Anambra poll: Obiora Okonkwo is ZLP candidate

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The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) has named a prominent businessman, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, as its candidate for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State.

Okonkwo became the party’s standard bearer, following the completion of ZLP’s substitution at the weekend at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The party sent his name to INEC after his resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In the All Progressives Congress (APC), a governorship aspirant, George Moghalu, has gone to court to challenge Andy Uba’s candidacy.

He is also seeking the refund of his N22 million for expression of interest and nomination fees.

Joined in the suit are: the APC National Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni and the INEC.

Moghalu is claiming in the suit that the APC did not comply with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s regulations and guidelines during its governorship primary in Anambra State.

At the last mention of the case on July 29, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN), explained that the new motion for leave to include Buni as a party in the suit was informed by the realisation of the plaintiff’s legal team that the APC’s caretaker chairman was a necessary party.

But lawyers to the defendants, including Mahmud Magaji (SAN), said they were within time to respond to the suit, more so when the new motion was served on them in court.

They sought time to file their responses.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned till August 10 for hearing.

Moghalu also urged the court to grant a perpetual injunction to restrain Uba from parading himself as the candidate of the APC in the election; and an order of mandatory injunction compelling INEC to delist the APC and Uba from the its list.

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Despite the lukewarm attitude of the national leadership in resolving the complaints of 11 Anambra APC aspirants, eight of them have said they would remain in the ruling party.

They threatened to pursue and reclaim their mandates allegedly stolen during the party’s primaries in June.

Two other aspirants have dumped the party to pursue their aspirations in other political parties, while the last aspirant is still undecided.

To beat the July 30, 2021 deadline for the substitution of candidate’s names to INEC, two aggrieved aspirants have defected.   They are: Col. Geoff Onyejegbu (retd.) who has joined the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Chidozie Nwankwo, who pitched his tent with African Action Congress (AAC).

It was also gathered that Ben Etiaba may have dumped the APC for the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

In the PDP, the scenario is not different. Okonkwo resigned from the party in protest, following what he called the outcome of the illegitimate primary characterised by the setting aside of the party’s constitution and imposition of unlawful processes.

He said the illegal primary opened a floodgate of litigations currently starring the platform in the face.

Also submitted to INEC was the name of Dame Jessie Balonwu, a lawyer and former member of the House of Representatives, as the running mate to Dr. Okonkwo.

Balonwu, a former PDP State Women Leader, who is from Onitsha North and South Federal Constituency of Anambra North, was also the first Igbo woman senator-elect and Commissioner for Education in Anambra State.

She also served as Chairman of Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) between 2005 and 2007.

Okonkwo’s defection to ZLP was allegedly motivated by pleas by political and community leaders, opinion molders, stakeholders, support groups and other advocates of good governance in Anambra State.

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