Anambra 2017: No odds against Obiano
Anyone who thinks that the seeming plot to neutralise Governor Willie Obiano in the forth-coming governorship election in Anambra State would affect him is absolutely daydreaming. Those plots and scheming amount to beating about the bush. People should not forget the dynamics of Anambra politics. Anambra electorates are among the most enlightened and dynamic in Nigeria. They are not poor and not easily swayed with money, especially, in this era when Nigerians have learnt to take your money and still vote you out. The era of money politics is over. Nobody can win election now through sharing money. Those who did it in 2015 were totally disappointed.
The electorates see any money shared during elections to buy their votes as stolen Nigerian money. Elections merely provide the opportunity for people to take their share of the money. If money could buy votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would have won the 2015 presidential election because of their huge and unparalleled financial power. But the party lost despite the billions it spent in the campaigns.
Instead, the APC whose flag bearer reportedly, couldn’t afford the registration fee won the election because Nigerians have imbibed an uncompromising spirit. You can’t change the mind that has been made up as to whom to vote for. You can’t force people out of their conscience. Right now in Anambra, people have already decided whom to vote for. No amount of monetary inducement can change it.
Needless to say that as far as the November 18 governorship election is concerned, there are no odds against Governor Obiano. The governor has formidable edge over the other contenders. The election is as good as being won by Obiano based on nothing else but the appreciable achievements he has recorded and the plan to do more. Continuity is the secret of Anambra’s transformation. The people are proud of what has been accomplished. Obiano has kept faith with the transformational ideals that have distinguished Anambra State. No money is missing while peace and security have been restored. Political radicalism is now history.
The fact that Anambra is among the three states in Nigeria that are not losing sleep over the current economic recession in terms of owing backlog of workers’ salaries, for instance, is enough to crown Obiano. The state is in league with Lagos and Rivers states. But take note that these other states have strong edge over Anambra. While Lagos State generates a whopping N26 billion monthly as internally generated revenue (IGR), the highest in the country, River State receives the second highest federal allocation after Akwa Ibom State as an oil-producing state. Anambra’s IGR reached N14.79 billion in 2015 from N10.45 billion because of Obiano’s ingenuity.
People should not fret over is the number of political parties jumping up for the election. This is very much expected. No one should think that Governor Obiano and his political party, APGA, should not be challenged. I have once stated in this column that in Anambra, contenders for political office are never lacking. There is always a horde of men and women, who would like to govern the state at any point in time. Election in Anambra is usually fierce. This happened in 2014 election.
During that election, no less than 27 contenders appeared for the contest. Veterans like Senator Chris Ngige, Senator Andy Uba, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Mrs. Uche Ekwunife and Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju flexed muscles. There was also billionaire, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, and the cerebral, Professor Chukwuma Soludo. Mind you, each of the aspirants meant business. They were not joking. But at the end, Willie Obiano defeated all clear and simple.
This time around at the top of the lineup is incumbent Governor Willie Obiano of APGA, Andy Ubah, formerly of the PDP now under the APC, Chike Obidigbo, also of the APC, Godwin Ezeemo of PPA, Tony Nwoye (APC), George Muoghalu (APC), Alex Obiogbolu (PDP), Barth Nwibe (APC), Obinna Uzor (APC), and Osita Chidoka of the UPP. As APC selects just one candidate out of its six contenders, Governor Obiano would be left with four contestants. That would make it easy for people to see the difference.
Granted that each of the contenders is rich and popular, the crux of the matter is who the people can trust with the state money and indeed, their welfare and future. Governor Obiano has been tested and has proved beyond measure that he can be trusted. Despite the unfounded blackmails, Anambra people can testify to Obiano’s integrity and commitment to the good of the state. And good enough, the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council (ASTRC) has thrown its weight behind Obiano by reason of zoning which they are insisting on. Anambra north from which Obiano hails still has the chance.
The idea of zoning was sold by former Governor Peter Obi, which is why he cleverly chose Obiano from Anambra north. Former Vice-President, Alex Ekwueme among other political heavyweights, also favours zoning. Obiano’s Anambra north has been marginalised for decades. Former Governor Peter Obi deliberately chose Obiano from Anambra north in 2014 to fill the yawning gap. There is need for equity and justice. Most of the contenders are from Anambra south that has dominated the government over the years.
The apparent internal friction in the ruling APGA is a clearly calculated attempt by the opposition to whittle down the party’s cohesion in the face of a crucial election. I would like to observe that APGA’s internal wrangling has not cost it electoral victories in the past. APGA has gone through this path before. No other party in Nigeria has gone through the quantum of legal tussle that APGA has gone through and still survived. PDP, for example is factionalised.
Consequently, the fact remains that the friction is nothing to affect APGA’s success in the election. Anyone who thinks that the friction between Victor Oye and Chief Martin Agbaso over the party’s chairmanship position is going to affect the election is mistaken. Both men want APGA to succeed. They know that it is in their interest for the party to win the election. It doesn’t pay any of them to be chairman of a losing party.
Finally, I am glad to note that Agbaso declared, recently, that APGA is already looking beyond the November 18 governorship poll in Anambra State. He stressed that nothing will stop APGA from retaining the seat. That shows his commitment to the party is unshaken.