From Obinna Odogwu, Jeff Amechi Agbodo and Braide Damiete
Candidate for the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in Anambra State governorship election, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, appears to be enjoying mass appeal with chieftains of other major political parties discretely rallying round him, to form an alliance ahead of the November 6 poll.
Some top members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) were sighted in meetings with the ZLP candidate as the battle for political control of the state hots up.
Sources at one of the recent meetings hinted that such key stakeholders in PDP, APGA and APC are convinced that participation of their parties in the election would amount to waste of time and resources, given that they do not have validly nominated candidates.
According to our source, leaders sighted at the meetings include those who are dissatisfied with the flawed nomination processes in their respective parties and whose decision to align with Okonkwo in the coalition ZLP has been strengthened by public apprehensions that their parties do not have valid candidates and may have reached their dead ends.
It was gathered that PDP, APC and APGA leaders, have already agreed to deliver their respective wards and local government areas to the ZLP under the coalition agreement, in line with the decision of critical stakeholders from the three senatorial zones and 21 local government areas in the state.
They were said to have complained that the campaigns of their parties are not focused on the core issues of development, but tied around overbearing political godfathers, who are not ready to carry others along.
“I can confirm to you that key members of the campaign councils of the APC, PDP and APGA have been holding meetings with the ZLP and the coalition candidate, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, and they have agreed to deliver their respective wards and local government areas to the ZLP.
“The people are convinced that the PDP, APGA and APC do not have validly nomination candidates for the election. In PDP, Valentine Ozigbo was nominated without meeting the required two-third of their delegates. There are also many court issues on the validity of his candidature. There are similar nomination issues in APC and APGA and of course, nobody wants to be on a journey that leads to nowhere”, the source hinted.
It was gathered that while some of such leaders will publicly announce their alignment with ZLP in the coming weeks, others have decided to stay back in their parities but pull support for ZLP and Okonkwo on the coalition arrangement.
The development is said to have weakened the major political parties as well as heightened mutual suspicions and bad blood within their camps as more members develop apathy towards their sagged campaigns.
This is more in the PDP where some members of the campaign council have already pulled out while other key stakeholders have announced their non-involvement in the campaign.
An APGA member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, corroborated the development, adding that there was serious disenchantment within the party.
When contacted, Publicity Secretary of ZLP’s Campaign Council, Afam Dozie Ofomata, confirmed the political alignment noting that it was in line with the agreement reached by political stakeholders across parties in Anambra state to support Dr. Obiora Okonkwo as coalition candidate on the platform of the ZLP.