Perhaps it is not out of place to indicate from the outset that this writer is a proud son of Anambra State. The great land of my birth is unique in many ways imaginable. It is about the richest state east of the Niger. It is the only state among the 36 states of the federation where the ruling party is neither the All Progressives Congress (APC) nor the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has been ruling the state for many years now. APGA may have made an impact in the state leadership and development-wise but it has failed to go beyond the state.
When the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu formed the party he had dreamt big hoping to take APGA to the national level. Alas, political circumstances Nigerian had made it impossible for the party to break even nationally thereby retaining the appellation of a regional party. Today APGA is divided more than never before. Personal interests and egos had clashed producing discordant tunes.
The Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Nkem Okeke, elected with the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano on the platform of the party had recently abandoned the party decamping scandalously to another party: the APC. He had claimed that the APC had ‘priced’ him right decrying the monarchical and dictatorial tendencies in the ruling party in the state. He was received in Aso Rock by President Muhammadu Buhari with pomp and fanfare!
APGA has been used and abused by politicians of fortune before. Precedents were set before Deputy-Governor Okeke made his defection move. Peter Obi governed Anambra State for eight years under the APGA political platform. But today he is in the PDP camp desperately scheming to become Vice-President.
The former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha once dumped the PDP for APGA in 2011. He rode to the Imo State Government House in Owerri by the political grace and force of APGA. Today he is with the APC! APGA has somewhat become an ‘old wife’ worth ‘divorcing’ for a new one for the Okorochas and Obis and Okekes of this world.
Anambra state boasts of industrial towns and billionaires. She is the ancestral land of great man and women (living or dead) — the Nnamdi Azikiwes, Emeka Ojukwus, the Dora Akunyilis, the Chuba Okadigbos, the Obi Cubanas etc. Yet as we have these formidable Nigerians of Igbo extraction so we have also some ‘efulefus’ from Anambra state — the Joe Igbokwes, Fredrick Nwabufos etc. They ‘love’ Nigeria and want Biafrans to forget about any agitation for nationhood.
Anambra remains the heart and soul of Igboland! It is rich in natural resources and culture. Brain and beauty abound!
Come this weekend (November the 6th) Ndi-Anambra would be going to the polls to elect a new Governor who would take over from Gov. Obiano in March next year. As we decide there is need for the best to emerge among the gubernatorial candidates, one better placed and capable of taking Anambra to the next level.
After eight years of Obiano’s not-too-stellar performance the crucial question ought to be asked by the electorate: who has a better programme and character required to pilot our dear state for the next four years?
There are about three serious contenders for the Government House in Awka. The ruling APGA is presenting a formidable economist and former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo. The APC is represented by the ambitious Senator Andy Uba, the former President Obasanjo’s Domestic Aide. And the PDP is fielding Valentine Ozigbo.
There are serious security threats to the guber poll. The election will be conducted under an atmosphere of violence and tension. Between the ‘unknown gunmen’ terrorising the populace and the state security ‘terrorists’ Ndi-Anambra are at the mercy of unprecedented violent actions of state and non-state actors.
Yet, despite the security challenges Anambra holds great promise for the future of Biafraland. If we get it right by electing the best into office then our welfare, security of lives and properties would constitute the primary purpose of governance. Vigilance is, therefore, called for lest our enemies (within and without) imposed a choice on us.
The Nnamdi Kanu saga and the pervading atmosphere of chaos are factors threatening to derail the poll. But the solution lies not in flooding the streets and villages and towns of Anambra state with soldiers and paramilitary forces. Democracy must be made to prevail no matter the circumstances.
Now, it is left for the people to freely choose who would best represent their collective interest as Governor post-Obiano. Neither Abuja nor the Supreme Court-imposed Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, should be allowed to impose their will on our people.
While we have no preferred candidate(s) for the election we hold, nonetheless, that Uba and Ubah must be defeated at the polls to serve as comeuppance for their fraudulent anti-people activities. Senator Andy Uba, given tales of certificate forgery, money-laundering allegations, has no credibility whatsoever.
Ditto Senator Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Progressives Party. His political and business antecedents made him a doubtful questionable character. Handing over the state treasury to any of these men would be tantamount to sentencing Anambra State to fiscal death. And that is not what we wish for our beloved state.
The former President Obasanjo’s shoe-shine boy and bed-maker (apology to Prof. Soludo) must be told in clear terms that Anambra state is not for sale for the highest bidder. Power belongs to the people and Ndi-Anambra must be allowed to elect their Governor without intimidation or manipulation of their electoral will.
As we go to the polls, therefore, to decide our present and our future the Independent National Electoral Commission under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu must do a good job by ensuring a free and fair and credible poll.
Before we decide, come Saturday, let us pray that God would guide us aright. Let us unite our forces for the general good of our state. Let intimidation or threat of violence not deter us from accomplishing our civic democratic rights.
Let the best candidate win!