By Chioma Iruke
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed Charles Soludo as the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, following a new court order.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, alongside his running mate, Onyekachi Ibezim, were in July removed from the commission’s list of cleared candidates in recognition of an order by the High Court of Jigawa State, questioning the emergence of the duo and the legality of the party’s leadership that produced them.
INEC, however, in a press release on Thursday, following a closed door meeting, said seven governorship candidates and 11 deputy candidates had been substituted by 11 out of the 18 parties participating in the forthcoming Anambra governorship race.
The commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye said accompanied by a document highlighting the affected political parties, the inclusion of Mr Soludo on the list in place of Mr Umeoji is in cognizance of a new judgement from the Court of Appeal in Kano State which dismissed the earlier order of the Jigawa High Court issued in July on the leadership of APGA and the emergence of the ex-CBN governor in the last governorship primaries.
While both Andy Uba and Ifeanyi Ubah remain the respective governorship candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Young Progressive Congress (YPP), their deputies have been substituted with Chukwuemeka Okafor and Okechukwu Eze, respectively.
APGA on Friday inaugurated its National Campaign Council and Committees in Anambra, ahead of the November 6 governorship poll.
Leader and Chairman, Board of Trustees of APGA, Governor Willie Obiano, performed the inauguration, with himself as chairman.
Other members are National Chairman of APGA, Dr Victor Oye, Dep. Gov. Nkem Okeke, the Governor’s Wife Mrs Ebele Obiano, APGA National Secretary, Mr Labaran Maku, and former APGA National Chairman, Sen. Victor Umeh.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, was appointed the Director-General of the campaign committee, which has top government and party officials as members.
Soludo also thanked God for the Appeal Court judgment that gave him victory over Chuma Umeoji, who was earlier published by INEC as the party’s candidate, adding that with the judgment, there was no longer anything like faction in APGA.
Also, Umeh, who is the Chairman, APGA Peace and Reconciliation Committee, congratulated the leadership of the party for ensuring that INEC recognised Soludo as the duly nominated candidate.
Umeh said Soludo’s candidacy was a collective decision of the leadership and stakeholders of APGA.
He predicted a resounding victory for APGA and warned that there would be no space for rigging.