In my earlier article on this same subject of the forthcoming Anambra gubernatorial poll titled, “Anambra Gubernatorial Madness”, I had lucidly brought before the eyes of readers of this column, the madness mistaken for political permutations that has become the norm in the buildup to the widely reported Anambra election which takes off few days from today.
In that publication, we looked at the judicial battle that sunk the Ejike Oguebego camp and the Chief Ken Emeakayi faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the uncertainty as to who is the bona fide flier of the PDP flag after two separate primaries fielded two separate candidates in the persons of Mr. Tony Nwoye, a novice in the political turf and Chief Andy Uba whom we referred to the Abraham Lincoln of Anambra politics- not for his political savvy,perhaps never as we shall be belittling the reputation, albeit post humously of one of America’s finest politicians. But rather we took on that analogy basing our comparative analysis on account of their misfortune at elections. People who have trailed the political voyage of Andy Uba will agree with me that he has failed and failed and failed again at different polls. Even the current senatorial seat of Anambra East he seats on today, was brokered in a sham election and flawed judicial process that followed it at the election tribunal.
Ahead of that, we looked at the marathon court judgments and pronouncements, that trailed the selections many called primary elections which in many cases had a parallel congress, Maxi Okwu’s insistence on being the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman, Willie Obiano’s sudden emergence out of the blue as APGA’s gubernatorial candidate, Ifeanyi Ubah’s alleged importation of foreigners into the state to garner votes to achieve his political ‘daydreaming’ and finally, Godwin Ezemo’s decamping from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) to test his popularity after the shoddy dealings at APC ensured that Dr. Chris Ngige became the party’s flag bearer. In the end a clear headed reader or observer or even the gods will not hold us liable for metaphorically describing the whole jamboree as a “Gubernatorial Madness”. Anambra ronu!
While the political waters gets more intense as the V-day (in the words of Jimanze Alowes of the ‘turf-game’) draws nigh, a keen observer need not be told that the whole tussle will be settled in favour of either of the two big fishes in the continental shelf of the ocean of the fast approaching political ‘tsunami’ viz: Mr. willie Obiano of APGA and Dr. Chris Ngige of the APC which many people have hurriedly reduced as a Yoruba party despite the mantra of calls from the arrowheads in the party to disregard such description of the party as the imagination of naysayers who wish no good for the party and who have no better plans for our nascent democracy. All said and done, the power of the ballot shall be doing a better part of the talking when Anambrarians, finally exercise their franchise come Nov. 16th.
Having established the fact or for the sake of the Thomases of this world, the hypothesis that the election will be a two-Horse race between Dr. Chris Ngige and chief Willie Obiano, we have given today’s column to dissect in our pseudo-theatre and show why majority of the votes will be going the way of the former chief Internal Auditor at Texaco Nig. Plc. Mr. Willie Obiano and not those of Dr. Chris Ngige, the senator representing Anambra Central senatorial district and a former governor of the state whom during his three year stint brought back the lost hope of Ndi Anambra of ever having a feel of the cliché ‘Dividends of Democracy’ after the horrible days of Chinwoke Mbadinuju (who has since gone into political extinction) brought tears to their eyes despite acting on a stolen mandate which later saw the incumbent Peter Obi (who in recent past has been in the eye of the storm for having the temerity to impose a candidate on Anambrarians thereby, rekindling the flames of godfatherism in the state which once brought it to a near standstill) restored as the driver of the ship of state after the Court of Appeal judgment on March 15th 2005,upheld the decision of Justice Nabaruma of the Federal High Court to the effect that Obi was the elected governor. How time flies indeed, Obi has enjoyed and is about to end his constitutional two tenures and here we are trying to see who takes over the helm of affairs at the Awka government house come March 2014 when the would-be elected governor will be formerly sworn into office.
Before we ride on, it is of paramount importance, that we make it clear, or what in my latino-legal lexicon is called a Caveat that this is not some form of campaign strategy for either of the candidates jostling for the plum job as we have never come across any of them either directly or indirectly not even in our dreams, but rather just an effort towards calling a spade a spade and not bathing ourselves in the pool of any illusion or hiding away from the obvious and also to prove critics who always think column writing comes with some honorarium from the coffers of those in whose ‘interest’ it is written, wrong.
In politics just like in any other life adventure, it is a trite that first impression lasts long. It is based on this premise that Dr. Chris Ngige has earned the good will that continues to drive him far in all of his political adventures. His three year stint between 2003 and 2006 was enough to give him all the political CV he needs to tread on any political terrain. Despite being held on the jugular by his political Godfathers, Chris Uba, Olusegun Obasanjo and co, the irrepressible governor refused to be daunted. Instead he stood on the side of the masses and was able to achieve a lot in so short a time before the Court of Appeal, nullified his election and brought to an end a political transformation of Anambra state that was never seen since the inception of New Anambra. Our only consolation was the fact that Peter Obi, who was then a neophyte in the turf of politics, on getting his mandate, also continued from where good Ngige has stopped. Thanks to Ngige’s strides in those three fast years, I was again able to travel from Onitsha to my country home of Umunze, in Orumba South LGA in just about an hour against the previous 4-5 hours due to the bad roads that permeated the axis. Just like the ‘Onwa’ he is often called in traditional circles which literally means ‘a flashing light’ or if you like, the ‘Sun’, he shone across Anambra state and until today, his legacies continue to speak well for him but the good man committed a political blunder when he choose to come back to the Government House Awka, through the wrong door by flying the (APC) flag. Even the gods will not allow that to happen. It is a practice alien to Nigerian democracy and will not be institutionalized in Anambra state at least not now.
No matter how people shy away from the truth, it is always there for them to seek whenever their sanity or conscience is restored. Anambra politics is the centre of Ndigbo Politics. Enugu State may have been the former capital of Eastern Nigeria but in contemporary Igbo Politics, Anambra remains the hallmark of the political journey of Ndigbo towards greater heights little wonder many have described the ruling political party in the state as an Igbo Party that advances the cause of the whole people of Eastern Nigeria even though it is taking forever for its tentacles to spread across neighboring states of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia. But if its tentacles have refused to cut across these states, it is the more reason why, it must not lost Anambra to another political party just the way, it seems to be losing Imo state under Rochas Okorocha to the progressives. Hence Ndigbo must hold on to the mandate that advances their cause not just on the pages of newspapers or campaign grounds, but most importantly in their heart. I expected Dr. Chris Ngige to be well acquainted with these salient details before declaring to contest in this election but he goofed not knowing it will deal the coup de grace to his political career. If it worked for him, at the senatorial level way back in 2011, it is because Prof. Dora Akunyili incurred the wrath and the ire of many Igbos when she took to the demolition of the Head bridge drug market notorious for the sale of all sorts of bad drugs and narcotics during her spell as the Director General of NAFDAC and thus the only way for them to get their pound of flesh, was denying her their votes at the polls not because Ngige has got anything better to offer but the people of Anambra Central had to give a blind eye to the fact that Ngige was calling for their votes under a wrong platform just to make sure, Madam Dora does not go home smiling. Yes, in politics, there are no permanent enemies but interest and even after the run-off that became necessary to decide who wins the day, Dr. Ngige could only win by the whiskers.
For the avoidance of any doubt, Dr. Chris Ngige, no doubt, is the best candidate for the job. He has got the experience both technical and practical, the onions, the intellectual savvy and the nuts to occupy such office but are you the only one in ‘Israel’ who does not know that things are done differently in this part of the world? True, Willie Obiano, may have spent a good number of his professional career within the precinct of one corporate organization or the other, attending press-conferences, auditing accounts and every other routine that comes with the job of an accountant extraordinaire and may not have gotten the requisite administrative skills that is required for the office he is seeking to occupy, but apart from being in the right political party at the right time(even though many have said that he is a stooge of the incumbent governor), it is not hard to see that a person of his professional stature, will have much difficulty with regards to directing the affairs of Anambra state. His wealth of experience will do him a lot good if he ever gets into the office through the instrumentality of the ballot come Nov 16th. Another factor that puts him in the positive light is the fulfillment of Peter Obi’s promise to make sure a candidate from Anambra North senatorial district succeeds him after his tenure. With this feat, APGA has also achieved an operational balance by electing a candidate from the Northern senatorial district. in this, they have beaten all the other political parties except PDP but who doesn’t know that the PDP has spent much of their time at the courts slogging out who their candidate is even as the clock of electoral battle is about to chime hence losing the critical time to be in contention. Therefore, I was not surprised hearing Alhaji Bamanga Tukur the National Chairman of the Party which has been mired in controversy since after the National Convention expressing his doubt as to PDP’s chances in the gubernatorial election in a recent interview he granted the Leadership Newspaper.
All said and done, it is very difficult to see how Chris Ngige, weathers this particular storm to the skies. He has a history with pulling himself out whenever he is boxed up in a corner and his confidence never fades but a concomitant of factors which every observer of the political space must have been abreast with does not seem to be going his way. The ‘Ndigbo deportation’ saga, the Ofala festival tell-tale, the phrase making the rounds and very easy to gulp that “APC is a Yoruba party”, the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (Ezeigbo Gburugburu) declaration of APGA as his last will, will no doubt; affect his chances at the polls. But come Nov 16th which co-incidentally is the birthday of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe whose defunct eastern political platform National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroun (NCNC) had the insignia of a Cock and which APGA has also replicated we shall see how that one pans out. But clear headed pundits will not need a Prophet Isaiah to tell them how the election will be decided.
During the 2011 presidential elections, a particular phrase became popular among the teeming electorates who preferred the candidacy of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to that of GMB to this effect, “I am not voting for the PDP; but on the contrary for GEJ” and at the end of the day, GEJ emerged the president on account of the votes cast in his favour. Come November 16th, will Anambrarians vote for the candidate of their choice or will they vote for the political party of their choice? The latter option seems convincing to me, what about you? Let Anambra decide wisely. I will sit at my vantage point, and see in whose favour the pendulum swings.
The writer is a Law student and a Public Affairs Commentator. He shares some of his thoughts on twitter as @yung_silky. [email protected]