Saturday, November 18, is a very significant date in the annals of Anambra State. That day, the people will decide on either retaining Governor Willie Obiano in office after the gubernatorial election or ‘his office let another take’.
Seriously jostling for that prized position are Comrade Tony Nwoye, the former student activist medical doctor-turned politician and member, House of Representatives; Oseloka Obaze, former secretary to the state government, Godwin Ezeemo and Osita Chidoka, among many others.
Also in the contest by other means is the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, for whom the election has become a referendum of sorts to determine the desirability of their agitation and how much hold they have on the people. They have canvassed boycott of the election or death for voters. If their call is heeded and they successfully scuttle the election, perhaps then, people will begin to take them a little more serious despite the mysterious disappearance of their supreme leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The Federal Government loses nothing if the election is boycotted. It would gladly declare state of emergency in which case the state House of Assembly could even be dismantled, thereby the state would be ruled by fiat from Abuja. This is not palatable news for Ndi Anambra particularly and Ndigbo in general.
Of course, over twenty thousand policemen have be deployed to deal with trouble makers. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that elders and community leaders, including the clergy should rein in the youth before they bring down calamity on themselves and everyone.
The mood of security agents becomes more fearsome in view of the recent mass murder of worshippers at Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, Ozubulu. It is good news that the police have arrestee some suspects though they said major suspects remained in prison in South Africa. However, it is also troubling to hear that some of the suspects had been reportedly granted bail and only rearrested, following petition to the state police authorities. Information has it that politicians in the state are intent on manipulating the case because those arrested are their ‘boys’.
The police have since exonerated High Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonwu, aka Bishop, the young man that built the church where the grisly killings took place for his community. The police equally said he was a victim of the heinous act and could have been killed but for providence. Ikegwuonwu’s good-spirited sympathies with families of the dead and injured despite losing his own father in the attack is commendable. It is necessary for successful people to always remember their root and mentor others. People should be honourable in their dealings and refrain from settling business or political disputes with bloodshed. Youths should equally not covet the riches of others without interrogating the source or be ready to pay the price. Inordinate quest for wealth has led many to take drastic actions that eventually blighted their destinies, including becoming hirelings for thuggery and wanton waste of lives and property.
Security agencies should raise their antenna and expeditiously conclude investigation into the Ozubulu debacle. There is every need to ensure that no culprit evades justice and that the innocent is not punished unjustly. They should never allow merchants of death to buy their consciences. Failure to do the needful or allowing hoodlums to roam wide portends grave danger for the state, especially during this period of election.
But beyond IPOB and other threats to security, I see the election as one in which the incumbent is unsure of his steps. I have just returned from the South East Economic Summit in Enugu. Throughout the dilapidated Onitsha-Enugu Expressway, up to Awka, one is assaulted by billboards and posters of Obiano and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the late Igbo leader. The impression created is that Ojukwu is also in the race. It is micromanagement of Ojukwu’s eminence and clout. When Ojukwu said ‘nke a bu nke anyi’ (this is our own), he was definitely not referring to Obiano or the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA alone.
Obiano certainly made modest achievements though hyped, including the administration’s trumpeted three overhead bridges and achievement in the security sector. That is why many were baffled that the Ozubulu incident even took place. That is also why people are worried by the political interest in the matter and insist it must not be swept under the carpet.
The peace moves reportedly being made is welcome development. However, the welfare o the injured and families of the dead must be duly considered. Above all, there must be guarantee that there that there would be no recurrence.
It is indisputable that Ojukwu’s endorsement did not foreclose the candidature of another worthy Anambra son, particularly when the current occupant is seen not to be accessible.
How come the governor clings tenaciously to the statement as if his mandate depends on it. Building his hopes on Ojukwu’s endorsement is not smart move, as Ojukwu’s ghost could hound him out of the Government in Amawbia. It is hypocritical to be lampooning Nwoye for the support he’s getting from Prince Arthur Eze and Obaze from ex-governor Peter Obi while drawing strength from the late Igbo charismatic leader.
Maybe, it is paranoia for Nwoye that is driving all these panic measures.
Nwoye, a man of many firsts, has been populist in his leaning and thoughts ever since his days, as president of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS. That is why he has the backing of like Chief Peter Aniekwe (Macpee) and other youthful heads brimming with ideas on how to raise the bar for Ndi Anambra. Nwoye is only challenged by his platform, the All Progressives Congress, APC, which is yet to sync with the Igbo. Nevertheless, as Anambra keeps date with history on Saturday, they should realise that we have gone beyond the era when platform and not personality determined who wins in elections. Take it or leave it, Nwoye is Anambra’s elixir for robust tomorrow.