By NZE NWABUEZE AKABOGU
AS the countdown to the forthcoming Anambra State gubernatorial election begins in earnest, political activities are already on top gear and gathering their momentum. The serious contenders for the highly exalted office are busy criss-crossing the entire length and breadth of the state, reaching out and presenting their manifestos to the people who have suddenly become the beautiful bride for the highly ambitious politicians.
The stage is already set for the familiar campaign of calumny, mudslinging and innuendos always associated with Nigerian politicians aimed at scoring cheap political points and hoodwinking the unsuspecting and rather docile electorate to vote them into power. As at the last count, the number of the contenders for the governorship seat has risen to about thirty-seven candidates, most of them mere clowns and pretenders. The time has come, therefore, for Ndi Anambra to carefully beam their searchlight on the serious contenders whose antecedents and political pedigree are easily verifiable, to enable them make up their mind on whom they will entrust with their sacred mandate for the next four years. The essence of this piece, therefore, is to carefully guide the electorate on the most critical issues at stake in the crucial election which would ultimately enable them to make an informed decision as the day of reckoning is fast approaching. I make bold to assert that in the coming election, only three candidates could rightly be considered as serious and invariably are potential winners in the extremely tight and unpredictable race. However, in politics, it is said that anything can happen even as one cannot underestimate other candidates who might spring a surprise or pull off a major political upset in the election. Nevertheless, the above analysis is simply based on the current political calculations and empirical facts on the ground that cannot easily be faulted.
The serious contenders among the candidates must, therefore, be subjected to intense scrutiny by Ndi Anambra on their past records as well as their financial capacity to prosecute their campaign efforts. In addition, the sources of their finances must equally be ascertained. After decades of bad governance, gangsterism and mindless looting of the state’s scarce resources fuelled by “Godfatherism” syndrome which sadly portrayed Anambra State in bad light as “a pariah state” among the comity of states in Nigeria, Ndi Anambra have become wiser and will no longer be taken for a ride by conscienceless and self-serving politicians. For the past eleven years or so, Anambra State had witnessed tremendous transformation in all spheres of human endeavor. From the area of adequate security of lives and property to Socio-economic development of the state, it has always been a spectacular success story and nothing whatsoever must be done to stop this orderly march by Ndi Anambra to the promised land of abundant milk and honey.
Another burning issue to be carefully considered by Ndi Anambra as they prepare to take their destiny in their hands is the current debate on the rotation of political offices, generally speaking, with particular reference to the office of the Executive Governor of the State. The office is presently zoned to the North Senatorial District from where the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano hails. Through consensus by the major political parties in the state, the Governorship seat was zoned to the North for two terms of eight years. The Central Senatorial Zone had earlier produced former Governor Chris Ngige who was on the saddle for about three years and was quickly followed by Ex-Governor Peter Obi who held sway in the state for eight years that making a total of eleven years, the zone occupied the exalted office. The North now has four more years to complete its term before the office finally moves to the South Zone. This arrangement, no doubt, makes for equity, justice and fairness, where all the people of the three zones will have a sense of belonging in the affairs of the state. Lack of equity, justice and fairness obviously is the bane of the Nigerian political system, which has given rise to the current agitations across the country. The continuous alienation of Ndigbo of the South-East geopolitical region in the power equation in the country has recently given rise to unending separatist agitations that are currently holding the entire country hostage.
And coming back to the current Anambra election quagmire, media reports had quoted both the candidates of the PDP, Osaeloka Obaze, and that of the APC, Dr Tony Nwoye, as having made solemn commitments to serve only one term in office, if elected, to complete the second term of the incumbent Governor. Obiano, who is also from the North as the two highly respected contenders. This is nothing but a blank cheque or better still, a political gimmick aimed at hoodwinking the unsuspecting electorate. It is a well known fact that political promises are hardly kept by the new crop of Nigerian politicians and as such the reported promises by the two eminently qualified contenders could be taken with a pinch of salt as politicians can never be trusted with their promises, which at best could be described as mere rhetoric. Instances abound where political promises were instantaneously broken with impunity even before the very ink used in signing the promises could dry up. The people of Anambra State can no longer be taken for granted by desperate politicians who are bent on wresting power through fair or foul means as according to “Machiavellin theory”, “the end simply justifies the means”. Former President Goodluck Jonathan suffered a crushing and humiliating defeat during the 2015 Presidential election largely due to the written promise he allegedly made to his party PDP that he would serve only one term in office, but later reneged on the promise. Earlier before Jonathan’s downfall, former President Obasanjo was allegedly scheming for an unconstitutional third term in office but the Senate promptly aborted his vaulting ambition. Politicians are generally known for their insatiable lust for power and can do anything under the sun to achieve their ambition.
In order to keep the zoning formula alive, therefore, it is only logical and sensible that the incumbent Governor Obiano should be supported by all Anambrarians despite any misgiving, to complete his second term for his zone which, barring any unforeseen circumstances, will definitely end in 2022, and thereafter, the gubernatorial seat will automatically move to the South and will remain there until 2030 when the Central Zone will have the opportunity once again to preside over the affairs of the state.
Akabogu writes from Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, via. [email protected]