Chief Emma Nnachor (Nnanyelugo) a well rooted politician from Anam and a former chairman of old Anambra Local Government Area of Anambra State speaks on the APGA GUBER ELECTION IN ANAMBRA STATE slated on AND THE NOVEMBER 16, 2013

Politics is variously described colloquially as “the game of numbers and also, as a game of wits”. For this reason, every politician cleverly strives to out-wit his opponents in all political outings in order to remain relevant in the scheme of things. Apart from being humbled in the Court of Appeal Judgment arising out of the feud between him and his supporters on the one hand, and the National Chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh on the other, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON, is one such politician that maximizes his wits to utmost advantage. This article therefore, is premised on how well or lack of it, Gov Obi’s wits will play out during the November 16, 2013 Gubernatorial Election in Anambra State for which Chief Willie Obianor from Aguleri in Anambra-East LGA of Anambra North Senatorial District of the state  emerged as the flag bearer of APGA. on 26th August, 2013.

By 17th March, 2014, Gov Peter Obi will complete his second tenure of four years each maximally allowed by Nigerian Constitution and hand over to whoever wins the November 16 Gubernatorial Election as  his successor. Because self preservation is the first law of nature, Gov Obi requires who will, to the best of his ability, cover his (Obi’s) pit-falls while in office these eight years on the saddle. This is just a normal “Nigerian safety-catch” arrangement for out-going governors to have a soft landing. This is because, no governor has hardly ever (at least in Nigeria) completed two tenures in office without having soiled his hands either financially or otherwise. This reason, more than any other, accounts for the novel idea of out-going governors often shopping for own successors. The best illustration of this point was the one that produced Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State as successor to former Governor James Onanefe Ibori. Again, even though the going later became sour between former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State and the incumbent Gov Sullivan Chime, it was the same arrangement that produced the later as successor to the former as Gov of Enugu State. These two examples have illustrated the point more vividly.  Therefore, Gov Peter Obi has not infringed any protocol to have wished to have a soft landing on exiting from office.

Perhaps, it is not out of place here to examine the rationale for this arrangement if only for the benefit of those who may care. Most times in multi-party democracies, many people in opposing camps to the ruling party either at the federal or state levels, either with a view to providing the necessary checks and balances or for scoring political points, level wide range of allegations against sitting administrations. Such critics because they are outside government, often lack concrete evidences to substantiate their allegations and make them lethal tools for prosecuting erring officials. This scenario is outside the situation where aggrieved insiders leak out information against a sitting administration. As a result, when the above “safety-catch” arrangement produces a successor to an out-gone governor, political enemies or aggrieved persons who would wish to have a pound of flesh from the out-gone governor through his un-tidied activities while in office, often meet with difficulty in assessing vital information that would prove their allegations to make them easy to prosecute by the EFCC or any other anti-graft body in the country. No antagonistic incoming administration can offer such a protective shield to an out-gone chief executive. This is the essence of the much talked-about plans by out-going governors who have completed their second tenures of four years each, for shopping for trusted hands to be anointed their successors. As said earlier on, Gov Peter Obi, has not breached any existing law of the land in joining the bandwagon of out-going governors who spearheaded the nominations of their would-be successors in office. This is because the nomination of Chief Willie Obianor against the backdrop of his late entry to the contest, as the flag bearer of APGA in the November 16, 2013 Gubernatorial Election in Anambra State, was clearly the hand work of Governor Peter Obi.

Two reasons clearly stand out as having informed the choice of Gov Peter Obi for Chief Willie Obianor to be nominated as his (Gov Obi’s) would-be successor. First, Chief Obianor, a former Executive Director of a national bank, (Fidelity Bank), whose Board Chairman Gov Obi was before contesting the governorship of Anambra State , first in 2003, is an old ally of Gov Peter Obi. The bond of intimacy between the duo of Obi and Obianor, people say, is such that if Chief Obianor wins the November 16 Election, the continuation of Gov Peter Obi’s achievements in office as well as his deficiencies (for every  pro has a con) is assured with military precision. Therefore, supporters and well-wishers as well as adversaries of Gov Obi, will find in Chief Obianor, another Peter Obi that must be supported and admired to continue his good works or be criticized for his deficiencies in what he has failed, to do or do well in the state. This is the setting that will play out in the state if Chief Willie Obianor wins the November 16 Gubernatorial Election. So far, Gov Obi’s permutations are working for him and baring any adverse campaign issues in the next couple of weeks, Gov Peter Obi’s candidate in the Novenber 16 Election, Chief Willy Obianor, is the candidate to beat as he Gov Obi is expected to lead Chief Obianor’s campaigns..

The second point that informed Gov Peter Obi’s decision for the choice of Chief Willie Obianor to succeed him, has to do with the Governor’s humanitarian inclination to lure equity and fair play into the struggle for power shift to Anambra North Senatorial District of the state. In fairness to Gov Obi, he has since 2012 insisted (and rightly too) that Anambra North has not produced a governor of the state since its creation in 1991, and that his successor would come from that zone. Initially, not many Anambrarians took him very seriously for this wish because of his unpredictable stance, until the outcome of APGA’s screening exercise. This wish as we have all seen, is very much on course. But suffice it to say that the governor’s commitment to this wish became unwavering because the man after the Governor’s heart, Chief Willie Obianor, is from the zone. Besides, Chief Obianor is a tested technocrat who is a Fellow of the Institute of Chatered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) with many years cognate experience With this pedigree any insinuation as to Gov Obi subjecting or compelling Anambrarians to the leadership of cascading mediocrity, is entirely out of the question. As a matter of fact, there is no political party currently in the race for the November 16, 2013 Gubernatorial Election in the state, that has a more qualified candidate in terms of intellectual and managerial/administrative capabilities than Chief Obianor. This is a big plus for APGA as a ruling party and they should work very hard to keep it to the end of the struggle.

The Campaign Issues

That Chief Willie Obianor is very new (in fact, a JJC) to Anambra politics, is stating the obvious. It is equally true that Gov Peter Obi was a “JJC” to Anambra politics when he first contested for the governrship of Anambra State in 2003. But today, Anambrarians widely acknowledge that Gov Obi has performed creditably. It thus follows that administrative/managerial ability is an intrinsic quality which providence endows on individuals. This statement of fact further amplifies the time-tested adage that, “the taste of the pudding is in the eating”. It is because Anambrarians have tested Gov Obi that they have acknowledged his spectacular achievements in the state. Therefore, the good people of Anambra State should expect, not only the sustainability of the gains of the Obi’s Administration, but building solidly on them, should Chief Willie Obianor win the November 16, Election. All the same, the real campaign issues are as follows:

Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) which means developing all sectors of the Anambra State economy simultaneously, has remained the driving force that powered the state economy since Gov Obi came on board as governor of the state. Whether it is in Infrastructure – road, water, electricity – Health, Agriculture, Education, Commerce, Environment, Security, etc, etc, the ANIDS Policy has been very positively and conspicuously effective. In fairness to the ANIDS Policy, there is none of the 21 LGA’s of the state whose citizens have not benefited substantially from all the amenities under the ambit of the ANIPS Program. In evaluating the giant strides of the ANIDS Policy, the best way to illustrate its impact on the state’s psyche , is to invoke the efficacy of an adage from the Omaballa Area of the state thus: “There is no person for whom the inspiringly melodious tunes of wonder masquerade music are beaten, that will not perform magic”.

Therefore, it is only a misfit that will inherit the array of legacies which Gov Obi will be leaving on the landscape of Anambra State while exiting from office come 17th March, 2014, and he will fail to live up to the expectations of Anambrarians. Chief Willie Obianor’s track record of achievement as an Executive Director of a national bank (Fidelity Bank) at   which position he served in all departments of the banking industry, cannot afford to fail him in meeting up with the expectations of Anambrarians if he wins the November 16, Gubernatorial Election. Echoing his expertise in the management of men and resources, and pledging total commitment to the sustainability and fine-tuning Gov Obi’s achievements in the state with the ANIDS Policy as the driving force, appear to me to be the real campaign issues for APGA in the forthcoming Election.

At this juncture, it may not be out of place for me to join Gov Peter Obi  in appealing to our brothers and sisters in the Central and Southern Senatorial Zones to allow the North Senatorial Zone to produce the next governor of Anambra State this time around. This appeal has become more germane now that the Zone has produced two credible candidates for the forthcoming election. Chief Willy Obianor of AGPA, is a technocrat while Chief Tony Nwoye of PDP is a seasoned politician. Either of the two candidates both of whom are from Anambra North Senatorial Zone, is capable to govern the state aright and deliver the much expected democracy dividends to all the three zones simultaneously. I am making this appeal because, by the time Gov Obi leaves office in March, 2014, Anambra Central Senatorial Zone would have governed Anambra State for 10years and 10months. By this exposition, I refer to the 2years and 10months of Dr. Chris Ngige’s Governorship (29th May 2003 – 15th March, 2006, and the two tenures of 4years each of Gov Obi’s governorship which will terminate on 17th march, 2014. Should another person from the same Central Senatorial Zone succeed Gov Obi, that person too, will seek a 2nd tenure of 4years. Therefore, by the time Gov Obi’s successor (if he comes from Central Zone) finishes his two tenures, that zone would have governed Abanmbra State for 18years and 10 months in an unbroken streak. That unlikely eventuality to my mind, is equity unfriendly, to say the least. The South Senatorial District on its path, held sway in the governance of the state for 6years, 3months and 17days  through former Governors Ezeife, Mbadinuju, Etiaba and Uba,  respectively. The North Senatorial District is yet to govern Anambra State even for one day since the state’s creation in 1991. Therefore, if monopolizing the governance of Anambra State is usurpation, the Central Senatorial District has committed the more, and the Southern District, the lesser of it. For this obvious reason, there is a compelling need to balance the power equation, and now is the most appropriate time to do so. I therefore, plead with other Anambrarians outside Anambra North Senatorial District to give equity and fairness the right of first refusal.

Finally, I have, in this article, rendered my own understanding of why out-going governors shop for own successors in office. I have equally posited how that arrangement has been put in place in the ongoing campaigns for the forthcoming Novenber 16 Election in the state. I have even gone the extra mile of pre-empting how the APGA campaign issues will be based. There is also the appeal for the realization of the cause of the people of Anambra North for power shift in the state. All these renderings are my personal opinions which I am entitled to as a fundamental human right of every Nigerian. I sincerely hope that other Anambrarians will buy into this line of thinking. Nonetheless, I am conscious of the fact that divergent opinions on these renderings will exist, as every action must generate a reaction. However, what wins converts to any side of divergent opinions on any issue, is superior argument. This, I expect my critics to avail readers for the benefit of the growth of knowledge.

In winding up this piece of article, I wish our dear State, Anambra, a hitch-free November 16, 2013, Gubernatorial Election and a successful and peaceful hand over of the first ever 8-year civilian rule in Anambra State, come 17th march, 2014. Thank you and God bless. Anambra State.  

Nnanyelugo, E. Iwoba Nnachor.