A new pressure group, Save Anambra State Group (SASG), has appealed to Barrister Emeka Okafor, a first cousin of Labour and Productivity Minister, Chris Ngige, not to accept the reported offer of being the running mate of Senator Andy Uba, the controversial All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state.

Speaking to journalists in Awka today, the SASG president, Comrade Julius Enweugwu, and the secretary, Mr. Matthew Ifeanyi, said that if Okafor becomes “Uba’s deputy, it will negate all the Ngige administration in Anambra State from 2003 to 2006 stood for in its fight against godfatherism, buccaneering, election rigging, squandering of riches and political violence on a grand scale.”

Okafor, according to the pressure group, “belonged to the sanctum sanctorum, or holy of holies, in the Ngige administration which told all Nigerians that Andy Uba, then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s most powerful aide, was responsible for the calamities which our state was experiencing like the burning of the Government House, the Governor’s Lodge, the state legislature, the Anambra Broadcasting Service and the Judicial Complex and the abduction of Governor Ngige without the police arresting the culprits.”

The state government stated that the calamities were visited upon the state because of Governor Ngige’s refusal to sign a billion naira (N2bn) to Andy Uba’s younger brother, Chief Chris and his group who claimed to be the godfathers of Anambra politics.

Comrade Enweugwu noted that Dr. Ngige has been the most consistent critic of the APC congress of June 26 which saw Uba emerge the gubernatorial candidate as he alleges that no congress took place in each of the 21 local government areas in the state.

Thirteen of the 14 gubernatorial aspirants corroborate Ngige’s criticism, with Chief George Moghalu, the managing director of the Nigerian Inland National Waterways Authority, going to court to disqualify Uba as the APC candidate on the ground that he won no election.

Alongside the 13 aspirants, the minister described as phantom the 230,201 votes which the APC Panel on the Anambra Congress and Primary Election led by Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State allotted to Uba. The panel claimed on June 27 at Agulu Lake Golden Tulip Hotel in Anambra State that 348,490 votes were cast during the primary, even though it is debatable that there are up to 80,000 APC members in the state.

“If Barrister Okafor chooses to run with Andy Uba”, declared SASG secretary Enweugwu, “it all means that Dr Chris Ngige and his family members have taken all Nigerians, not just Anambra people, for a ride all these years.”

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He described as ominous for the Lagos-based lawyer a statement credited to an adviser to the Andy Uba Campaign Organization that Okafor would not be allowed close to the APC candidate because he would be considered a spy for Ngige.

The SASG scribe wondered why Okafor should consider running with Uba when some other persons, including a former female member of the state House of Assembly, approached earlier to be the running mate turned down the offer because of the controversial status of the Uba family in any Anambra State.

“Since none of the Ubas can win an election in the state,” he asked, “is it not strange that Okafor can even consider pairing with one of them, thereby lowering his esteem in the eyes of the people permanently?”