By James Eze [email protected]
Barley two weeks to Anambra Election Day, it is hard to tell the difference between Oseloka Obaze of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Neither has risen above the echo to deliver either a memorable rhetoric or a dramatic rupture that could cause a scare in the camp of the ruling party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Neither has produced more than a few incoherent grunts. Neither has the charisma, the elegance to sway fence-sitters to their side.
And sadly too, neither Nwoye nor Obaze has the oomph. A choice between the two is a choice between six and a half dozen. It leaves you with empty hands!
Outside of Governor Willie Obiano, the only sparkle in this race comes from Osita Chidoka. But he is in the wrong geopolitical zone and in the wrong party. Case closed! Even so, there is a growing feeling that Chidoka carries himself as one who is intensely aware of his good looks and overall effect on the women folk. So, his is a case of “over-do” or “notice-me,” what the Igbo call “onye nlecha.” There’s a silent understanding that political leadership requires more than good looks and cultivated manners. It calls for more grit than glamour. As the Igbo say, “mma nwoke nalu níyi mana mma nwanyi na ebutelu ya okwu.”
Chidoka’s excessive sense of self-worth is, therefore, out of place and out of time. Had Osita not taken himself too seriously, he would have realised that his candidature is rather absurd. Osita is from Anambra Central. The auguries favour only candidates from Anambra North at the moment. This is clearly understood. His resolve to forge ahead with his ambition, which everyone knows would crash, gives him away as attention seeker.
In reality, of all the candidates lining out against Obiano, Obaze cuts the most pathetic picture. After all the lavish praises heaped on him by his godfather’s spinners, he has become a captive of his own inordinate ambition. He is never heard at campaign rallies. It is not even certain that the rallies are his or a thinly disguised effort to shore up the flagging glory of his godfather.
Obaze’s comments do not make the headlines. No quotable quote is credited to him. No sparkling slab of thought. He is not even allowed to fashion out his own economic blueprint. He was forced to accept his godfather’s primitive ANIDS as his panacea for the problems of the state. Obaze is everything that a gubernatorial candidate should never be. His godfather has totally eclipsed him. Sadly, two weeks to Election Day, he has shown no signs of emerging from the thick shadow of Peter Obi. This has hardened the impression that he is a mere puppet on a string… Obi’s 3rd Term shadow!
If Obaze is pathetic, Tony Nwoye is tragic. He wears this strange honour of being one of the few medical students who began the study of medicine in a prestigious school and then abruptly ended it in a backwater college. This leaves many gaps that only Nwoye can fill in. Again, while medical students are rarely involved in politics or activism due to the discipline in pursuing a medical degree, Nwoye was a stormy petrel in his college days with fingers in every pie. And though Nwoye has made good and spruced himself up to become a federal lawmaker; he is reputed to be one of the mutest lawmakers in the lower legislative chamber; making little impression on any of his colleagues. Nwoye appears content with making up the number.
It is, therefore, not surprising that Nwoye has had a most uneventful race to the Government House in Awka. As a candidate who fancies himself a representative of the youth, Nwoye has yet to articulate the dilemma of the Nigerian youth in a gerontocracy like Nigeria. Indeed, how can he? Nwoye is seriously handicapped. When some less critical Nigerians were waiting to hear a new political language from a supposedly youthful candidate, Nwoye came out sounding like a dinosaur. He opened his campaign by calling Obiano a thief. If that is his strategy, it is a bad one. Many people dismissed him with a wave of the hand after that goof. They concluded that he had nothing to offer.
What emerges from the above analysis is the imposing image of Obiano. It is crystal clear that Obiano’s immense personage looms over the Anambra horizon with the sound of victory echoing in the distance. What will not escape anyone who has followed Obiano’s first term in office is the fact that he started campaigning for his return early. In fact, much of the foundation for the success of Obiano, as we know it today, was laid during his First 100 days in office. It is to his credit that none of the people challenging him has any clearly communicated vision and mission for Anambra State. Worse still, when people expected Obaze to come up with a robust economic blueprint, he brandished Obi’s discredited ANIDS as his magic wand for Anambra State. Similarly, Nwoye has no economic plan whatsoever.
From all indication, the next governor of Anambra State is already known to anyone with any ability to see. It is so clear that no one can miss it.