As politicians strategize for the 2025 governorship election in Anambra State, indications have emerged that attention has shifted to the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, which is believed to have always played a strategic role in determining who occupies the Agu Awka Government House in Awka.
Named after one of Africa’s greatest statesmen ever, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Federal University is considered strategic in determining successive governors of Anambra State, especially since the inception of the present Fourth Republic in Nigeria, due to various reasons, including, the strategic role of the both the academic and nonacademic staff of the university and the influence of the management of the university at each election year in determining the winner of the governorship election.
Unsurprisingly, key politicians and political parties have descended on the revered citadel of learning with high-level political rigmaroles to install their preferred candidates as the new Vice-Chancellor of the university. Moneybags from across Anambra State and beyond are also said to be flexing their financial muscles and exploiting their contacts in Abuja to ensure that their preferred candidate is selected as the new Vice-Chancellor of the university.
While the university is yet to officially advertise for vacancy for the university’s Numero Uno, even though the tenure of the current Vice-Chancellor is expected to elapse in less than five months from now, some PDP bigwigs are said to have unified behind the immediate past Resident Electoral Commissioner for Imo State, Professor Francis Ezeonu whose history of partisan sympathy for the PDP, especially, within his time as the Imo State REC, was not hidden.
A professor of Applied Biochemistry in the faculty of Biosciences of the Awka-based University, Ezeonu is said to be enjoying the support of key PDP leaders because of his indisputable preference for the PDP during his time as INEC REC in Imo State, where he was notorious for controversially withholding votes from 388 polling booths in the 2019 governorship election in Imo State because the PDP lost in those booths.
Key PDP leaders are said to be mobilising funds and personal contacts to aid his emergence as the new Vice-Chancellor of UNIZIK, because they believe that he will not relent in supporting the PDP candidate in the 2025 election should there be a need for that.
In the same vein, the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is said to have adopted the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Ifeanyichukwu Ikechebelu as their preferred candidate to succeed the current Vice-Chancellor, by June 2024.
Ikechebelu, a professor of Obstetrics and gynecology is said to have been bankrolled by the governor, Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo given his close affinity with some critical leaders in the Anambra State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). A close ally of the current Vice-Chancellor, he is said to be enjoying the support of a key cabal within the Soludo and administration. He had told some close confidantes that Soludo’s second term is his project.
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The current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Esimone, a professor of biopharmaceutics and pharmaceutical biotechnology is alleged to have bought into the ambition of his DVC, Administration and has assured of his unwavering strategic, political, and financial support to ensure that Ikechebelu emerges as his successor. There are however rumours that his preference for Ikechebelu may not be far from his desire to see that his alleged acts of corruption and abuse of office are covered when he is out of office.
- Script Credit: MATHEW UGWUADI
- Source: ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
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