How Infighting in APC Cost Andy Uba,Chukwuma, Ministerial Appointments

By Ikeugonna Eleke

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, Thursday, July 27, unveiled the ministerial list sent to it by President Bola Tinubu.

The list contained 28 names from various states, including Anambra. Contrary to month-long speculations that Andy Uba or Paul Chukwuma were going to be appointed, the nominee for Anambra State was announced as Barr Uju Kennedy Ohanenye.

Ohanenye, a presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the Presidential Primary of 2022, though a staunch member, is not considered to be a heavy weight in Anambra State where the state chapter of the party had two weeks ago perfected plans to ensure that only members known to the party who have also worked for the party and supported it financially would be allowed to bag appointments under the President Bola Tinubu Government.

Two weeks ago, during an extraordinary stakeholders meeting held in Awka, the Party in the state, marshalled out plans to ensure that only diligent, faithful and card carrying members of the party are given appointments in the new administration.

Fides gathered that the reason for the decision was because of past experiences that the party has had with appointees of the Federal Government during President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year term in which some beneficiaries turned their back on the party.

The party resolved that in order not to have infiltrators who will be given appointments from outside and later forget the party, there was need to write down the names of 50 prominent and recognizable members from all the 21 local government areas of the state for submission to the Federal Government for considerations for appointments.

But Thursday’s ministerial list was a shock to many members of the party in Anambra State. There had been speculations that two prominent sons of the state from APC would bag appointments in the Tinubu presidency. The men are Senator Andy Uba and Mr Paul Chukwuma.

Senator Uba is a prominent politician in the state, a former presidential aide, former governor and the leader of APC in the state. He was the governorship candidate of the party in Anambra State in the last governorship election. On the other hand is Paul Chukwuma, a prominent politician and former Director General of Andy Uba Campaign organization during his (Uba) 2021 Governorship Bid.

Chukwuma was favoured by many members of the party in the state because he was seen as a core politician, more liberal and above all, very highly educated and intelligent.

Meanwhile, both Uba and Chukwuma have been at daggers drawn, a situation that has for sometime now left Anambra APC divided. The fight between both men were said to have begun after the 2021 Governorship Election where Chukwuma worked for Uba as his DG of campaigns.

‘Uba accused Chukwuma of mismanaging funds donated for his campaign and even to the point of accusing him of stealing the money. This has polarized the APC in Anambra, with some people joining forces with Chukwuma against Uba; while some members are sticking with Uba.

‘Since the swearing in of Tinubu, both Chukwuma and Uba have been flexing muscles over who should be appointed minister for Anambra’s slot. Both of them have been going around lobbying and even slandering each other’s names, hoping to gain favour from relevant offices.

‘While Uba is petitioning everyone and telling them how Chukwuma looted his campaign fund, Chukwuma is also lobbying and telling everyone how Andy Uba shortchanged Anambra delegates during the 2022 APC Presidential Primary where he had been accused of cornering a huge amount of dollars given to him by President Tinubu to take care of Anambra delegates,’ an anonymous source revealed to Fides.

It was however gathered that because of the cross-fire between the two highest ranking members of the party in the state who are also interested in the ministerial nomination, Tinubu may have, in his wisdom, decided to shun both men, leading to the appointment of a neutral personality and little-known Ohanenye.

Fides gathered from a source that members of the party from both Andy Uba and Paul Chukwuma factions of Anambra APC are in deep shock over the listing of Ohanenye.

The source said: ‘This may further engineer more fight between both factions. The last stakeholders meeting was full of rancour because of the problem between both Uba and Chukwuma but now that two of them have lost out, let’s see what they will do.’

When Fides contacted the State Chairman of the party, Mr Basil Ejidike, for reaction to this, he failed to react. But the Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr Valentine Ike Oliobi, said there was no truth in the assertion that the party was unhappy with the nomination of Barr Uju Kennedy Ohanenye as a minister.

‘Mrs Ohanenye is a core party person and our prayer was for a party person to be appointed as the minister for Anambra. We said it in our last stakeholders’ meeting and we are happy that she is appointed (nominated). Those who are saying she is not a core party woman are telling lies. If she was not, she would not have contested for the position of the president. Remember she was the only woman who stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in the last election.

She is an Anambra daughter, even though she is married to a man outside the state. If you want to contest that, then there are antecedents. Josephine Anenih was a daughter of Anambra State, but was married to an Edo man and she was appointed minister with Anambra slot. Stella Oduah too was married outside the state, but her ministerial appointment was with Anambra slot, so I see nothing wrong with Mrs Uju Kennedy Ohanenye’s appointment (nominated). Also, remember that it is the sole prerogative of the president to appoint his ministers,’ Oliobi said.

Also speaking about the infighting between Uba and Chukwuma, Oliobi said: ‘What I know is that Andy was working to become a minister, but I’m not aware that Chukwuma was working to be minister. In fact, he even said it that he was not interested in any position. He served Andy Uba as DG of campaigns and after Andy lost, he rendered account and returned laptops, printers, photocopiers and tendered the remnant of funds used for the election which was about N9million. I’m not aware that there is any rift between both men.’