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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day APC stormed Anambra

The crowd that witnessed the recent flag-off of the campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State was unprecedented. NWANOSIKE ONU, who witnessed the campaign, reports.

From all indications, the campaign for the November 18, governorship election in Anambra State has started. The three major political parties contesting the election have flagged off their campaign rallies. The parties are the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The three rallies witnessed huge crowds. While the ruling APGA held its rally at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the state capital, the PDP and APC chose the All Saints Cathedral Church, Onitsha, for the event.

Among the key parties participating in the election, only the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA) is yet to flag-off its campaign. The PPA is scheduled to begin its campaign for the election this Saturday and it has equally chosen the All Saints Cathedral Church, Onitsha, as the venue.

Going by the crowd that attended the APC rally, where Dr. Tony Nwoye was formally presented to the people, observers are beginning to re-evaluate the chances of the party in the election. Before now, the party was perceived as fringe player that has no chance of winning the election, because of the alleged marginalization of the Southeast zone in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But, after the flag-off of the party’s campaign, the perception has changed. The rally was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, 12 APC governors 17 ministers, 22 senators and many members of the House of Representatives.

The roll call of dignitaries also included members of the diplomatic corps and frontline business men and women. Apart from the dignitaries, many members of the ruling party at the centre from far and near also stormed Awka for the rally, in solidarity with Dr. Nwoye.

Former governor of the old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo, told the gathering that the late President of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, presented him to the people of Anambra in 1979, when he was 39 years. He said he is presenting Nwoye to the people in the same way.

The National Organizing Secretary of the APC, Senator Osita Izunaso, Southeast Chairman of the party, Emma Enukwu, among others, spoke in the same vein. They all said that if the APC fails to capture Anambra State, which is regarded as the gateway to Igboland, the development will spell doom for the party in the Southeast come 2019.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, told the mammoth crowd that Anambra State represents an opportunity for the party to take over Southeast, particularly with Nwoye as its flag bearer.

For the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, the APC is now in a position to win Anambra, unlike in the past. He said jocularly in Pidgin English: “Before, we no get papa and mama, but today we get them. That was why the APC was losing election in the state, but that era has gone; it is time for them to cry now.”

Nwoye, whose voice became croaky, nearly wept for joy, as he looked at the crowd that graced his flag-off and told the people that he would never disappoint them, if he is elected governor on November 18.

To the delight of the gathering, Nwoye told Vice President Osinbajo that the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway should be repaired, because the condition of the road is causing untold hardship to the people of the zone.

He said his major priority as a physician would be on primary health care, agriculture and job creation for the youths, who according to him, had really suffered for lack of job opportunities.

Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai narrated his experience in the hands of former Governor Peter Obi and former President Goodluck Jonathan, when he was arrested and detained in a hotel in the state during the 2013 election.

El-Rufai said his only offence for being detained in 2013 was because he was a member of an opposition party. He added: “But, here I am today, as governor and I can now freely talk in Anambra and nobody can arrest today in a similar manner.”

Osinbajo said two million dollars had already been paid by the Federal Government on the Second Niger Bridge. He also said the railway project linking Lagos and Calabar would pass through Onitsha and that the two projects and the repair work on some federal roads in the Southeast were captured in the 2018 budget.

He said President Buhari loves the people of Anambra and that he wants to do everything that would please them. The Vice President added that Federal Government would not make fake promises.

Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, said he had been a lone ranger in the zone, as governor, adding that Nwoye would soon join him.

The Chairman of the Tony Nwoye Campaign Committee and Bauchj State Governor Mohammed Abubarka, said he would deliver Anambra State for the APC come November 18.

The Anambra APC Secretary, Chukwuma Agufugo, said from the turnout for the rally that it is obvious that the party is going to win the election.

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