Awka and Enugu — Daughter of former Vice-President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Mrs. Chidi Ekwueme-Onyemelukwe, has emerged as the running mate to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the Anambra State election, Oseloka Obaze.
This came as the All Progressives Congress (APC) picked Hon. Dozie Ikedife (Jnr.) as his running mate to the party's candidate, Hon. Tony Nwoye.
Obaze, who addressed journalists at the party's secretariat in Awka, said Onyemelukwe was selected from a shortlist of very eminently qualified PDP faithful.
He stated further that she was chosen to complement his efforts especially with her wealth of knowledge in the area of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), where she worked as a Special Assistant to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The party standard bearer, while announcing her as his running mate, said: "In compliance with provisions of Section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution, I, Oseloka Henry Obaze, after about three weeks of painstaking consultations with my family, the PDP hierarchy, stakeholders in the state and beyond, and the leadership of the Anglican Communion, wish to present formally to the Anambra people in particular and Nigeria in general, Mrs. Chidi Alexandra Onyemelukwe as my running mate for the November 18 gubernatorial election.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the November 18 date for the governorship poll in the state is sacrosanct.
The commission said it would not allow any change in the date as any postponement would distort plans already made by the commission and may come with a huge cost implication.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, stated this wednesday in a meeting with the executive members of Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC) at the secretariat of the commission in Awka.
"We want the election to hold as scheduled. We have 58 days to the election and we are on top of the preparations. There would not be any need for postponement.
"Any attempt to shift the date would be waste of resources. We need to conclude the election as scheduled so as to focus on the 2019 general election," he said.
Congratulating the body for the peaceful conduct of its elections that saw the re-election of its chairman, Orji also commended the role it played towards the successful conduct of the continuous voter registration exercise, which he described as exceptional in the history of the state.
He, however, appealed to the IPAC leadership to mobilise the gubernatorial candidates of their various political parties to ensure quick submission of their profiles and manifestoes to enable the commission publish them for effective voter education.
"I learnt you are organising an election debate for all the registered political parties. All these processes are important as it helps to shift campaign from hate speeches and calumny to issue based campaign," he added.
The Chairman of IPAC in the state, Prince Batho Igwedibia, while reacting, noted that the ad-hoc staff recruited by the commission had always been a major source of concern during election in the country.
He said they always take advantage of their temporary engagements to compromise the electoral process, saying recruitment of more permanent officers would not only forestall future occurrences, but restore confidence in the process.