Issues In Anambra Guber Election


COMPETITION in Anambra State is stiff and fierce be it in commerce and trade, industry, education, culture and more. This makes the state stand out as a model in Nigeria boasting of giants in different fields, because the sifting and refining which such fierce competition engender secures a place for only the determined and the tested.

When it comes to general elections, Anambra goes into a frenzy. Most times, to emerge as a political party candidate exerts as much as the main election. As the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, conducts the governorship election in the state next week it is left to be imagined the atmosphere in the state as campaigns peak. Every candidate appears loaded and sufficiently helmed round about by the powers that be in the state as they canvass for votes and head to the polls next week.

As the men get separated from the boys, the contest for the new occupant of Government House, Awka appears streamlined, revolving around the incumbent governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Anthony Nwoye of the APC and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka of the United Peoples Party, UPP. The contestants appear headed for a show down as each of the them talks tough and unleashes campaign promises to sway voters to his side. And in a general election as this the sleep vocation has become a detestable luxury to the candidates and their avowed supporters, hence the heightened political activities – rallies, meetings, visitations – in different communities and local government areas.

As the candidates hit the road issues that shape the election have expectedly been dominating the rhetoric of the campaign and discussions and appear to point to the voting pattern on November 18. The challenges of governance in Anambra State are not mutually exclusive of those of other states in the country, but as expected, there are peculiarities which on close observation point to the priorities that will define the attitudes of voters in the election. Good governance is appealing at all times and in all climes. But it is more so in Anambra. Vivacious, energetic and enigmatic the people need minimum government to attain – just a conducive environment to ply their trade/vocation.

On this flank are the twin issues of security of lives and property and infrastructural development, particularly roads. It is interesting to see how much things have improved in these sectors in the state in the past few years. The notoriety of the state in robbery, kidnapping, even pick pockets in Onitsha and other parts has significantly faded. Today Anambra has become one of the safest states in the country. How was this possible? Active and focused leadership, provision of communication and transport equipment and other logistics to all security agencies, functional street lights, community policing, among others.

Roads, more roads are being constructed as communities continue to advance such as their priority. Communities are allocated funds to provide additional infrastructure to facilitate the welfare of their members. Although development is a continuum and no administration can lay exclusive claim to all the achievements, Anambra has recorded in recent years in the security and infrastructure sectors, there is no doubt a lot of the credit goes to incumbent Governor Obiano who has exercised hands-on leadership since assumption of office in 2014. No wonder his re-election campaign has been robust and energetic, with much gusto and confidence.

While the incumbent governor, Obiano exults in the achievements of his administration in these sectors in the past three and half years and makes them major planks of his campaign, the immediate past governor, Peter Obi who also did his best in infrastructure development during his eight year tenure as governor under APGA, also uses them to campaign for his protégé Chief Obaze of the PDP. Obi now in PDP is opposed to Obiano’s second term ambition. But how much of the APGA legacies Obi is able to transfer to his new party the PDP is left to be seen. Chidoka and Nwoye and Obaze also front their performances and achievements while serving in different positions in the state and at the federal level and present them as gauge instruments.

Ability to grasp these issues, define them and weave them into their messages among others appear to be making the difference in the campaigns. The relative peace in the state is an elixir to the noticeable robust debates even when they are laced with much acrimony. The godfather issue in Anambra politics has refused to fade away in this campaign, and is dominant here.

This time both candidates Obaze of the PDP and Nwoye of the APC have come under public scrutiny for alleged sponsorship by godfathers. Fingers point to business magnet Chief Arthur Eze as the sponsor of Nwoye, and the immediate past Governor Peter Obi as the new godfather and sponsor of Obaze. How this continues to dog Anambra elections even after the Dr. Chris Ngige and Chris Ubah saga remains a cause for worry. It is left to be seen what impact this recurrent godfather factor will have on the November 18 governorship contest.


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