It is no longer news that Anambra State, Nigeria would be going to the polls on November 18, 2017, to elect a new governor who will pilot the affairs of the state for the next four year beginning March 15, 2018. Most political parties have produced their flag bearers but most notable among them are the 3 major political parties vying for the position of the governor. They have all conducted their primaries (at least two of them) and produced their candidates.
For the All Progressive Congress (APC) it’s Dr. Tony Nwoye; for the PDP, it’s Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze; then for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) we still have the power of incumbency with the indefatigable Dr. Willie Obiano. Not neglecting the ever present impact of Dr. Goddy Ezeemo of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) and others, we must say that the 3 big elephant are in the race to the seat of governance come.
For so many people of the state and beyond, it’s a two horse race between the APC (due to the Federal might) and the APGA (enjoying the power of incumbency). For these thinkers PDP are just pretenders, while other political parties are there just to make up the numbers. Unfortunately, most politicians express that view. But what I actually don’t know is whether they actually believe that strongly or just saying it to misinform people as a campaign strategy. Whatever be the case they are getting it so wrong for so many reason.
1. The impact of other political parties:
The ever present impact of one of Anambra’s foremost philanthropist and politician would make PPA pull a little surprise. The candidate, Mr. Goddy Ezeemo has been ever present and consistent in building his political structure over the years. Certainly he would pull some surprises though might not be enough to win him the seat but enough to grossly affect the other major parties; that we shall certainly see how and whom it impacts the most among the three major parties. We should not disregard other parties too mostly with the consciousness being raised among the youths to support their own. So don’t just write off their impacts yet.
2. The “Anambra North Mandate” mantra:
It has been argued over the years that the power should rotate to Anambra North (which has happened) and remain theirs for eight years. Come the “Ides of March”, it must have been four years they held the saddle, looking onto another four years. Though most people from different political class do not believe it’s necessary, the structure of the present Anambra politics has made it inevitable. More so, the emergency of the three candidates for the three major political parties (APC, APGA & PDP) has made it certain that the governor must emerge from the North for the next four year; definitely not ruling out the possibility of any one of them staying beyond the next four years.
Now, with the 3 candidates emerging from the North, it means that’s where the “battle” lies. They might not be the majority, but they have certainly been opened up to have major impacts in the political landscape of the state. It would be a battle of who wins the heart of “the North” counting down to November 18 polls. And whoever wins the battle has the upper hand depending on what goes the other ends of the state; the South and the Central. This is where the choice of the running mates of the flag bearers would certainly play vital role. Besides that, however, comes the question: What party does Anambra Belong to? Answering this question correctly solves every political mathematics that would determine who wins in the Governorship race.
3. The PDP is back!
Anambra has been known for a long time as APGA state. The question, however, comes; “is Anambra State an APGA State?”. Obviously, APGA has held the seat of power for a very long time in Anambra State such that the state been consistently known as APGA state. One can argue either for or against as long as one may wish but the fact is that APGA has been on ground; they have held the power for more than twelve good years, so they have every ground to have built an indomitable political structure. But whether they have done so remains a big question, especially considering the present internal crisis tearing them apart, which might even throw up an unexpected candidate at the end of the day; obvious from antecedents through the Nation’s Judiciary.
The APC on its own, has no place in the State. Argue it from now till eternity they certainly do not. However, one might refer to the Federal might, which might give them a freeway to win the battle. But from my own view, that Federal might is dead on arrival, so it will play little or no impact. The State APC knows this too well and that is why they have never rested in balancing every equation and not taking any chance at all. From my own view, their impact would certainly come from the brains behind their campaign success and electioneering proper; the “shadow parties”. They certainly, as determined as they are, would make serious impact, but to win the elections? Well, let’s wait and see.
The PDP is back; certainly back. Many political scientists call them “pretenders” in this coming elections. Inasmuch as I won’t state that I differ in their viewpoint, am just contented to say that my different viewpoint may necessary be informed by the fact that I am a “political philosopher”. The question is not who is right or wrong but how the whole facts play out to who emerges at the end of the day.
This takes me back to my question: “Is Anambra State of which Party”? Many say that Anambra is APGA state but going through Anambra political history from 1999 may give us a more reliable fact to state the opposite. Anambra has been a PDP state from inception of this present republic. It was through Dr. Ekwueme’s political relevance in the Nation’s politics and the hope to have our own as the Nation’s number one citizen that Anambra became a PDP state. It was this political structure that gave Anambra Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju as the Governor of the state from 1999-2003. However, event of his leadership threw up so many negative scenarios that eventually threw him out. The same structure gave us Dr. Chris Ngige as the Governor though from a different angle. APGA came through our Hero, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as party Ndigbo, but it was Chief Peter Obi that actually brought it down to Ndi Anambra in its present structure up till the last elections. In fact, he came into Anambra politics with an irresistible power of attraction to change the State from a failed state it was under Mbadinuju to what we enjoy today. Having done his grass root politics, he used the more acceptable option (Ojukwu’s APGA) to project his political ambition. Helped with many factors, particularly the Mbadinuju saga and everyone’s desire to vote him out; he won the elections. He had every opportunity to build the party structure in his first tenure but I do not know the extent he did achieve as the next elections showed that PDP still has root in the state, but after then the whole story changed. A massive grass root campaign was done such that APGA became a household name in Anambra State. So whoever says that Anambra is an APGA state might not be wrong. But beyond this, we may look at the structure that made people call Anambra an APGA state. It was the same structure as fashioned, modeled and represented by Peter Obi that installed the present Governor. In building the party structure, Peter Obi wooed many politicians and masses from PDP and other parties into APGA and maintained the structure in many ways. Believe it or not, he remained the rock (okwute) upon which the party structure was built.
Through series of events, Peter Obi left APGA for PDP. Now APGA is deeply distracted by internal crisis, which has no end in view. Even if it ends today, the “loosers” in the case would remember that they were from PDP, no matter the camp they belonged to. Now, “the rock” has moved to the PDP, as a welcomed integration and people still see PDP as pretenders in the forthcoming elections. It is now time to prove that Anambra originally belonged to PDP. Peter Obi move into APGA, and built a structure that strengthened it and wrestled power from PDP not minding their federal might. Now there is no Okwute, nor Ojukwu in APGA. While people were busy writing off the PDP, the grass root campaign was going on to rekindle the PDP spirit in Ndi Anambra. The PDP is back!
Rather than see this as a two horse race between the APC and APGA, I see it as a demonstration of the “battle for federal power – version 2019” between the fast dwindling Federal might of the APC and the reinvigorating spirit of the once defeated new PDP that is if Nigeria remains the same.
It’s just about time to join the winning team!
By Ifeanyi R. Ibekwe