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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Anambra: Meet PDP Candidate, The UN Ex-Official Who Served As SSG To Obi, Obiano



Oseloka H. Obaze (OHO), on Monday emerged as Anambra governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Obaze was announced elected by Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi who conducted the primary election with his Awka Ibom counterpart, Emmanuel Udom.


Obaze was Secretary to the State Government of Anambra from 2012 to 2015.

He served under Governor Peter Obi and was re-appointed by incumbent Willie Obiano.

Obiano, who was openly backed by Obi, won the governorship election on the platform of APGA in 2013.

Obaze, the MD/CEO Selonnes Consult, also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012. He was a member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.

This is not the first time the diplomat would be attempting to become the governor of Anambra state.

Obaze had resigned his position as SSG on August 12, 2013, to seek the ticket of APGA for the gubernatorial election held November 6 of that year.

Obaze, was, however, disqualified from the race.

The party’s screening panel, led by Alhaji Tayo Sowunmi, disqualified him on the ground that he did not have a voter’s card.

A former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, was similarly disqualified from the governorship race.

As a compensation, the then Governor Obi, re-appointed Obaze as SSG.

Obaze after the re-appointment said that he could still add value to governance and service to the people of Anambra.

“I believe that we are entering the most critical phase of the Peter Obi’s administration, given the need to consolidate all political, economic and developmental gains.

“There is also the need to ensure continuity and to also ensure that we finish strong by winning the forthcoming gubernatorial elections and facilitating a seamless transition to the next APGA-led government in the state,” he told NAN.

Obaze worked under Obiano, the sitting governor he wants to oust

In March 2014, Governor Obiano after his swearing-in, retained Obaze as SSG and inaugurated Professor Joseph Asike as his Chief of Staff, and Mr Willy Nwaokoye as his Principal Secretary.

In fact, the appointments were the governor’s first official duty.

The reason not far-fetched: Obaze was a confidant of Obi, who fought hard not only to give Obiano the APGA ticket, but also mobilized for his victory.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Obiano expressed confidence in the appointees, whom he described as capable hands that have made their marks in their individual private careers.

“The task ahead is huge, we need the best of hands and I believe they will deliver”, the governor said.

Incidentally, it was Obaze who, on behalf of others, spoke after the oath of allegiance and office was administered on the trio by the Solicitor-General of the State, Mrs Tina Emekekwue.

He thanked Obiano for the honour done them, saying they would work to meet his expectations to surmount the challenges of governance in the state.

Although some political watchers believed he could spring surprise, many others did not give him a chance due to the well-known number of aspirants in the race.

They had contended that politicians and moneybags had interest in who emerges as PDP candidate and that an Obaze’s triumph as flagbearer was less-likely and should only be imagined.

But their analysis was shattered as PDP national leadership as well as governors backed the man put forward by Peter Obi.

Our correspondent reliably gathered that long before now, the governors had assured Obi, their former colleague, that they would align with any aspirant of his choice.

Makarfi, also a former governor of Kaduna, gave Obi his word that he would make party strength and structure available once the Supreme Court endorses his chairmanship as a reward for Obi’s support for him all through the legal tussle with Ali Modu Sheriff.

The effect of the massive support was clear at Monday’s primary as Obaze was too much for his opponents.

He polled 672 votes to beat the duo of Dr Alex Obiogbolu and Mr Ifeanyi Ubah who scored 190 and 94 votes respectively.

DAILY POST reports that other aspirants, sensing defeat, had pulled out from the race after issuing one claim or the other.

While Prof Ufodike announced his withdrawal without reason, pledging to support any aspirant that emerged, Prince John Emeka, a former minister cited “alterations” in the delegates list of the party as reason for his action.

The two women initially in contention, Senator Stella Oduah, a serving senator and former Aviation minister and Hon Linda Ikpeazu, a serving member of the House of representatives, also backed down.

However on Monday, Oduah explained why she withdrew from the primary.

Meanwhile, Obaze has reacted to his victory, with an appeal to PDP members to join hands with him to win the election.

“I thank God for this day and the outcome of our party primaries. I am humbled by this show of confidence reposed on me by the representative electorate of our great party, PDP.

“I thank our party leadership, the executive governors who oversaw the electoral process, the PDP southeast zonal leaders, and the Anambra state PDP caretaker committee, under the able leadership of Prof. ABC Nwosu.

“I congratulate and thank my fellow aspirants for their graciousness and extend a hand of fellowship to them and invite them to join me in the campaign to win the government house for our party.

“I thank my family, friends, admirers and supporters immensely. To Ndi Anambra, I promise in humility to remain focused on the campaign to turn Anambra around and deliver good governance to our people because Anambra deserves better”, he said.

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