President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday presented the list of his ministerial nominees to the Senate.
The list contained 28 names from various states, including Anambra.
However, 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 aspirant of the 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, and who have also worked for the party and supported it financially, would be allowed to bag appointments under the President 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 are given appointments in the new administration.
It was gathered that the reason for the decision was because of past experiences, especially 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 they will later forget the party, there was need to write down the names of 50 prominent and recognisable members, from all the 21 local government areas of the State for submission to the federal government.
But Thursday’s ministerial list was a shock to many members of the party in Anambra State.
There were speculations that two prominent sons of the state from APC would bag appointment 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 leader of the APC in the State. He was the governorship candidate of the party in Anambra State in the last governorship election.
On the other hand, Paul Chukwuma is a prominent politician and former Director General of Andy Uba Campaign organisation during his (Uba) 2021 governorship bid.
Meanwhile, there have been insinuations that both Uba and Chukwuma have not been enjoying a robust relationship, a situation that 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.
According to a party source, “Since the swearing in of Tinubu, both Chukwuma and Uba have been flexing muscles over who should be appointed minister.
“Both of them have been going around lobbying, hoping to gain favour from the relevant offices.”
It was, however, gathered that because of the cross-fire between the two most highest ranking members of the party in the State, Tinubu decided to shun both men, leading to the appointment of a neutral personality, and little-known Ohanenye.
It was also gathered from a source that members of the party from both Andy Uba and Paul Chukwuma faction 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 contacted the State chairman of the party, Mr Basil Ejidike for reaction, he did not respond.
But the Publicity Secretary of the party, Dr Valentine Ike Oliobi stated that 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 has been appointed. 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 the Anambra slot; so I see nothing wrong with Mrs Uju Kennedy Ohanenye’s appointment. Also, remember that it is the sole prerogative of the president to appoint his ministers.”
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 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 N9 million. I’m not aware that there is any rift between both men.”