2011: How amazons rev political engine in Anambra

Gone seem to be those days when politics was seen as a no-go area for women. In Anambra State today, they have taken the centre-stage in preparation for the April polls. NWANOSIKE ONU reports.

The struggle for various seats in Anambra State at the April general elections will be keenly contested between two political parties, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) have enlisted accomplished women to do the battle. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lost its pride of place owing to internal wrongling. This has strengthened the two parties.

The political war in the state has pitched most women against men in different parties with ACN and APGA parading mostly women for the seats.

In Anambra central senatorial zone, APGA has picked former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili to give any person from any other party in the area a tough fight.

The same party has brought out Senator Joy Emodi to fly its flag for the North senatorial zone.

For Anaocha/Dunukofia/Njikoka federal constituency in the state, APGA has brought out another formidable force in Hon. Mrs. Uche Ekwunife, the incumbent member representing the area at the National Assembly.

Ekwunife is lining up against another strong candidate in ACN, Mr. Ferdinand Nwankwo.

Also in APGA, Chinwe Nwebili, the member representing Ogbaru II constituency the House of Assembly was returned unopposed.

Before now, speculations had been rife that she had been withdrawn by APGA in order for her to be made Ogbaru Local Government chairman, but from the list made available by the party, it was all lies.

From the ACN end, Mrs. Jessie Balonwu, wife of the late Chief Patrick Balonwu (SAN) was elected to fly its flag for the North senatorial zone.

They are not the only Amazons in the political game in Anambra, but there are the most influential among the women. They are beautiful, intelligent and educated. Some men in Anambra state fear to tread where they do; they have become every thing a woman wants to be in life, but more importantly, they are young and still kicking.

Fear gripped members of APGA, when it was learnt that former governor of the state, Dr. Chris Ngige had indicated interest to challenge Akunyili for the central senatorial zone.

However, it seems Ngige’s interest has started waning owing to pressures on him. Politicians, traditional rulers and even members of APGA, The Nation gathered, inundated him with calls and visits to plead with him.

If, Ngige gives up due to the pressures, then Akunyili is as good as being at the Upper Chamber in June and her people will start counting their blessings as the woman has expressed her readiness to sacrifice everything to give her people good representation.

In the North senatorial zone, ACN parades Balonwu, while APGA has Emodi. Both are political earth-shakers in the zone. And if PDP’s internal problem over selections is resolved in Abuja and the ticket is handed to Marjorie Okadigbo, then the three amazons will lock horns at the elections.

Marjorie was the wife of the late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, and from all indications, the pendulum is swinging towards her, although Prince Kenneth Emeakayi has got an injunction restraining her and her party from parading or recognizing her among others.

The Nation

gathered that the presidency has interest in her being the PDP senatorial flag bearer in the district, while she was equally the anointed candidate of the former national chairman of the party, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo.
Though Prince Chinedu Emeka, former deputy to ex-Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju has dragged Emodi to the Federal High Court in Awka over the APGA primaries in the zone, Emodi holds the ace until the outcome of the matter.

Another area where the battle will be fierce is the federal constituency of Anaocha, Dunukofia and Njikoka where the incumbent, Hon. Uche Ekwunife is to face a stiff opposition from ACN’s candidate, Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo.

Before now, the people of the area believed that Ekwunife had represented them well before the emergence of Nwankwo which has brought division in the political kingdom.

However, ACN members believe that the woman who had sought the governorship seat of the state on February, 6, last year on the platform of Progressives People Alliance (PPA) has not done well for them, but APGA faithful see her as a messiah.

Ekwunife who has seen the challenge from Nwankwo as real threat, has intensified her efforts in making sure that APGA wins the seat.

She is not working alone. The state Governor, Mr. Peter Obi and the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh are all talking to the people on the need to vote APGA, but ACN members are also not sleeping.

The battle between Ekwunife and Nwankwo is much talked-about in the state. The same goes for the battle in Ogbaru where Chinwe Nwebili holds sway for APGA. She has become another political force.

While Emmanuel Nzeli and Somto Udeze are still struggling for the PDP ticket, Ifeanyi Nwadukwe of ACN and Nwebili have already started their campaigns.

The Ogbaru politician, from all indications, may cruise to victory, but the opposition being mounted by Nwadukwe of ACN is strong. She told The Nation at the weekend that the insinuation that she was going to contest for the chairmanship seat of Ogbaru was the handiwork of her political enemies, adding that she had never discussed anything like that with anybody.

She won her APGA ticket unchallenged in Ogbaru during the recent party’s primaries.

The ‘iron ladies’ of Anambra politics have set a promising tone for the future of women participation in the political development of the country.

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