Friday, 22 September 2017

Anambra 2017: Religious politics boils political terrain

Image result for pictures of Anambra 2017 guber candidates

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

There is no doubt that the battle to occupy Anambra State government House comes March 17, 2018 when tenure of the incumbent governor and candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Willie Obiano would expectedly end, has shifted from zoning to Christian religious denomination. observed that the two major Christian religious denominations likely to produce either the governor or the deputy governor on the November 18 gubernatorial race are Catholic and Anglican churches.

Already, four major participating political parties namely, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), All Progressive Congress (APC), United Progressive Party (UPP) and Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) have chosen their governorship and deputy governorship candidates along this line.

The PDP standard flag-bearer, Sir Oseloka Obaze is a Catholic while his Deputy, Lady Chidi Onyemelukwe is an Anglican. Also, Obaze, while stating why he picked Onyemelukwe as a running mate, disclosed that “Onyemelukwe was considered after about three weeks of painstaking consultations with leadership of Anglican communion, her family, the PDP hierarchy (both National and State) Stakeholders in Anambra and beyond.”

Similarly, Onyemelukwe hails from Oko in Orumba North Local Government Area (Anambra south, a zone with about 60% Anglican population). Relatively, the APGA candidate, Governor Willie Obiano is a Catholic faithful whose running-mate, Dr Nkem Okeke is an Anglican.

The APC’s standard flag bearer, Tony Nwoye is a Catholic even as his Deputy, Dozie Ikedife Jnr. is an Anglican from Anglican populated Nnewichi, Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area.

In the same vein, the UPP candidate, Chief Osita Chidoka is an Anglican while his Deputy, Chief Marcel Ogbonnaya Okeke, is a Catholic faithful from Ogbunka, Orumba South Local Government Area (Anambra south Anglican populated zone).

The PPA candidate, Godwin Ezeemo is a staunch Anglican from Umuchu in Aguata Council Area of Anambra South. He is yet to pick a running mate and it was expected that whoever he would chose must be a Catholic.

`However, further findings show that Anambra has been a den of religious politics since it was created from old Anambra State and especially upon return of democracy. For instance, when Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife of Social Democratic Party (SDP), an Anglican from Igboukwu in Aguata Local Government Area was governor (from January 2nd 1992 to November 17, 1993), his Deputy, late Dr Chidi Nwike, was a Catholic from Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area.

Also, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, a Pentecostal ruled the state from 1999 to 2003 and was allegedly denied second term for not been a Catholic or Anglican even though that his deputy, Chinedu Emeka was a Catholic.

Similarly, when Dr Chris Ngige, a Catholic was a governor in 2003 to 2006, his deputy was an Anglican, Dr Okey Udeh. Also, Peter Obi, a Catholic was deputize by Dame Virgy Etiaba, an Anglican who was later replaced with Emeka Sibudu, also an Anglican, following some issues arising from Obi’s impeachment.

On taking over the mantle of leadership for 17 days as governor, Dr Andy Uba, an Anglican was Deputized by Mrs Stella Odife, a Catholic from Nkwelle-Ezunaka. Also the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano is a Catholic while his Deputy Nkem is an Anglican.



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