By James Eze ([email protected])
The opposition camp in Anambra State was in shock yesterday as images of Governor Willie Obiano’s colourful procession to the party’s headquarters in Abuja to pick his expression of interest and party nomination form for the November 18, 2017 gubernatorial election were posted on the social media.
Although he is still in the mourning mood following the Ozubulu church massacre on Sunday, the governor’s numerous followers trooped out with cheerfulness to give him a rousing welcome.
Expectedly, the opposition reacted to the show of strength demonstrated by the party loyalist, making it clear that Anambra cannot be won by any other party at for now. It was in a bid to prove that it has a grip of the state that the party hierarchy stormed Abuja yesterday. Precisely, it was to show how ready the governor’s platform is for the contest.
The thinking was that it was important to demonstrate how well organised the party is and its capacity to forge a common front. APGA has been enmeshed in a seething crisis that has created the fear of disunity in recent times. Many observers of the court drama that has played out for weeks now are not aware that the conflict is between only three disgruntled members of the party on the one hand and the rest of the organization on the other hand. Indeed, what is playing out was induced by Fifth columnists whose objective is to thwart Governor Obiano’s second term bid.
Neither do many people know that APGA is peaceful as ever, united as ever and massively loved in the state as ever. But because it is in the inherent nature of man to believe bad news, many people erroneously believe that the party is troubled. That is a lie. APGA remains solid as ever. The breakaway faction led by Martin Agbaso only exists in courtrooms and on the social media. It has no followers.
The symbolism of Obiano’s triumphant entry into the party head-office cannot be lost on the shadowy strategists who saw in Agbaso, a possible opportunity to stage a judicial coup of sorts in APGA. Obiano’s power entry into the party office great funfair, after putting the dissident camp in confusion with a series of court reliefs is a bold statement proving that Obiano is firmly in charge here.
Egged on by a misguided advise from his financiers, Agbaso had staged a half-hearted takeover of the party head-office in Abuja last week to induce a fleeting panic across the party line. It was a miscalculated move which revealed that the crisis may in fact, have meant nothing more than a show-off by the splinter group. Breaking into the party office without following due process was a blunder which earned Agbaso and his camp bad image before the public. It showed they are lawlessness just as it whittled down the degree of seriousness with which they were hitherto treated by the law enforcement agents and various democratic institutions. Instructively therefore, while the public rating of Agbaso’s camp plunged in public reckoning, Obiano is reaching for the stars.
And here is the reason. Just a day before he picked up the nomination form, a very noteworthy event had taken place in Awka. Anambra youths had gathered under the aegis of the United Anambra Youths Assembly to present a cheque for the sum of N12 million to Governor Obiano as a gesture of their solidarity and support for his second term bid. The youths had urged him to pick up the expression of interest and party nomination form. It was a smart strategic move that sent ripples through the political landscape and forced many aspirants to reconsider their ambition. They reasoned that if Anambra youths could be so decisive in declaring their support for Obiano, who could be against him? Again, with endorsements from the organized labour, town unions, traders associations, women groups, Anambra farmers and the youths, which other constituency was left out in the approval of Obiano as the most popular candidate?
Beside the massive support of the Anambra youths, Obiano is also the clear favourite of the international community. This much was in evidence at the Development Partners Summit which took place in Amawbia last week. The Country Director of the United Nations Dr Edward Karllon and several other representatives of the various development agencies in the country unanimously expressed their satisfaction with the great work that Obiano is doing in Anambra. They assured him of the support of their organizations and expressed the hope that he would be allowed to continue with his impressive performance.
Since these development agencies are not known for doublespeak, it is clear that they would naturally support any effort that would ensure that the governor who they have found competent be allowed to continue in office. In fact, the consensus support and approval that the development partners gave to Obiano last week must have dampened the opposition’s confidence harder than anything else in recent times. It seems the race is over, long before most of the opposition groups could muster courage to fill the nomination form.
From all indication Governor Obiano has effectively commenced his return journey to Amawbia Governor’s Lodge with his impressive outing in Abuja yesterday. Interestingly, the memorable occasion took place on the day he turned 62.
Could this be fate? Time will tell!