By Okechukwu Anarado
Elections in Anambra State usually throw up such eruptions that leave trails of strange bedfellows amongst erstwhile associates. With the current gubernatorial cycle in the state now tending towards critical curves, this trend rehearses for a relive. Besides election matters, nothing else seems of rational consequence any more in Anambra today; more among emergent political groupings bent on Governor Willie Obiano’s upstage and the ruin of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. November 18, 2017, the appointed election date, is blamable for this hype.
The yield of the poll to hyper publicity is hardly unconnected with its distinctive separateness from the Independent National Electoral Commission’s traditional timetable for governorship elections countrywide; the staggered scheme being itself the product of a skewed 2003 election which predicated APGA’s redemptive judicial struggle and 2006 Anambra’s political liberation from the stranglehold of itinerant godfathers and presumptuous outside influences.
Anambra being the fulcrum of the socio-political compulsions of Ndigbo, the present pre-electioneering setting truly provokes the sensibilities in the strenuous struggle for the heartland of Igbo nation by politicians of various bents – bona fide contenders, timid pretenders, wannabes and all.
The buildup to Anambra 2017 aptly exposes the unpredictability and the unreliability of many Nigerian politicians whose missions in politics are driven by no conviction other than voracious hunger to either amass wealth or covet power. This explains the unrestrained, if not unrestrainable, osmotic shuffles by many influential politicians in Anambra to political parties that suggest protection of the defectors’ interests. The capacity of a party’s chieftains to self-protect, and more importantly the loud influences and allurements of any incumbent Presidency determine the choices available to these politicians.
For instance, when People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had a grip of the Presidency (1999 to 2015), despite the poverty of its trajectory in Anambra politics – exemplified in Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s failures (1999 to 2003) and Dr. Chris Ngige’s electoral fraud and illegitimate reign (2003 to 2006) – it was still fashionable for it to present unprecedented numbers of gubernatorial aspirants against APGA’s highly rated government in Anambra. While other parties, including defunct components of the current All Progressive Congress conglomerate (ACN, CPC, ANPP etc), posted meager displays at gubernatorial electioneering in the state, PDP paraded no less than thirty gubernatorial aspirants each election season; and lingered in the courts on election matters after losing to APGA: each time hoping to use Presidential fiat to rob APGA of the people’s mandate. That was PDP in Anambra State!
In Anambra 2017, majority of those who nursed hard impressions of APC before it chanced upon presidential powers now gravitate towards it for an embrace that was considered leprous before now. Indeed, most of those clamouring for APC’s ticket for the November 18, 2017 election lacked the boldness to call the party by name in Anambra until very recently when the delusions of their past and illusions of self-preservation exposed their ideological ineptitude and insincerity to any genuine political cause.
But for phantom assurances of the Presidency to reward them with Obiano’s seat, probably, why, for instance, would acknowledged PDP high chiefs suddenly clamour to ingratiate themselves with the leadership of APC? Some suddenly forgot the humongous destruction their private interests caused Anambra State when Ngige was; and would choose to insult the sensibilities of Ndi-Anambra by taking the people’s sense of history for granted.
But come to think of it: Of what electoral value is APC in Nigeria today that Ndi-Anambra would risk trading in their trusted home grown APGA-government for a faltering concept that gladly ignores the participatory impulses of the people of the South East? What would the class of emergency apologists of APC or the perennially peripheral APC Ngige tell Ndi-Anambra to make the party saleable in the state, when the owners of the party contemplate no remedies for the unprecedented exclusions the southeasterners suffer in Nigeria’s APC? Could there be unspoken underhand bargains between the party and its Anambra governorship aspirants to gain the state’s Seat of Power beyond the legitimate electoral mandate of Ndi-Anambra? What has any state in the South East, whensoever, gained from being run by the party in the Presidency? Glaringly nothing!
The shenanigan about the advantages Anambra would gain if run by APC is a hoax. Professor Chukwuma Soludo calls it ‘an elite talk, an elite game for the elite interest!’ He further admonishes that ‘some might join a political party so that the federal authorities might deploy the armed forces and INEC to write election results for them. It has nothing to do with the people and their welfare.’ APC in Anambra is a sure recipe for erosion of the tempo of development the state has known for about twelve years of APGA government.
Observably, the temper of majority of residents of Anambra State over the political sophistry of most of the politicians now in circulation is suggestive of anxiety and reprehension driven by the singular constant element characteristic of Igbo success in their legitimate pursuits: Stock taking! Hind sighting! The people’s suspicion of the political buildup to November, 2017 stems from their due recourse to history. Disgusting memories of trodden paths and fears of their pernicious relive confront Ndi-Anambra. And the people would not be cajoled into any gloomy political misadventure; not by whatever repackaged niceties the exponents of past missteps recommend.
The people would not be intimidated into lavishing a cherished political heritage that does not only bear Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s imprimatur but increasingly offers them safety, dignity and functional development. The stellar achievements of Gov. Willie Obiano in the past three years, in keeping with APGA tradition, have further entrenched the party in the people’s consciousness, and Ndi-Anambra eagerly await November, 2017 to boldly demonstrate their overwhelming faith in Obiano and in APGA.
Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu