By Magnus Onyibe
Unlike President Buhari who made promises that are realizable to the long suffering Anambrarians and he was, therefore, an asset to Nwoye and APC, Jonathan was more or less a baggage on the PDP campaign as he is still deemed to be a negative factor that is partly responsible for the lgbos being left out in the political lurch in the current dispensation.
A more pragmatic approach by the PDP campaign team would have been to keep the former president out of the forefront of its efforts to woo voters because given their unsavory experience, the average lgbo would not consider Jonathan an asset.
That is simply because despite the ex-president’s six years reign, the much sought Onitsha port remained a pipe dream, 2nd Niger bridge is still a work-in-progress and lgbo roads are in deplorable conditions.
In any case, how could Anambra voters have reposed confidence in the former president’s promises, when despite his averment to fix the critically strategic East-west road in the Niger Delta, it has continued to be a mirage, while Port Harcourt airport remains in a state of disrepair and the road to his homestead, Bayelsa, and infrastructure in Yenagoa, the state capital is nothing to write home about.
How would Anambrarians be buoyed by former president Jonathan’s exhortation when he failed to implement the recommendations of a national conference which he organized in 2014 and whose outcome would have corrected most of the sociopolitical imbalances bedeviling Nigerian society?
The thinking of Anambrarians would be that if the ex-president could not help himself when he was holding sway in Aso Rock Villa,how can he be of assistance to them now that he has lost power?
It also did not help that Peter Obi who appears to be in a turf war with the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, seemed to have been on a vendetta going by the ferocity with which he pursued success for the PDP candidate, Oseloka Obaze. Since it is difficult not to have haters, no matter how saintly a person believes he/she is,Obi must have adversaries who might have gladly thrown spanners into the wheel of progress just to spoil things for him.
Obi’s traducers in the state that he governed for eight years and where some aggrieved PDP stalwarts openly demonstrated their resentment that he was supporting a candidate that they considered a stranger and openly threatened to team up with the opposition to ensure that their common foe does not prevail, (it was caught on video) it is not difficult to see why APGA achieved landslide victory with votes that nearly doubled the votes cast for all the other candidates combined.
So, by and large, rather than being assets like President Buhari was to Tony Nwoye, Jonathan and Obi were more of liabilities to PDP and Oseloka Obaze in Anambra State which is obviously why PDP’s fortune embarrassingly dipped.
A poignant indication of the apparent splintering of the PDP in Anambra State is that the APC governorship candidate, Tony Nwoye, and the party’s henchmen,Chris Ngige, and Andy Uba as well as UPP candidate, Osita Chidoka, are ex-PDP members or alumni.
What the scenario above signifies is that the PDP is still very badly dismembered and therefore remains too much in disarray to win elections.
This simply implies that the reconciliation team of the party is yet to succeed in gluing together the fractured party which in 2015 had a great fall off the political leadership wall like Humpty Dumpty.
Arising from the above and in my estimation, it is clear that the lgbos can respond positively to APC stimuli if there is fidelity in the promises of President Buhari to remedy the perceived wrongs that have been done to Ndigbo, especially in the past two and half years of his administration. Nothing suggests to me that APC cannot be another PDP in terms of sphere of influence in its hey day even without the rotation of power principle, which was the attraction of both majority and minority tribes into the PDP fold.
The magic wand that could facilitate and sustain the pending blooming of APC all over Nigeria’s political landscape like green foliage during raining season is the politics of inclusiveness as opposed to exclusiveness which seemed to have been the initial predilection or inclination of Aso Rock during the nascent stage of the ascension of the APC to power.
That, to me, is what can be taken away from Anambra governorship election which l had earlier tagged a referendum of sorts for the APC. What is left now is for the ruling party to institutionalize its apparent change of mindset from being exclusive to being inclusive.
The party can do that by projecting the famous quote by President Buhari in his swearing in speech on May 29, 2015 “ l belong to no one, l belong to everyone”. That remark must stop being a mere slogan but a committed principle of Mr President being implemented and seen to be so.
This is because that mindset is a positive principle or philosophy that resonated with Nigerians nationwide, but which is largely perceived to have been implemented in breach in the past two and half years of Buharism.
In conclusion, as the conventional wisdom dictates, strike the iron while it is hot. Without further ado, President Buhari should find a place for Tony Nwoye in his new cabinet. He is a great mobilizer and former student leader whose potentials as a veritable political asset to APC in the east should be harnessed without further delay.
That action would be in harmony with President Buhari’s intention to enlarge his cabinet and in fulfillment of his promise to inject new blood into his government as well as string the lgbos along in the new journey to nationhood. Such brinksmanship would pull the lgbos off the brink into the mainstream of Nigerian politics, which seems to be the ultimate objective of Mr. President, if my understanding of his speech during his two days tour of Ebonyi and Anambra states, is correct.
Furthermore, such a gesture will affirm the principle of hardwork and reward as well as encourage more lgbos to sign on with the party at the centre and thus brighten the political horizon for the APC in 2019.
I’m convinced that the current momentum of the party’s unfurling good fortune and footprint in lgboland can only be sustained and boosted by another master stroke such as admitting Nwoye into the federal cabinet. That would affirm my take away from Anambra State governorship polls that when APC is losing, it is winning.
Onyibe, a former Commissioner in Delta State, writes from Abuja.