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Anambra 2017: Contenders and pretenders

By Ifeoma Okafor, Awka on 04/10/2017

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As the people of Anambra State look forward to the   November 18, 2017   governorship election in the state when the candidates from about ten political parties will be slugging it out in a fight to finish with the incumbent Governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, there are indications that the battle will not be a boys scout fiasco, but one meant for warriors. So far parties like PDP. APGA, UPP, PPA, APC, PRP, ID, Hope Party, etc, have picked persons they believe have the capacity to hold their flag and sway it in the direction of success, but the question is who is capable of taking the baton from the incumbent Governor,  Obiano.  The Governor with his power of incumbency believes that even if he doesn’t have enough political amour or foot soldiers to lead the political jungle fight, he has his achievements to speak for him. Alas, the question is, has Obiano done enough to deserve a second term? Political pundits are of the view that the only accolade to Obiano’s name is the improved security in the state, as well as the beautification of the state. To them, the sing song on improved agriculture is only a figment of his imagination. According to a political analyst, Chibuzor Onwuchekwa, “The incumbent Governor has enough resources to  hire hordes of people to shout “Willie is Working, buy endorsements and Man of the Year awards, take up every media space to launder his image and plunder that of his opponents, the truth remains that his poor performance in office in terms of increased development and completion of some key projects left by his predecessor, Peter Obi has put a wide chasm between him and the Anambra people he so desperately wants to govern again.”

However, contrary to popular view that Obi brought Obiano into the fold, lies the fact that Obiano was allegedly enrolled into the mix by the then National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh who, allegedly had secretly struck a deal with Obiano without the knowledge of Obi through whom he got to know Obiano after rejecting all the candidates brought forward by Obi to take over the leadership of the state. Hence the reason they agreed and asked Obi to leave APGA for them to run and that way, Umeh took sway and led the Governor who was not familiar with the terrain by the nose. Feelers have it that the Governor has already mapped out a staggering amount to the tune of N350 billion to run the election. It was gathered that it was for this reason that the All Progressives Congress (APC) decided to pick a candidate that could match the Governor money for money and in that, they saw the fountain in the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial zone at the National Assembly in the person of Dr. Andy Ubah. However, the move was stalled with the underground lion move of Hon. Tony Nwoye who went door to door in the dead of the night, wooing delegates to his side with the billionaire business mogul, Prince Arthur Eze bankrolling the project.

As the candidates have emerged from the major political parties, the prayer of every Anambrarian is for the right person to emerge as the fifth Governor of the ‘Light of the Nation’ state. For an average Anambra person, their interest is for the state to be developed beyond where it is at present.

THE CANDIDATES:

Willie Obiano (incumbent) – APGA

Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano is generally viewed as a political neophyte who was baby seated to the number one seat through the self effort of former Governor Peter Obi. Before he came on board, he was not in any political line up; hence he rode on the success and strength of Obi to climb to the top, above the people that were already on the ground. However, when he came on board, people expected him to thread on the good works of Obi in the spirit of continuity and on his swearing in day, he promised to ride on the works of Obi and enacted the famous three Cs (Continue, Complete and Commission) with other five enablers. The promise was, however, reneged upon as most of the works like the Nnewi/Awka Shoprite was abandoned and some roads that were half done were also abandoned. According to political analysts, Obiano’s undoing is the abandonment of some major projects that would have given him an edge. Another issue against him is the disagreement between him and Obi which analysts say clipped his political grip on the state. It is a general view that if he had allowed his relationship with Obi to thrive, he would have had an easy sail to a second term.

But to Obiano and his team, his incumbent power will give him an advantage based on the fact he will indirectly call the shots as to who would be where in terms of security personnel. There is the issue of the Governor’s vote in the Omambala area being split between him and Tony Nwoye who incidentally is also from the same area.

Tony Nwoye – APC

Though he is among the youngest of the contestants, he is rated as the lion in the jungle especially among the youths because of the role he played as a Student Union leader during his university days. His sojourn into politics started with his appointment as the youth leader of PDP and was later to become the state party chairman through the influence of Dr. Andy Uba whom he delivered in 2007 as Governor of the state. What Nwoye has going for him is the structure he built while he was PDP chairman and that was the structure that he used in delivering Uba in 2007 which he also used in defeating Nicholas Ukachukwu in the governorship election primary of the PDP in 2015.

Ironically, it was the same structure that he used in upstaging Senator Andy Uba in the just concluded APC governorship primary.

Also to his own advantage is that he is the member representing Anambra East and West federal constituency where the incumbent Governor, Willie Obiano comes from.

In the same vein, Nwoye stands a chance of surmounting the religious obstacle in Anambra politics because he is a Roman Catholic just like the incumbent Governor and the PDP governorship candidate, Oseloka Obaze. The problem Nwoye may have is his choice of a running mate. It is being touted that Nwoye may pick his counterpart at the National Assembly, Chris Azubogu as his running mate, but according to a source, talks have reached advanced stage within leaders of the PDP who have been pressing for Ifeanyi Ubah who also contested the governorship primary under the PDP to be his running mate.

However, the Anambra North Senatorial District may decide to vote for Obiano who is already the incumbent instead of gambling their opportunity between Obaze and Nwoye. Also, against Nwoye is the political platform he is hawking his ambition on. Anambra State appears not to be tilting in the way of the party at the center because of the leadership style of the government in power which has literary left the South East zone out as a partaker in the government in terms of appointments and development. Also information has it that Nwoye is not the choice of the national body of the party which preferred the candidature of Senator Andy Uba. Another brick wall to his chance of emergence as the next Governor of Anambra State is the document trending in the social media. The document which seems to have been signed in December 14, 2016 shows an alleged agreement between Nwoye and his godfather, a billionaire oil magnate who gave the condition for sponsorship to be the nomination of 10 Commissioners as well as taking 30 percent from the state’s monthly IGR. Anambra State has had a fair share of godfatherism wrath, hence they will not be open to vote for anybody linked to a godfather.

Oseloka Obaze – PDP

He was Secretary to the State Government under former Governor Peter Obi, as well as the incumbent Governor before he resigned his appointment to face his private consultancy business. Obaze has severally said that he is coming on board because he wants to salvage the state and drive it in the right part. But, there are fears among some of the electorate that Obaze might end up being a stooge in the hands of his benefactor, Peter Obi. True to the nature of Anambra political class, such level-headed, hardline bureaucrat is seen by this section of the society as one that may run a government without a human face.

Obaze’s ideologies in governance are one that will impact positively on the lives of the electorate in general, but the electorate do not vote according to their love for a candidate, instead, thèy are teleguided by self acclaimed stakeholders in their respective constituencies who capitalize on the materialistic inadequacies of the electorate to woo them into voting for the wrong candidate. However, Obaze is viewed among the intellectuals as one with the torch to redirect the state’s economy and also attract foreign investors to the state, having worked at the United Nations for 25 years. It is believed that with Obaze steering the ship, there will be an economic boom in the state so much as to create employment.

Godwin Ezeemo – PPA

Ezeemo, a philanthropist cum industrialist, has made a mark in the area of philanthropy, but there is a general view that he may not fit in well in the governorship stool because of his lack of political ambience and tutelage. To political analysts, Ezeemo should start his political sojourn from the lower House of the National Assembly and move up the ladder so he can garner the political millage to move the political crowd. The only advantage Ezeemo has is that he is the only strong Anglican Church faithful in the race and should the Anglican Church decide to play politics, he may emerge as the winner of the election because the other candidates, Obiano, Obaze, and Nwoye are all members of the Catholic Church. Though he has contested for the governorship position two times, his political party, PPA is not very much ground in Anambra State compared to the likes of APC, PDP and APGA to be able to win election.

Osita Chidoka – UPP

He is a former Minister of Aviation and Commander/CEO of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC). He cuts the picture of a new kid on the political bloc fighting to feast where others have dared.

His ideology and policies in governance are such that could transform Anambra State positively, but the zoning arrangement in the state is not to his favour because he is from Anambra central, a zone that has held the reins of power for 13 years.

But, zoning was never a consensus of Anambra people, even though lately some groups like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, elders forum has called for the adoption of the zoning process in the state. Also the controversial primary election in the party which led to the death of a delegate may stand as a huge thorn in his climbing up the political ladder. There are indications that he bought over the reins of the party from the national chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie and in so doing caused a political tsunami in the party as many strong party faithful who would have helped to drive the party had abandoned it for other parties.

Oby Okafor – ADC

She used to be a regular face on television as a Nollywood actress until she became the acting Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC). Okafor who is an indigene of Awka, the Anambra State capital has professed that women have been deceived enough by the men in politics, hence it is time for women to come out and take the baton of leadership. Though she may be a regular face on the screen, she is largely known.

Yul Edochie – DPC

He is the son of a veteran actor and broadcaster, Pete Edochie. Yul is another Nollywood actor on the bloc seeking political relevance. However people view him as the comic relief in the contest as Anambra politics is not a film script for movie directors to play with, rather it is a game that requires political foot soldiers and strong gladiators to weather the storm. However, by the Nigerian constitution he is qualified to contest the election but the contest is not a tea party or a contest in cinematography.

Anambra 2017 governorship election is not a game for the faint hearted. The election promises to come with surprises and may go into a run-off in view of the major variables that will certainly determine the fate of the candidates.

Ifeanyi Okonkwo – ADP

A politician of many years, Okonkwo is not a green horn when it comes to political contest in Anambra State. Though he started his present journey with the United Peoples Party (UPP) the ambition was stalled following an allegation that the party was hijacked by one of the aspirants. Okonkwo who is well informed appears to be a ready meal in terms of ideology and focus but his political party alienation may not give him the smooth ride to the Anambra seat of power.

Source News Express

Posted 04/10/2017 4:56:46 PM

 

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