The Oasis Reporters
Saturday October 21, 2017
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would out of necessity be holding more meetings with the political parties leadership ahead of the November 18 Anambra state governorship election to brief all critical stakeholders on key activities before the D-day after it’s first round on Friday September 29.
Anambra State is in Nigeria’s South East.
When the class of gubernatorial hopefuls are summoned by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), the room would be packed full as the candidates are a whopping 37, 5 women amongst them, all eager to occupy the Governor’s Lodge in Awka.
However, some of them simply want to make a dry run while using the experience garnered to hope for a better race in 2021.
Some want to split the chances of others and to punish their foes by making them lose.
The REC will know his class. But he may not know about the other room, where the political movers and secret shakers are, humming the hit tune, “ana ee nwe obodo enwe” (every town has it’s controlling forces or owners) by Oliver de Coque who composed it for The Social Club Of Nigeria in Onitsha in celebration of the emerging nouveau riche amongst the Onitsha market traders after the Civil War devastation which reduced Anambra people and by extension, the Igbo tribe to paupers.
But today, Anambra markets cash vaults service the cash needs of banks in the south east, south south, parts of the south west and parts of the north central whose bullion vans race to Onitsha to load money all the time.
The power movers and shakers have candidates to prop and candidates to pull down because they have scores to settle, and some of the candidates are not sleeping easy.
One of the candidates is Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor, with his deputy Nkemakonam Okeke, vying under the flag of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Eighty-five percent of the campaigns are not issue based, reduced to the removal of the incumbent governor from the seat of power and this is exemplified by the APC campaign on 20 October, 2017.
The speeches were centered on removing, with less on practical policies to better the Anambra condition beyond tired cliches and slogans.
The former governor of the state, the man who rescued the pride of the Anambra people by snatching their victory from the jaws of then PDP riggers and election underwriters back to them, Mr. Peter Obi has reasons to show Willie Obiano that he has a good and very long memory, a man he took from Anambra north and made governor and successor.
Obiano turned round to run Obi out of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA.
Obi licked his wounds and consoled himself by joining his erstwhile traducers who had previously vowed to make things rough for him.
Yet he dominated and became a strong man in it, by single handedly choosing Oseloka Obaze as governorship candidate, a man from the same Anambra north with Willie Obiano.
This then had the twin advantage of reassuring the Northern zone that he’s still faithful to them, but at the same time, showing them a more credible candidate, compared to their Obiano.
The long range shot of the bullet would half Obiano’s votes and make him lose on home ground first, before coming outside.
Stella Oduah made her bones in the PDP when as the head of President Jonathan’s door2door, neighbor2neighbor campaign, she helped Jonathan win and was rewarded with the position of Aviation Minister where she made her mark for ndigbo by breaking the post civil war embedded discrimination against the Igbo nation from having an international airport.
With Jonathan’s support, she railroaded one at the Enugu airport and wrote her name in gold.
Breaking that jinx made her a hated woman amongst the South west and north west’s aviation mafia, and they made sure she was blackmailed out of the Federal cabinet.
A foundation member of the PDP, she felt frustrated and angered that Peter Obi came in from APGA and succeeded in forcing her Ogbaru kinsman, Oseloka Obaze as governorship candidate, over her PDP six year sweat in the workshop.
Then toss in the gait of gender discrimination against her for good meesure, Stella had just about had more than enough.
Stella Oduah rallied against gender discrimination and imposition of candidates, then withdrew angrily.
It won’t be in her enlightened self interest to let Oseloka who is little known in Nigeria having lived in the United States as a career UN civil servant for much of his educational and career life.
If Obaze loses, she she will train her sight on 2021, so she’d better support someone else she can hopefully struggle against then.
Therefore Obaze is set to lose some ground in Ogbaru and Anambra north.
She’s very strong on ground there.
Prince Angus Chuma Ojukwu
Prince Angus Chuma Ojukwu is the Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) candidate from Awka Etiti.
Prince Ojukwu is not necessarily running to win, so to speak, but he’s in the race to ensure that Obiano gets no votes in the influential Awka district.
He’s angered by Obiano’ s lack of distinction in leadership and his betrayal of all the power houses that made him governor including his chief benefactor, ex – governor Peter Obi, whom he chased out of his own party, so as to become a star.
Unfortunately, Obiano’s light was dull.
The multi billionaire Petroleum magnate, Ifeanyi Ubah from the influential town of Nnewi who has invested so much into the PDP’s kitty was denied his day during the party’s primary election to choose a candidate.
Peter Obi who ought to be against the imposition of candidates turned around to force a consensus candidate on them all as a way of furthering his personal agenda of teaching Obiano some lessons on paydirt and political payback. Ifeanyi Ubah would have none of that, and went to court to enforce his fundamental rights and the enforcement of the PDP’s rules on primary elections.
For all his efforts, Obi ensured that Ifeanyi Ubah was suspended from the party activities.
To Chief Ubah, that was a slight gone too far. He will likely back someone else from Anambra Central to make his case in the PDP more compelling in 2021. He’s from Anambra South.
One strange power shaker in the Anambra election is the current minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers state who is adept at ferrying government funds to oil campaigns. The billions he took out of Rivers state coffers was what backed the campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari and he was the campaign Director General.
But this time, the Rivers state till is out of his reach. Still, he has the rich and helpful bowels of the various parastatals under his ministry.
He is backing the APC candidate, Dr. Tony Nwoye who’s campaign rally flagged off at Onitsha yesterday, 20 October, 2017.
Why would he want to dabble into the political affairs of a neighboring State in a different zone?
His party, the APC is desperate to make inroads into the South East that President Buhari dubbed 5% population that he would treat unequally for not joining the north and south west to vote for him in 2015.
He has been joined with them in a war of wits over the avowed intention of the Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB to hold a referendum and break away to form an Independent state of Biafra over perceived injustices to the Igbo people.
The oil rich Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike is the reason his predecessor in office, Rotimi Amaechi took more than a passing interest in the Anambra election.
The current governor, Mr. Wike is very loyal to ex president Jonathan and both of them appreciate the fact that when Peter Obi was pushed out of APGA by Willie Obiano, Obi went to the PDP and resumed as Jonathan’s reelection campaign team Director General in which the South East voted massively for the ex president.
Peter Obi was given a free hand to run the PDP South East, because indeed, he is well loved in the region, for running Anambra state with a lean allocation, yet he returned profit and handed over a debt free economy to Willie Obiano that was growing it’s internal revenue by leaps and bounds.
Nyesom Wike is returning a favor by backing Obi’s chosen candidate, Oseloka Obaze.
Cash is expected to flow to the campaign fund, courtesy of Gov. Wike which has roused the tiger in Amaechi.
But Oseloka, like Tony Nwoye have high hurdles to cross with the numerous perceptions against them and anger engendered by their emergence as party candidates.
If there’s one man who’s desperate to rule Anambra state by all means, it is Andy Uba, estranged elder brother of Chris Uba, a man reputed to have damned the free choice of the Anambra people and wrote an election result for all the parties in his bedroom then used strong arm tactics to compel the electoral commission, INEC into announcing his fake results because his brother, Andy had the ears of then president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Unfortunately for Chris, he overreached himself when he tried to illegally imprison and clobber the ‘governor by fraud’ that he imposed for refusing to sign out about 3 billion naira of state funds illegally, worse, by forcing Dr. Chris Ngige to resign allegedly under violent coercion.
Revulsion at his ill treatment made him spill the beans about the fraud, and the courts moved in to remove him and announce Peter Obi as the lawfully elected governor.
While Obi’s tenure was ongoing, INEC was teleguided into conducting another election after 4 years like other governors and once again, the Uba family was in the news.
Andy had been declared governor with more votes than the number of registered voters in the state.
The Supreme Court would not take it so they granted Peter Obi all his reliefs, Andy Uba was promptly deposed for Obi to complete his tenure.
While all that was ongoing, Andy’s chosen henchman and PDP Chairman in Anambra state, Tony Nwoye had it smooth going with Andy. When PDP got too hot for them, they switched camp and took over the APC.
Tony upstaged Andy to emerge the APC governorship candidate, which was like a dagger to his ambition. He threw allegations of using thuggery to win, a tactic they often used while they were buddies in the PDP.
Andy has severed ties with Nwoye, and Andy Uba is not likely to consider his new party on this. Nwoye is unforgiven.
The last but not the least of ‘behind the scene’ power shakers in Anambra state is Dr. Chris Ngige.
He it was that was fraudulently installed as governor of the state by the Uba brothers but when he refused to play the ball of stealing more than his state could absorb, they kidnapped him, beat and locked him up in a toilet while his purported resignation letter was announced in the media.
Shamed and angered but still in trauma, he made a secret phone call out from the toilet to save his life and call for help.
Rescued by then Vice president Atiku’s intervention, he told his bitter story and the courts removed him because he openly admitted that he was rigged into office.
He quit the PDP to emerge senator under the APC. Before long, the juggernauts that gave him shame and dishonor came to join him in the APC.
Ngige is dubbed the APC leader in the south east, but the man still gets shivers each time he sees his traducers at the party headquarters and at other functions.
It is obvious that he smiles at Nwoye and Uba, but it’s almost certain that he is not amused.
By word of lips, yes, he may support Nwoye publicly, but behind the scenes deals show that dining with the crocodiles may not be his favorite eating style.
Is his body language speaking volumes to his supporters?
Anambra people do not forget easily.
The candidates without the albatross of godfathers will carry the day, all things being equal on November 18, 2017.