By Okechukwu Anarado
The mounting frenzy of political events in Anambra State over the past three months leaves no one in doubt of the esteemed value of the office of a governor – Anambra State governor at that. All interest parties within and outside Anambra State have been observed to be exerting enormous energies towards producing the next governor of the state. This is consequent upon the steady approach of November 6, 2021 date for Anambra State gubernatorial election.
One could say that the boisterous fervour characteristic of Anambra politics has suddenly mutated, degrading to the absurd where vain glory of lucre and influence/power-arrogance now choke the conclusions of a few politicians. The protagonists in this absurd bent appear emboldened by the palpable impression that even the judiciary could be tweaked to pander to their whims beyond justice. The supremacy of the electorate in deciding who governs is on trial therefore, and the challengers flaunt the overbearing interest of an imperial president in the bargain. But I advise: the President should be spared the avoidable hurt.
Anambra State has long established itself as a unique state by the exposure of its citizens and residents to vintage political thoughts. This bent informed the birth of a political culture that grooms a sustainable polity upon a template that is sensitive to the needs of the people. Anambra State paid dearly to attain the stability it enjoys now. Ndi-Anambra would therefore rather fully dig in supporting and defending the party that did not only found their connect to measurable economic growth in the state, but established an evolving administrative template that is in continual embrace with the micro demands of governance in the context of macro economy of states and nations. They do not shy away from identifying with the local content in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) which is their inimitable preference in party politics. It has remained so since 2003 when they first freely gave their mandate to the party and patiently waited out the gruesome stretch of court processes that only actualized the victory three full years after. The pervading ‘Nkea bu nke ayi’ mantra in Anambra political space summarises the bond that exists between the people and APGA. Ndi-Anambra possess a good sense of history. Given Anambra’s awry experiences in the hands of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju who spent his entire tenure (1999 to 2003) contending with noxious godfathers, then Dr. Chris Ngige (2003 to 2006) who suffered no less distraction in the hands of President Obasanjo-endorsed godfatherism.
For Ndi-Anambra, those 7 years of PDP were lost years. They truly lost so much in terms of lives, property (public and private), corporate image and values. Failed health system, crashed education, crime, vandalism, organized arson, heightened hooliganism capped with state sponsored barbaric justice administration scheme that grossly diminished the value of human life. Yes, human beings were publicly slaughtered by recognized state agents under extra judicial conclusions, with hapless citizens (whose victimhood might just be appointed in the next awful circus) feeling entertained rather than cringe at the bizarre contraption. The streets of cities and village tracks were patrolled by irascible free radicals who enjoyed the protection of untouchable political ‘Lords of the Manor’. Under this sustained crisis, Gov Chris Ngige was abducted in a conspiracy that evidently had the president’s imprimatur.
The electoral fraud that produced Dr. Chris Ngige in 2003 exposed the People’s Democratic Party’s (then the ruling party at the centre and in the state) desperation to retain power in Anambra State, despite their rejection by the Anambra electorate who found in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) a welcome alternative to the brigandage of PDP. It was the judiciary to the rescue when APGA government was pronounced and installed in 2006 after three years of arbitrary denial of power by the ruling PDP. But the PDP kept nibbling at the APGA administration leading to Gov. Peter Obi’s unpopular impeachment on 3rd November, 2006. The Court of Appeal seating in Enugu however returned him on 9th February, 2007. The PDP contrived a kangaroo gubernatorial poll in 2007 and foisted Andy Uba, then President Obasanjo’s avowed crony on Ndi-Anambra.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria in her famous judgment on Tenure Interpretation voided both the election and Andy Uba’s emergence as governor, thereby abruptly ending Uba’s 17 days illegitimate occupation of the Government House. Then, known PDP patrons resorted to running riots on state institutions as a way of harassing the APGA government out of office. Consequently, the Governor’s Office in Awka, the Governor’s Lodge in Onitsha, among other government facilities, suffered damage. Anambra knew no rest because of the activities of PDP chieftains who ostensibly enjoyed the backing of Obasanjo’s presidency.
Ndi-Anambra have not forgotten. They cannot forget, particularly when the most culpable individual and political party (now on different camps) are again on the prowl; one defiantly thumbing his chest announcing Anambra’s invasion by unruly federal army of politicians, while the other slyly presents itself as ‘born again’ with a repackage of vestiges of its character. It matters less to them what the people think.
The all conquest chorus and deceptions will not fly, however. The Anambra electorate has grown more sophisticated than the perpetual manoeuvrers presume. Unless for the unwise, history will not cease to instruct the choices that people make on issues that are of utmost relevance to their being. Evidently, Anambra is an APGA state whose citizens’ passion for APGA derives from APGA government’s numerous achievements in the state in the past 15 years. The people do not see any viable option in any other political party. Indeed apart from the usual electioneering braggadocios around the camps of parties like the YPP, ZLP, Labour Party, Accord Party and the PDP, the worrisome coloration is the nonchalant arrogance of the APC in dropping the name of the president and the presidency as sure collaborators in the rape of democracy designed for Anambra November 6, 2021 election. The defiance in the poise and language rankles!
Indeed, Andy Uba is a dead loss for APC. Available records show him as losing elections even in his ward. Ndi-Anambra very well remember Andy Uba’s manipulations that brought the state to ruins because of his desperation to superintend over affairs of the state. There is no single woe the state has suffered since the birth of the Fourth Republic (1999) that Uba is not fingered in. This unabated desperation saw him move to APC with every hope of using the presidency and the contorted inclinations of some influential people in the Federal Government to subdue Ndi-Anambra and APGA in an election he ordinarily has no chance of making any recognizable impact.
The brazen flaunt of the presidency, the judiciary, and the federal security operatives as allies in Andy Uba’s unholy scheme calls for deep concern. It calls out all well-meaning citizens of Anambra State, as well as every exponent of democracy to loudly condemn this unhidden determination by Uba and his group to highjack Anambra November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election regardless of the electorate’s wish.
Andy Uba should be advised to leave the President out of this unpopular scheme of his. Uba’s unpopular plot is as dead as dodo! He should be advised to spare President Muhammadu Buhari the avoidable smear of inanity.
This piece is never intended as an APGA War Chant precursory to Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo’s sure victory come November 6, 2021. It rather calls Ndi-Anambra to eternal vigilance against an imposition that will definitely stall the state’s steady march to higher grounds. It is equally an honest prayer that our president should suffer no extra distractions in contending with the teething national security demands of the moment.
Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu