By Chief Obi Okoli
I read with relish Uchem Obi’s very expository article published in many Nigerian Newspapers titled; “ANAMBRA IT’S NOW OR NEVER “. I agree with the writer that Anambra State is in urgent need of a governor with deep experience in the workings and structures of government. The writer showed good understanding of the problems of the state and his opinion that the state needs as governor, an experienced politician with extensive clout, is one I share also.
I share also his opinion on His Excellency, Sen. Dr. Andy Uba being the most formidable aspirant in Anambra State’s governorship race. In multi ethnic and multi religious Nigeria, which is already on the crossroad of mutual suspicion and distrust, Anambra State needs a highly sophisticated and widely connected political strategist as governor. It needs a governor who will have unfettered access to Abuja’s corridors of power. As a former Presidential Senior Special Assistant, Governor and two term Senator, there is no governorship aspirant in Anambra State now, who has or can match Andy Uba’s political sagacity or diplomatic access to Abuja’s corridors of power.
After his eight years in the Aso Rock Villa and eight years in the National Assembly, as Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even his worst critics know and agree that, Andy Uba has established friendships, political contacts and networks, alliances and mutual respect in Nigeria’s seat of power, more than any other politician in Anambra State. This is one of the greatest advantages of having Andy Uba as the next governor of Anambra State.
Another massive advantage that Andy Uba’s governorship will bring to the state is that, being in the ruling party and with the kind of clout he already possesses, the state can be assured of a smooth understanding and beneficial working relationship with the federal government.
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma is a classical example of how a state governor who belongs to the ruling party can fast track the development of his state, with the immense support of his party’s controlled federal government. This will be the golden fate of Anambra State if Andy Uba becomes the next governor of the state. I can bet that if he approaches the APC federal government with six demands, he will return to Anambra with four approvals. How much and how fast Sen. Uzodimma has developed Imo State in so short a time should be convincing of how urgently we need an APC governor of Andy Uba’s clout in the state.
The much touted national cake is still in Abuja and it is being shared out everyday. A governor of Andy Uba’s clout and personality will guarantee Anambra’s fair share of this cake. The corridors of power are well known to him. The decision makers and players in those corridor are well known to him. The hustle and bustle in those corridor are well known to him and moreover, having been an active player in those corridor for eight years as Presidential aide and for another eighi years as Senator, Andy Uba has a leverage and advantage that no other aspirant in this year’s governorship election has.
Senate Presidency, Deputy Speakership of the House of Representatives, Ministerial appointments, Ambassadorial postings and key positions in various boards and Parastatals are all slices of the national cake, inclusive of strategic infrastructural designations. Any governor from the ruling party traditionally nominates people to these positions. With an APC governor of Andy Uba’s mould, our expectations in these positions will be guaranteed. Speaking truthfully and sincerely, no other aspirant in Anambra State’s governorship race this year can guarantee these expectations as much as Andy Uba will, not because his name is Andy Uba but because of his huge political experience and wide political contacts.
But sadly there are people who do not wish this good fortune to come to Anambra. A governor of Andy Uba’s clout will neither favour them nor enrich their sadistic cravings for selfish aggrandizement. These people are the so called Anambra godfathers, who as Uchem Obi correctly observed, are the same people “who have kept us in hell all these years”. We can’t trust them or their stooges anymore. They are not motivated by Anambra’s interests but by their dangerous and selfish personal interests.
They don’t want Andy Uba as governor because they cannot manipulate him or lead him by the nose. They want a neophyte without prior access to the corridors of power. They want someone who will depend on them for access to the corridors of power, someone who will be in their eternal debts, which will be paid unendingly from Anambra’s treasury. Any day the governor refuses to pay, not only will all hell be let lose in Anambra again but they will also block the governor’s access to the powers that be. This will be severely detrimental to our collective expectations of the development of our state. This is not what we want again.
Andy Uba does not intend to gratify anyone at the expense of Anambra’s interests. This is the godfathers’ grouse with him. They can’t promise to take him to Aso Rock because he Iived there for eight years and knows its terrain and politics better than they do. They can’t introduce him to the corridors of power because he has played in it for sixteen years and knows shorter routes to it. They cannot intimidate him with introduction to decision makers because those decision makers have been his colleagues, allies, friends and acquaintances for years. This is emphatic goodbye to the godfather cult in the state and one of the advantages of having Andy Uba as the next governor of Anambra State.
This year’s governorship election in Anambra State should be about what is best for the entire state and not about what will flourish the selfish interests of a few. Opposition politics has stagnated the state all these years and it will be simply unwise and retrogressive to continue to shun mainstream politics and continue in opposition, which has done nothing for the state but ensured the erosion and dilapidation of federal roads and critical infrastructures in the state. This is the time to wake up from the stupor of opposition and join mainstream politics. If Andy Uba wins this year’s governorship election and gets sworn in in March 2022, he will become Anambra’s governor in the APC Presidency of President Buhari, which will remain in power till May 29, 2023.
Fourteen months are enough to replicate Hope Uzodimma’s Imo revolution in Anambra State and enough time too to secure irrevocable concessions from the federal government, which will translate to solid foundations for revolutionary development in Anambra State.
But we will first shun the Anambra godfathers and their substandard choices they intend to foist on us. As Uchem Obi rightly posited in his article, “our collective over indulgence of political contractors, over ambitious buffoons, insensitive and opportunistic godfathers and godsons brought our dear state to this present precipice. If we allow this misnomer to continue, we would be doing great disservice, not only to ourselves but to our children and generations to come, who may come to believe that we are a state that glorifies mediocrity and willingly submit ourselves to the moronic leaderships of nitwits, upstarts and megalomaniac nincompoops”.
In this year’s election we will have to do what is best for Anambra State and not what is best for the sadistic and opportunistic godfathers. First, we have to shun opposition politics and align ourselves with the
ruling APC and secondly, to make Andy Uba our candidate of choice, because he cannot be dictated to by any godfather. He is his own man and Anambra truly needs and deserves their next governor to be independent and not fettered to the shackles of any godfather. Thirdly and importantly, Andy Uba has the clout, personality, political experience and wide friendly contacts, established over so many years, to navigate Abuja’s corridors of power and secure concessions and federal government’s assistance in the development of Anambra State. This is just the truth.
• Okoli writes from Enugu