How Obiano swayed Anambra majority votes for APGA in the State Assembly polls

Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 17 March 2019 | 1,428 times

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•Governor Obiano

The Anambra State House of Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 9, 2019, may remain the one election that rattled the Governor Willie Obiano-led administration out of its comfort zone.

 This may not be far from the turn out of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state which had the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sweeping the polls.

 Though some political observers attributed PDP’s victory to the hard work of the candidates who campaigned vigorously and also had on ground achievements speaking for them, the National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) believed that the victory was borne out of sentiment.

 According to him, the electorate were emotional towards a particular direction and that made PDP to carry the day. He said the party cannot win any political contest in Anambra State because this is an APGA state.

 He had however affirmed that “the sentiment will not play out in the state assembly polls; APGA will take back what belongs to it.” Oye’s strong optimism did not disappoint him at the end of the polls as APGA carried the day in most of the wards in Anambra State including his ward in Amawbia that he lost to PDP on the day of Presidential election.

 Suffice it to say that the loss of both the Governor, his Deputy and the National Chairman in their respective wards in the Presidential and National Assembly polls was the cutting razor they needed to know that any slack on their party’s electoral fortune would create a smooth ride for the opposition.

 Shortly after the February 23 polls, the Governor went back to the drawing board on how to wake up an almost sleeping cock party.

 Various meetings were held to proffer ways to surmount the seeming blockade. The armours that were picked include alleged settling of the aggrieved members of the ruling APGA.

 According to an inside source who spoke to News Express on condition of anonymity, a huge amount of money running into millions of naira was spent to get the cock party's name planted in the heart of the electorate. He said that apart from Catholic Bishops promoting the party during mass, they also gave people reason why they should vote for APGA.

 He said: “Using the church as a means of campaign works like magic and you know the Catholic Church is in the majority. Whatever the Bishop says stands because they respect them a lot.”

 It was also gathered that political appointees were hugely empowered and given the mandate to either “deliver their wards or go home.”

 The source said that at a crucial meeting of the party, the governor had expressed fears that a PDP majority in the state Assembly will definitely work to impeach him. At the meeting, he pleaded with members to give it their all to ensure a repeat of the party's victory in the 2017 governorship election in the state.

 The source revealed that when the governor asked to know areas with red flag, about six areas including Anaocha, Ekwusigo, Ogbaru, Onitsha were mentioned.

 He added: “The governor wanted a total win because he was worried about PDP interference in his government, but when the cards were placed on the table, he knew better. For example, he was told that Ekwusigo has a standing zoning process that cannot be thwarted. For Ogbaru, he was told that it was under the firm grip of PDP as the senator representing the zone, Senator Stella Oduah has the ears of the people.”

 With that said, it became a task for party faithful, especially the political appointees to get down to work.

 In a similar move, the governor held a meeting with the state workforce a few days to the election. At the meeting, which had the state labour leader in attendance, the governor assured the workers that he would be the first to pay the new minimum wage. He reminded the workers that his government needed to consolidate on the good work already on ground, hence the need to have APGA members dominating the state Assembly.

 It was gathered that as he presented it before church leaders, he also told the workers that if PDP takes over the Assembly, it would lead to owing of salaries and pensions as he would use the money available to settle the opposition lawmakers.

 It was also observed that on the day of the election, voters in Obiano’s ward at Aguleri were specially treated with snacks and chairs placed under a canopy.

 Perhaps, the efforts, meetings, money and commitment at the end gave APGA twenty-four seats majority in the state Assembly to Obiano’s advantage while PDP scaled up the ladder from two to six.



Source: News Express

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