We are in the midst of another election season and Anambra is setting the mood for what is to come 2018-2019. Politics in the African context is the game of deception, double face and greed. In short, it is what an Abia gospel singer described as ‘mara mara n’ihu, gwo npiti n’azu’, That is simply dishonesty and betrayals.
While we hope to see the day of upright, independent and reform-minded liberals in power circles, nothing stops the people from making the most of what they presently have. And that is where the Anambra situation comes to play. This is a state that from the pre-independence era has always set the tone and direction in regional, national and continental affairs. ‘Onye a goziri a gozi a dighi mma nkaru’, meaning the blessed should not be cursed.
As a commercial and industrial hub in Nigeria, Anambra should not throw away the gains that have been made so far. A state that appears to have gotten it right on the single minded pursuit of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which was replaced in 2015 by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with visible translation in terms of rural roads connectivity, universal basic education, universal healthcare and poverty reduction through direct public intervention in empowerement and private sector investment drive made possible with improved security architecture in the state.
Within this period, different stewards piloted the affairs of the state From Chris Ngige to Peter Obi, and now Willie Obiano. I cannot see where these people did not play their part to a reasonable extent even though in different political parties.
For this election, five candidates participated in the recent debate as they try to influence the over two million voters. They are: Willie Obiano (incumbent governor, APGA); Oseloka Obaze (former SSG, PDP); Osita Chidoka (former Road Safety Corps Marshal& Aviation Minister, UPP); Godwin Ezeemo (Industrialist, PPA); and Tony Nwoye (Rep member, APC).Truth be told these guys are wonderful candidates and will present Anambra people with headache making the right choice; In fact, I will say that the people are spoilt for choice.
And this is why I make this intervention. Anambra would do well to make early elimination for the 27 other applicants and within the five, those who will not pass the 50 percent mark. And here will with all due respect to their aspiration, I settle for Ezeemo and Nwoye.
Ezeemo’s PPA is not a vibrant party with a solid structure in any South-East state, talkless the federation. The party never recovered from the crisis that beset it when its founder, Orji Uzor Kalu defected. Nwoye is in a perceived wrong party for Ndigbo. No matter his youth appeal and goodwill from Aso Rock, he will not get the day. The Aso Rock support or the proverbial ‘Magic hand’, according to the Imo governor Rochas Okorocha, may be good for him at an individual level, but it is a big political albatross in the South East and South South. A lot of people associate them with evil. And since leadership is about trust, they do not yet have the trust of the people at least from past and recent memories.
That leaves us with Obiano, Obaze and Chidoka. As the incumbent, Obiano has some structure and network on the ground. The party itself was built on the grassroots ‘Onye aghala nwanne ya’ philosophy of Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu. Igbo say: ‘onye ji igu k’ewu n’eso.’ He who holds the palm frond attracts the goats. In fact, if not for his careless handling of the 2016 massacre of hundreds IPOB youths protesting Nnamdi Kanu’s prolonged detention in the state, Obiano would not be facing the kind of heat that begun building against him. It would just be a déjà vu! His appeasement moves including a cenotaph for Biafran war victims was corrective measure. Ojukwu’s son decamped from APGA but he still has his widow, Bianca and the support of majority of the elite who are enjoying improved security and stability. The state and Lagos remains the most consistent in payment of workers’ salaries.qp Will this be enough to deliver him the votes? My verdict: 75% chances.
Obaze’s PDP has been accused of instituting the challenges facing the country but that argument is thumped by the fact that PDP has also produced the best leadership materials in this country thus far. Obaze, who is backed by ex-governor Peter Obi appears the most populist, if reform-minded candidate of the lot. For proposing in his blueprint strong human capital development by seeking out youth- graduates and non-graduates for globally competitive skills empowerment, and the social security allowances for the elderly, Obaze wins my heart. Is he the pragmatic choice? My verdict: 70% chances.
Chidoka has ran his campaign on a strong pro-Igbo platform. Unfortunately, many youth especially those sympathetic to IPOB will be staying away on the day. Had he worked on Nnamdi Kanu better, UPP/IPOB could have morphed into a formidable ideological platform that must be reckoned by any politician in the old Eastern Region thereby driving an agenda for regional political and economic development/emancipation. Chidoka will no doubt make a statement in this poll. My verdict: 60%.
If Ndi Anambra gets it right again with a smooth election it will be an encouraging as well as a chastening moment for all Ndigbo particularly our dear state, Imo. For now, the people should reach for the middle point between their head and their heart. That is where the answer lies. Almost always.