One of Nigeria’s small states, with enviable political history, but unfortunately like the proverbial Giant that consistently shoots itself in the foot, Anambra remains at the level of eternal potentio, appearing incapable of expressing kinesis.
The story of staggered elections in Nigeria started with Anambra State, after the shameful event surrounding the election of one of today’s gladiators.
There are more than twenty candidates vying for the gubernatorial seat of this Great State. Of these, Four are the main contenders.
-Willie Obiano is of the incumbent party, the All Progressives’ Grand Alliance, APGA
– Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party, LP
– Senator Chris Ngige, of the All Progressives’ Congress, APC
– Tony Nwoye, of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
Senator Chris Ngige is currently a senator at the National Assembly, elected under the banner of the now defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which is one of the component parties that dissolved into the APC. He’s been here before, when he won the gubernatorial election in 2003 under the “umbrella” of the PDP. Infact it was the event that followed this election that is responsible for Anambra State pioneering the holding of staggered elections in Nigeria.
He remains quite popular with most Anambrarians, within and without the state, mainly for the populist programmes he undertook as governor for the very short period he held sway. Though those programmes cannot be said to be well thought through or necessarily impactful, but when you consider that before him, Anambra State had become a relic fit only for museums as a LOST CIVILIZATION, owing to the misrule that’s been the only description of what governance had been with his predecessors, you wouldn’t but ascribe a semblance of development in that State to his short-lived regime.
His popularity has however suffered heavily following the recent DEPORTATION of Igbos, most of whom weren’t Anambrarians to the state by the Lagos State Government, a fellow APC state, for which Ngige initially tried to offer an explanation to no availing Anambra ear. Fashola’s apology did little to simmer tempers when it eventually arrived.
His opponents have continued to draw on this to bash his campaign at every given opportunity, sometimes even to the very ridiculous, such as claims that Ngige was planning to sell Anambrarians to the Yorubas, who under Awolowo attempted to decimate the Igbos and now under Governor Fashola of Lagos even deported Anambrarians, abandoning them under the famous HEAD BRIDGE at Onitsha, while no one has bothered to ask Governor Obi of Anambra to state his part of the story in the whole imbroglio after it came to light that he’d been in the know about the plans of the Lagos State governor.
It’s interesting to note that these same Yoruba people who are being bashed left, right and centre are the same ones that have been more accommodative of Anambrarians and Igbos in general (and their shenanigans), protecting their personal and business interest, sometimes over and above their own, but that will be a topic for another day.
Ngige has also received bashing for his short stature like that will impede his doing a good job for Anambrarians. They forget so easily that a tall man in the person of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion took Edo State to the dark ages before they were rescued by a short man in Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
None have been able to link Ngige with any case of corruption or misappropriation of public funds either within or without the office of the Governor. Many would say he didn’t have enough time, but till date nothing of such has been heard.
Willie Obiano is incumbent Governor Obi’s handpicked successor after doing away with other contenders controversially and otherwise. An unknown in the political equation of Anambra though well established in Nigeria’s banking sector as the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank. A somewhat aloof fellow, who looks more like a Pinocchio whose strings will be pulled by the hands of Obi out of office as Godfather. He’s so politically inexperienced that he registered thrice, possessing multiple voters cards, an offence for which he should’ve been disqualified (which is quite doubtful despite the fact that the APC has presented necessary proof to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC).
Obi has become a de facto Santa Claus all in his bid to present his political son as electable. Donating huge sums (that would’ve found use in developmental projects) to religious and non-religious bodies, awarding contracts for white elephant projects, as well as implementing capital intensive policies that has the tendency of becoming a heavy burden for the in-coming government.
Obiano’s campaign also stepped into murky waters when what they considered as campaign opportunity at a vigil organized at the Adoration Camp ended in a disaster with the death of more than a score of people following a stampede. Though Governor Obi and APGA stalwarts have been doing all they can to deflect blame, the accusing fingers continue to point at them, making superstitious Anambrarians see the sad event as ominous of what may lay ahead of them should APGA carry the day in tomorrow’s elections.
Obiano may have satisfied the Anambra North condition in terms of zoning, but that should matter less at a time Anambrarians are craving for direction, and a leader is urgently needed regardless of the zone (s)he hails from.
Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party is the person of interest in this election. From the onset, no one gave him any chance. He was labeled uneducated, unlettered, even uncouth by his opponents.
His supporters point to his business acumen, while he’s seen frequently boasting about how he made his millions at an early age.
The scandals involving his CAPITAL OIL business seem to be chasing him about, though it went under administration and now being overseen by the Asset Management Company Of Nigeria,AMCON, many view this as a calculated move to have his business taken care of while he goes into office, then to return to claim it after paying off his debts with funds tilled from his time in office as governor.
Those who say he’s uneducated should be asked to name major achievements educated governors of Anambra have put in place over the years!
Tony Nwoye of the PDP is a largely unknown entity, though he was the former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS. He seems to have benefited from the PDP’s bad blood towards the Uba brothers. You would only consider his candidature unserious if you are unaware of the clout the PDP possesses with federal might and ultimate power of coercion at their beck and call. It’s no wonder that so many want to be candidates under the umbrella of that party, even when they have absolutely nothing to offer
Tomorrow, Anambrarians will decide whom out of this lot will take them to Eldorado, or at least a closer destination. The one that will eventually wake the slumbering Giant, for besides a few works here and there, largely done by Ngige and the incumbent Obi, Anambra is still as it was post-civil war, lacking several basic amenities most Nigerians in many places including the several derided North take for granted. Hopefully this election will herald something new for this state that boasts of several firsts in statesmen and -women it’s produced, myriad in the intelligentsia and academia, as well as businessmen and women of repute. Anambra State needs to be repaired from the top!
We can only hope that the umpire will remain non-partisan, the security agents civil in their attempt to maintain law and order.
Let Anambrarians honour the memory of the Great Zik, by giving us an election worthy of emulation.
NDI AMANBALA EKENE MU UNU,
UMU UNU ZUA UNU!