meeting, Obiano was said to have first reminded them of how he empowered them, and gave them free hand to operate, leading to their becoming big boys today, but the ‘boys’ rather than back down, looked their former boss in the face and told him to rather prevail on his wife to jettison her ambition for younger people like them. This was said to have enraged Obiano, who walked them out of his house in anger.
Already, the battle line seems drawn, with the former governor and his wife on one side, while Odili, Obidigwe and other young former aides of the former governor on one side have all aligned in the hope to defeat their boss.
In the Central senatorial zone too, the Chief of Protocol to the former governor, who also doubled as Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Uzuegbunam Okagbue has also thrown his hat in the ring, to challenge Obiano’s long time political ally, Chief Victor Umeh, who was two term national chairman of APGA, a former Senator and the Director General of Obiano’s reelection campaign in 2017.
Uzu, as he is popularly known is a young and admirable politician has however been roundly criticized for not having the requisite experience that can match Umeh’s, or also make the kind of impact that Umeh, who is already a respected voice would make.
While many believe that Uzu is being propelled by the funds he must have made while serving Obiano, the young politician has however continued with his quest for the seat, while also displaying sagacity and oratory in various fora where he has spoken.
During his declaration, Uzu told his supporters that he was not afraid to confront Chief Umeh, stating that the party would not want to waste her ticket, as severally, Umeh has been given the ticket of the party and has run and lost to other political parties.
Those who know Uzu however believe that he is a tenacious fighter, who never lets go. The former banker turned politician also boosted of having public and private sector experience, and that he was ready for leadership.
Undeterred however, Chief Umeh has already purchased his expression of interest and nomination forms, and being the experienced politician that he is, many believe he knows things that some of the fresh young billionaires may not know.
Speaking with THISDAY, a political analyst, Mr Chuks Udeh said he has belief that the billions in the possession of ‘Obiano’s boys’ was what was pushing them, saying that for now too, most of them are using it well, as youths have started flocking around them, including hyping their names on social media.
“The case of Anambra North Senatorial Zone is simply pathetic because neither Odili nor Mrs Obiano is cut out for the job of the Senate, but since they have the money, it will be an ego war between them. But for Anambra Central, I think Uzu is good and polished, but it takes only to get to the Senate to know that there are rankings there, and one may warm seats for several months without even being pointed at by the leadership of the Senate to make contributions.
“Senate is not a place you go to, to build roads and infrastructure, you go there to make laws, and for you to contribute meaningfully to national development, you must be very versed, and that is where they need Sir Victor Umeh. But of course, politics being what it is, it is for Umeh to convince the people that he is better as no one gives out such position on a platter.”