THE gubernatorial interest of one of the illustrious political candidates for the upcoming Anambra State Governorship Election, business mogul and philanthropist, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah seems to have hit the rocks.
As it is evident that he must have probably lost the support of one of his major backers, the country’s First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Ubah, who plans to contest on the platform of the Labour Party (LP), lost his formidable ally on the insistence of the country’s Number one citizen, President Goodluck Jonathan. The President was said to have ordered that, loquacious Ubah should no longer be allowed into the Aso Rock, Abuja for his inadvertent lack of disrespect to the person of his wife.
Ubah, who was apparently over excited by his recent closeness with Dame Patience was said to have gone about boasting that he has already won the much coveted gubernatorial election and the nobody can do anything to him as regard his much publicized fuel subsidy fraud case with the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police Force (SFU).
To prove the level of his closeness with the country’s First Lady, he, reportedly, stated that, he even enters her bedroom. And that she is like a mother to him and he, like a son.
The piqued President was said to have ordered that he does not want to see him anywhere near the Abuja seat of power.
Sources in the Presidency also confided in National Daily that despite the perpetual court injunction Ubah obtained from the court in order to prevent hisbeen rearrested by the SFU,there is the possibility of his facing fresh charges.
Uba was indicted in the report submitted by the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhude-led 15-man Presidential Committee on the Verification and reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan to re-investigate the findings of the report of an earlier investigation panel indicted Capital Oil for fraud. Findings revealed that Uba made a whooping N22.4 billion from the subsidy scam.
Sources informed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allocated to Ubah’s Capital Oil 75 per cent of kerosene supplies to distribute to the entire country at N50 pump price.
But the cheapest of the product at the depot is N120 per litre and N135 at the filling stations while Capital Oil makes more than N70 on each litre of kerosene sold.
National Daily learnt that Ubah illegally made over N60 billion from payments from kerosene subsidy with his Capital Oil as the major player in the kerosene deals.
Sources hinted that Ubah who made a payment plan of N2 billion with Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) reneged severally and started playing hide and seek anytime the Mustapha Chike Obi led agency approaches him to pay up his debts.
Capital Oil is one of the firms which received dodgy payments running into billions of naira from the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) on kerosene, petrol and diesel subsidy.
Government paid a total sum of N3.655 trillion to beneficiaries of fuel subsidy between 2006 and 2011, while amount jumped to a whooping N1.426 trillion between January and August last year.
But despite Ubah’s woes the battle for the Governorship of Anambra State has entered a frenzy phase with all the political gladiators from the leading parties to wit :- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)/ All progressive Congress (APC), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Labour Party (LP) refusing to accept a consensus candidate.
Uba, from Anambra South, currently in the Senate is hoping to clinch the ruling PDP’s ticket
Uba, a one-time governor of the state, albeit illegally, plans to replace, incumbent Peter Obi, whom he unseated barely a year into his term in May 2007.
Uba, at that time, was regarded as one of the most powerful men in Nigeria in view of his closeness with former president Olusegun Obasanjo. However, the Supreme Court surprised him just 17 days after his inauguration with the ruling that he was occupying an office that rightfully belonged to Mr. Obi.
Moments after that historic judgment, Uba’s associates tried to spin the story that the judgment suspended his governorship until after Obi’s first term. But that was not to be as Obi successfully fought off all other challengers, including Uba in the 2010 election. Uba who contested that election on the platform of Labour Party, a party many of his associates had long been associated with, and trailed badly in the 2010 election despite winning the 2007 election conducted by Prof. Maurice Iwu.
As the race for the PDP representative heats up, it is apparent that Uba has serious issues on his hand. Foremost is the fact that Uba has the issue of zoning that is now being hotly debated in the state. Uba, who is from Anambra South, shares the same zone with two former governors of the state: Chinwoke Mbadiniju and Emeka Ezeife.
Although he is said to have the backing of the President, he has a strong challenger in the person of one Akachukwu Nwamkpo.
Nwamkpo is former aide of Jonathan when he was deputy-governor in Bayelsa State. He was said to be his Special Adviser Technical. And his closeness with the President was noted to have secured him the position of Secretary of the Dr. Christopher Kolade-led Sure-P. He has since resigned from the position.
Nwamkpo demonstrated his determination to prevent Uba lately, when he dragged some eminent people from the president’s home state of Bayelsa to Aso Rock to plead with his former boss to endorse his candidature.
The Obasanjo connection is however giving the President much cause for contemplation, because Jonathan has being trying to dissuade his ex-godfather from dumping him for another candidate from the North.
With the rift between Andy and Chris his younger brother settled, there is this belief that the Senator’s camphas grown stronger.
It is on record that Senator Chris Ngige stole the show in the Senate chambers as the two of the three senators from Anambra State declared their intention to vie for the forthcoming gubernatorial election.
Ngige, hoping to grab the ACN ticket is representing Anambra Central. He and Andy Uba of PDP had in separate letters to the Senate informed the legislative house of their separate decisions to contest the election.
The acclamation of Onwa! Onwa! had trailed Ngige’s letter was regarded by pundits as the characteristic of the charisma and camaraderie the former governor gathers in his public and private outings.
Ngige, also, a governed the state on the platform of the PDP between 2003 and 2006 when the Court of Appeal ruled that Mr. Peter Obi and not him, was the winner of the 2003 gubernatorial election.
While Ngige is hailed for his historic accomplishments in office in the three years he governed the state and for changing the style and structure of governance as dictated by the godfathers.
But Ngige, findings revealed, has former Senator Annie Okonkwo and Godwin Ezeimo to grapple with.
While busy playing Abuja politics, Ngige is believed to have been gradually usurped by Ezeimo, who many regarded as a philanthropist and grassroots mobiliser. He is said to be the chief sponsor of the party in the state and is highly favoured to win the primary if Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s powerful national leader do not interfere.
Although Ngige is still considered as popular, there is the visible fact that he does not have the financial muscle. He is said to have one Engr. Emeka Okwuosa, Managing Director, Oil Serve Limited, as one of his major sponsors.
Ngige, equally, has to deal with the fact that his intended party platform APC is yet to be acknowledged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a development that could throw off his potential voters.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and aspirant on the platform of the ruling PDP in the last gubernatorial election is set to join APGA this week and declare his governorship ambition.
Indications that Soludo will turn out to be the lead candidate in APGA surfaced last week during a meeting held by the President with Governor Obi, APGA Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh and Bianca Ojukwu, widow of the late Biafra war lord, Dim Emeka Ojukwu, who was the founder of the party, in attendance.
The meeting was on how to restore peace to the party but the meeting dovetailed into the coming election and Obi as expected was angling for the President to support his candidate in the person of one Chinedu Idigo, brother to a very close friend and confidant of his, Adaeze Idigo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands.
Obi wanted the zoning formula to play a decisive role and stated that the next governor should come from Anambra North.
But Umeh was said to have expressed his disagreement arguing that Obi has no real electoral base in the state and is not in the position to dictate pace of political development.
Bianca and Umeh were said to have attacked Obi, accusing him of using late Ojukwu’s name toan undue advantage.
The President was said to have told them that he is not interested in deciding who should rule the state that all he is after is peace in Anambra and credible poll.
Sources within APGA, however, informed that both Umeh and Bianca have only one candidate in mind, Soludo.
Idigo, Obi’s candidate, is said to be politically naïve and lost the last election to the Federal House of Representatives, despite the huge amount spent on him by Obi and he is thus likely to lose again if foisted on APGA.
But Soludo will find strong opposition in four of the five APGA members of House of Representatives, as they have all indicated interest in the seat.
Pundits are however quick to point out that any candidate that emerges in any of these parties has religion to contend with.
Majority of the citizens of Anambra are Catholics and it is the church that would largely determine who becomes governor.
For instance in the present cabinet Obi, out of the 30 permanent secretaries, 26 are catholics and the same number reflects in the membership of the state cabinet.
adapted from nationaldaily