Shortly after the announcement of November 6, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the possible date for the conduct of the Anambra state governorship election, the political scenario quickly changed in the state.
Posters and billboards flooded the entire busy areas of the major towns, thus creating brisk business in the state. Some aspirants started donating both cash and vehicles to parties as well as retiring in the villages for partial socialisation with the grassroots.
In fact, the state has turned into the political forensic centre where all parties wish to come and tests run their newly invented wining pills. The interested contestants started returning in droves from far and wide, declaring their intentions in different desired parties. Both nocturnal and daylight meetings have been ritually observed at different party secretariats and even private houses. At the same point, party supporters are busy picking holes with their perceived strong aspirants as there are more of the pretenders than the real contenders.
The parties for the election have different ideological leanings for the sole purpose of winning the election. Some of them believe in the rotation of governorship ticket amongst the three senatorial zones in Anambra which are the Central, North and South senatorial zones, while others feel it should be on survival of the fittest approach.
Precisely, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has stood firm in its decision to follow the rotational formula already existing with the party by shifting the governorship slot to Anambra South. This was consequent on the fact the circle has been completed as the former governor, Mr Peter Obi came from Central and the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano, from North, and is completing his second tenure.
It was discovered that the non-conformism to zoning system by Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is merely to achieve victory by thinking towards producing a candidate from the Central and look for deputy governorship candidate in the south. This option is to veer from the political traffic at the South which most parties feel would be a major battlefield. Sequel to this strategy, the PDP wish to dominate the Central which has large numerical strength, while it will unleash strong machinery to both South and North to slug it out with other parties.
Also, All Progressives Congress, APC, hasn’t taken a position on whether its governorship slot should go to the South but keenly watches the body language and dancing steps of PDP to this effect.
Nevertheless, the struggle to retrieve the governance from the ruling party, APGA, may not be so easy, depending on the likely candidate it wants to produce for the fight.
However, the eight-year tenure of Chief Willie Obiano administration, which will be terminated on March 17, 2022, has been described by some political pundits as wasted years. If only the reasons given are anything to contend with, the APGA candidate chosen will fight the fiercest war in his life. Obiano’s administration has actually tackled some major problems in the state but yet, some people are of the opinions that he needed to have done more especially when there is no godfatherism or distraction from the opposition.
According to Dr Gibson Emelife, a political analyst, said that “It seems the government of Obiano is presently interested to finish the construction of the airport at Umueri, the stadium at Awka and International Conference Centre also at Awka which are already ongoing, while matters concerning other projects of public interest are kept in abeyance for the next government to inherit.
“Besides, the state’s debt profile has risen by 1,600% since Obiano became the governor of the state. He has mortgaged the future of the state by the high debt profile and the infrastructure on the ground doesn’t justify the sum already borrowed.”
Be that as it may, this prompted the overzealousness of other major parties to plan to fire from all cylinders in order to delete the memory of the party in the Government House, Awka, by next year.
Meanwhile, having taken cognizance of how Governor Obiano came into governance and his American style of administration suggests more to be told. Consequently, the people of Anambra wish to change the old narrative and expect to have a home-bred governor that would know most of his people by their names and once in a while, ambles from the regimented convoy into a corn-roasting spot with plebeians within reach.
This grassroots nature of governance was earlier introduced by the former governor, Mr Peter Obi, which has made his footprint to remain on the sand of time.
There is no gainsaying that, the election will be a clash of the Titans for the fact that almost of all the major parties in the state are drumming warnings for a credible primary election in order to front a better sellable candidate for the contest. There only four political parties that seem to be prepared for the election by having strong aspirants like PDP, APC, APGA and Young Progressive Party, YPP. YPP, a sole contender, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, representing Anambra South senatorial zone in the red carpet chamber.
PDP has 15 aspirants which include Valentine Ozigbo, Godwin Ezeemo, Obiora Okonkwo, Dr Godwin Maduka, Hon. Chris Azubogu, Iyom Uche Ekwunife, Ifedi Okwenna, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), etc. The aspirants virtually have a pedigree which, if care is not taken could snowball into horse-trading after the primary election as it used to be.
The party seems not to make the previous mistakes that kept robbing them of ample opportunities in the last elections. Initially, PDP had taken a strong position in Anambra politics for over 16 years before it was outsmarted by APGA when Mr Peter Obi challenged the election that installed Dr Chris Ngige as the governor in 2003.
The Supreme Court later removed Ngige in 2006 from the seat which he had occupied for over 30 months. Obi was sworn in on March 17, 2006, and was later kicked out on the issue of expiration of tenure before the 2007 governorship election.
On May 29, 2007, Senator Andy Uba was sworn in as the elected governor while Peter Obi went to court for interpretation of his tenure which he won and Uba vacated the seat after holding brief for 17 days as a governor. Since then, APGA has been on the throne.
PDP is presently a party to beat, considering the stability of leadership under the chairmanship of Chief Ndubisi Nwobu who has enthroned transparency and equity in the discharge of his duties. The party may spring surprises if the members and aspirants will strictly observe a transparent and credible primary that will produce the most qualified candidate for the election. At this point, the aspirants that couldn’t make it should throw their support on the successful candidate in order to win the main election instead of jumping into other parties with the aim of becoming a clog in the wheel of victory.
To this end, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has said at the Southeast stakeholders meeting in Enugu, that there must be reconciliation among the state party chieftains ahead of the election.
According to him, “Let us have party interest, not group interest and put everything aside. Anambra used to be a PDP state but because of wrangling and not giving in, that is what has made PDP lose Anambra.”
He warned that “If PDP fails to win Anambra, it would not argue well for the party, particularly in the Southeast.
“It must be done transparently, whether the congresses or the primary itself, the governors will be in charge to come and do the election.”
Wike appealed to aggrieved chieftains in court to withdraw their suit in the interest of the PDP.
The choice of a candidate seems to tilt towards either of these, Valentine Ozigbo, Hon. Chris Azubogu and Obiora Okonkwo.
The state chairman, Nwobu was earlier accused of favouring Chief Obiora Okonkwo to emerge as a candidate which he swiftly denied, urging every aspirant to go to work and deal with delegates both on state and local levels. While Ozigbo is said to be having the blessing of Mr Peter Obi which he ordinarily imitates and practises his political shenanigans and jamborees.
Towing the same line of conquering the Anambra Government House, APC never relented but keep trying its best possible means to win the election even by unseen forces.
Actually, the party is not familiar with the Anambra people and its followership is critically not impressive. But in its resolve to take over the government, the Imo state governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma assured the party members during the Southeast stakeholders meeting in Awka, that APC must capture Anambra in the forthcoming election no matter what it takes.
He said the party would use any available workable machinery to make sure that the party takes over Southeast states.
At the same time, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige has boasted that APC victory is a done deal, calling Obiano a sit-down governor who should be prepared for his hand over note. This overconfidence okays the report that the party rely on the influence of President Muhammadu Buhari to rig the election.
However, APC has at least 10 aspirants which include Senator Andy Uba, Johnbosco Osunkwo, George Muoghalu, Paul Orajiaka, Hon. Maxwell Okoye, Bennet Etiaba, Azuka Okwuosa among others, but the interest lies in Senator Andy Uba.
It was gathered the party wish to compensate Uba for the impact he made by his immense contributions to the party and also to have come from the South.
The party has at least five aspirants which are Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Akachukwu Nwamkpo, Damian Okolo, Nicholas Ukachukwu and Echezona Etiaba SAN.
Making efforts to maintain the status quo, the party hierarchy, in its wisdom wants to have a consensus candidate in the person of the former governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo that has an overwhelming antecedent. This speculated action is threatening to balkanise the party where some members are asking for a credible primary.
One of the aspirants, Chief Akachukwu Nwamkpo, former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Technical matters, said that Soludo should go for world economic development than grandstanding as the only aspirant in APGA.
While another aspirant equally lamented that Soludo is intimidating people with his intelligentsia dossier and projecting the party as his banana republic. Despite all these, the people of Anambra feel that it’s only people like Prof. Soludo who has every potential to re-write the wrong notion labelled on the party.
“Soludo will perform. He will change the socio-economic architecture of the state with his mastery in economic development,” said Engr. Prince Ikeagwu.
Actually, the party is not familiar with the Anambra people and its followership is critically not impressive.
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