Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
History was again be made this weekend when the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)-led government under the leadership of Governor Willie Obiano, will take another oath of office to begin a new era in piloting affairs of Anambra State.
APGA had outlandishly outsmarted 37 other political parties to poll an unprecedented victory in the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election, clearing all the 21 councils to retain power in the state.
The new oath of office will mark the beginning of an era of matching expectations with actions in line with APGA’s manifesto. The government will be expected to keep to its campaign promises. And considering the track records of achievements of the APGA-led government in the last 12 years and in line with the governor’s clear vision and pact with Ndi Anambra, Chief Victor Oye, the party’s national chairman say, the people of the state have nothing to worry, as government would meet their yearnings and expectations.
It is a new beginning that would ensure that the indigenes of the state hold the APGA-led government accountable for the promises of building an international airport in the next three years and other capital projects.
Expectedly, legacies like construction of more community link roads and prompt payment of contractors, payment civil servants’ salaries, pensions and gratuity are expected to still remain the priorities of the APGA-led government.
APGA’s challenging battles
Before last year’s governorship election, APGA had fought and won many threatening challenges ranging from the fierce hostilities from the immediate past governor, Peter Obi to the numerous litigations and counter litigations over the authentic leadership of the party.
While Obi backed his former Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Obaze Oseloka of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest against the Obiano-led APGA, the Martin Agbaso faction of the APGA came close to scuttling Governor Obiano’s second term ambition.
But, crisis is not strange to the party especially after subduing the most menacing one which hinged on the misunderstanding between the founder of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie and the longest serving party chairman, Senator Victor Umeh which lasted in court for several years.
Perhaps, a combination of Senator Umeh’s doggedness and what the party represents in the minds of Ndi Anambra did not only propel it to subdue the internal wrangling and bitterness, but also repositioned it to tackle the litany of challenges and made an inroad into winning a governorship seat in Imo State, in 2011.
Undoubtedly, APGA appears to have built itself into a brand particularly in Anambra and South East by extension. To say the least, APGA has now assumed the enviable position of a traditional party in the state.
Under APGA, Anambra broke away from the stagnating shackles of godfatherism and recorded giant strides in development in many areas, transformation and provision of democratic dividends.
Comparatively, APGA has produced governors that performed. Every indigene of the state believes strongly that while Peter Obi worked and transformed the state in his two term tenure of eight years, Obiano has equally met the expectations of Ndi Anambra during his four-year first tenure.
With another four years under APGA that will bring its reign in the state to 16 unbroken years, there would certainly be heightened expectations in other areas of development.
Real reasons APGA remains toast of Anambra
In the entire South East Nigeria, though debatable, Anambra parades Igbo with the proudest of their ancestral heritage. Brands like literary guru, Chinua Achebe and warlord Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu have remained irresistible.
Therefore, associating Ojukwu with a political party like the APGA, even in death, has remained the winning secret for APGA, perhaps because Ndi Anambra may not want to offend the spirit of their beloved son, it was gathered.
For them, APGA –their heritage, cannot be allowed to die. This sentiment therefore positions anyone running on the platform of APGA at a vantage position of victory.
Death of godfatherism
For Ndi Anambra, the harrowing experiences of the former governor, Chinwoke Nbadinuju and the needless abduction of former governor, Dr. Chris Ngige were enough reason to align and stick with a party devoid of the usual overbearing influences of the godfathers.
Little wonder the cataclysmic decision of Peter Obi to abandon the party after a slightest disagreement with his successor was seen as betrayal of the love the people of the state had for him. To every proud Anambra folk, APGA should be bigger than anybody. They are therefore ready to do everything within their powers to checkmate any trace or return of godfathers in the Anambra politics.
Perhaps, in the All Progressives Congress (APC), they saw godfathers in the backers of its candidate just as they saw the return of godfatherism in Peter Obi giving his full support to the PDP candidate. For them, APGA remains the party to trust.
Matching salary payment expectations
If there is any area APGA has won the heart of Ndi Anambra, meeting up financial obligation especially in the payment of workers’ salaries regularly has been outstanding. APGA has received a resounding endorsement in that area starting from the administration of Peter Obi to the present regime of Obiano. For Ndi Anambra, the bitter memories of owing workers for years during regime of other political parties were enough to support the continuation of APGA.
Believe it or not, one of the party faithful say, prompt salary payment is the biggest issue to determine the fate of any governor seeking re-election. Therefore, for Anambra State civil servants; the “fear of salary indebtedness was enough assurance to remain with APGA. So long as their salaries are guaranteed under APGA, other parties are mere pretenders,” the APGA chieftain added.
The daunting tasks before the Obiano-led APGA
In line with the several campaign promises made during the last governorship election, the daunting task before the APGA-led government is colossal. With doubts on the claims for project implementations, the Governor Obiano-led APGA government would have their hands full to match the expectations of the people with actions. Evaluating the humongous task ahead of him, Governor Obiano read riot act to Ndi Anambra that anybody who doesn’t want to comply with the new revolution should either take a bow or be forced out.
“Any commissioner, special adviser or civil servant involved in any act of fraud or corruption in Anambra State will automatically be dismissed. Also, any government official found to be involved in any shady deal aimed at corrupt enrichment or diversion of public funds will be shown the way out of the Anambra State government.
“There must be a sense of commitment and seriousness in all public servants in the state who want to be part of the new revolution that will be introduced in the state to serve the people of the state better.
“There will be checks and balances in every aspect of government business now and all loopholes must be completely plugged to checkmate the activities of those who have, in the past, been sabotaging the efforts of the government to give qualitative service to the people of Anambra State. I advise anyone who will not cope with the new order in the emerging dispensation to take a bow or be forced out,” he warned.
For the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye, who has remained the driving force for the new APGA, the re-election of the party in Anambra and its victory at the Anambra Central senatorial rerun election were collective triumph for all Igbo from all walks of life that supported it directly or indirectly.
His words: “Every community in Anambra state has 20 million projects in the 108 of them. By this year, it will increase to 40 million which means that by the time Obiano leaves office in 2022, every community in Anambra would have benefitted in 200 million projects. It has never happened anywhere in Nigeria.
“This is what we call crystallization of development. What the party is doing here is called grassroots development because we have now taken development to the people. Imagine where all the communities around us would benefit in N200 million worth of project, Anambra would be a different place all together in another five years. Don’t forget in the next three years Obiano will give us an airport,” Oye said.