From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Four months ahead of the November 18 governorship election in Anambra, the political space is yet to be fully charged, as all the aspirants are still into discreet consultations.
Perhaps they have adopted that method for now in order to not to incur the wrath of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC who is yet to blow the whistle for the commencement of political campaigns.
According to the INEC timetable for the Anambra election and going by the provisions of section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 which provided 90 days before the polling day for campaigns, political parties are expected to begin official campaigns from 18th August 2017.
By the same INEC’s guidelines, political parties are also expected to conduct party primaries and resolution of disputes from the primaries from 22nd July to 2nd September 2017.
22nd July is few days away from now but there seems to be a lull in the political activities of different political parties. The PDP and APGA are battling with party crisis; the APC on their own part is also having nocturnal meetings and intense lobbying among the array of aspirants jostling for the party’s ticket.
But a group known as Anambra Consensus Project, ACP has decided to come up with something unique to deepen the political conversation ahead of official campaigns and debates.
Anambra Consensus Project, Daily Sun gathered, is a non-governmental organization that strives to create tight associations and relationships amongst the people of Anambra and Anambra residents in bringing relevant issues before the people for awareness, with a view to making them understand the dynamics of the issues so as to guide them in decision making.
According to the organizers, the Project was motivated by five major objectives namely –Recognitions and Encouragement, Fostering Close Relationships, Creating Developmental Direction, Search for Qualitative Leaders and Creating Statewide and International Interaction.
Before delving into the political arena, the group had months back beamed their searchlight on 57 major markets in the state and decided to give the traders a giant leap to link up with the outside world.
Right now, the group recently commenced weekly face-to-face interactive sessions with all the governorship aspirants in the state.
President of the group, a medical doctor and Prince of the Ukpo Royal Dynasty, Dunukofia LGA, Dr. Emeka Eze, said the essence of the interaction was to keep the political environment lively in the state , and to provide an avenue where all the aspirants could be properly scrutinized by the people.
Eze noted that even in the United States of America, all political aspirants to elective positions are well acquainted with the electorate ahead of primary elections where the final candidates for elections are selected for elections.
He noted that even the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano would be invited to the forum while the electorate would have the ultimate choice to decide whether there was need for change of baton or continuity in Anambra.
The Project, he noted has set up an 11-man committee that would screen the governorship aspirants from various political parties in the state after participating in the on-going face- to- face interactions.
Dr. Eze further said the aim of the interaction was to identify the most qualified aspirant that would represent the interest of the people and provide democracy dividends to the people when elected, adding that emphasis would be based on their manifestoes.
“We don’t have any aspirant in mind now. Our screening committee will tell us who has a clearer and robust manifesto that the group will support.
Whoever tops the chart and secure the ticket of his or her party will be the next Anambra governor through our effort. Our interest is for the Igbo people in Anambra to have a united front. So, it is a project we must conquer and surmount,” Dr. Eze, added.