THEO RAYS reviews the just-concluded Anambra-State governorship election and explains why the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano secured a second term with a landslide.
With the declaration of the winnerby the Chief Returning Officer, Professor ZanaAkpagu of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),at about 7.30pm on Sunday, a formal closure was brought to the keenly contested Anambra State government election, which held throughout the state last Saturday, November 18.
Announcing the results, Professor Akpagu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, saidincumbent Governor Willie Obiano won the election with 234, 071 votes to beat other contestants and clinch a second four-year term as governor of Anambra State.
To political watchers, the victory of the incumbent governor didn’t come as a surprise as there were many factors that worked in his favour at the polls.
According to analysts, the factors that worked in Obiano’sfavour include his party APGA, which has been in power for 11 years in the State, the legacies of the lateBiafran leader Dim ChukwuemekaOdumegwuOjukwu who is regarded as the leader of APGA, the interest of the people in zoning and his impact on security of lives and property in the State.
Prior to the election, relevant stakeholders such as the traditional rulers and other community leaders, town unions, women leaders, market leaders, church leaders and notable businessmen had indicated their support for Obiano’s re-election following his impact on security of lives and property in the State.
They believed that Obiano’s second term would see him consolidate on adequate security of lives and property in the State.
A wealthy businessman and industrialist from Anambra Central Senatorial District, who did not want his name in printtold The Oracle Today that he, along with his family members and workers,would vote for Obiano because he drove away kidnappers and armed robbers from the State.
“I will vote for Obiano along with everybody around me, my children and my workers, if not for any other reason but Security,” he added
These stakeholders who are traditionally the king makers in the State, considering their influence on the affairs of the people gave further reasons for supporting Obiano to include the survival of APGA as a political party to protect the interest of Ndigbo as, according to them, “APGA would be as bad as a dead party if Obiano loses the election”.
They were also of the view that the victory of either APC or PDP would bear negative impact on the legacies of the late Igbo leader ChukwuemekaOdumegwuOjukwu.
At a rally organised by traders in the State under the umbrella of Amalgamated Market Traders Association of Anambra State (AMATAS) inside the football pitch at ChubaIkpeazu Stadium in Onitsha, the traders led by Chief OkwudiliEzenwankwo made it clear that one of the reasons why they wanted to return Obianowas to make sure that APGA, regarded as one of the political legacies of the late Igbo leader IkembaNnewi,OdumegwuOjukwu remains alive and kicking.
“We cannot fold our hands and allow the political party left for us by our leader suffer defeat and possible death in the hands of other political parties that have failed to protect our interest,” Ezenwankwo said.
Another point on which stakeholders hung their support is zoning. They argued contentiously that zoning would certainly take a balanced shape if Obiano is allowed to complete a second term for Anambra North Senatorial District because bringing in a fresh person from Anambra North, who might be interested to rule for eight years in addition to four years already spent by Obiano is not good for zoning in the State.
It was reported before the election that key stakeholders of Anambra North and Anambra South Senatorial District reached agreement that the South would support Obiano’s second term so that when his second tenure expires, the governorship seat would go to the South. The said agreement facilitated the victory of Obiano in major parts of the South such as Aguata, Orumba North and South as well as Nnewi North and South Local Government Areas.
A chieftain of APGA in Aguata, who is also the Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Market Affairs, Chef Emma Ozoemena told The Oracle Today before the election that the people of Old Aguata, comprising three local government areas namelyAguata, Orumba North and South respectively threw their weight behind Obiano’s second tenure because it is clearly the turn of Anambra South to produce the governor after the north, based on the fact that the Central has taken its turn through two former Governors: Peter Obi and Chris Ngige who served for eight years and three years respectively.
Besides the aforementioned factors, there were more factors that worked in favour of Obiano. First was the failure of the leaders of the PDP to resolve the crisis that characterised the primary election of the party ahead of the election. Notable chieftains of the party alleged gross irregularities in the process through which Obaze was elected as the flag bearer of the party and efforts to make them put aside their grievances and support Obaze failed.
They alleged that Obaze was imposed on them and consequently absconded from PDP and threw their weight behind Obiano. Among those includeChiefIfeanyiUbah, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Senator Stella Oduah, former State Chairman of the party Prince Ken Emeakai, Prince John Emeka and many others. IfeanyiUba and Ukachukwu openly campaigned for Obiano’s re-election in NnewiNorth and South respectively.
Secondly, there were rumours that Obiano’s main challengers such as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Hon. Tony Nwoye and that of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Henry OselokaObaze suffered from unresolved intra-party squabbles orchestrated by personal interests of party leaders in the 2019 general election.
A competent source confided inThe Oracle Today that an APC sitting governor, among other chieftains of the party, who are interested in running for Vice President in 2019, vowed not to see the victory of Nwoye at the polls as, according to them, a governor Nwoye might drag the Vice President position with them and even beat them to it considering the fact that he defeated the almighty Senator Andy Uba to clinch the APC ticket for the Anambra Poll.
According to the source, the governor and the chieftains of the party who have set their eyes on Vice President in 2019 ensured that Nwoye didn’t receive adequate financial support from APC bigwigs, including governors on the platform of the party who came twice to campaign for him both in Onitsha during his campaign flag-off and in Awka the State capital during his campaign grand finale.
In PDP it was also reported that the same force of 2019 interest worked against the candidate of the party Mr Henry OselokaObaze. A source from the PDP close to The Oracle Today revealed that a leading figure in PDP who is also interested in Vice President in 2019 vowed to block Obaze from entering Government House in Awka because it will give his rival from Anambra an upper hand in 2019.
According the source, the PDP leading figure was duly invited to attend both Obaze’s campaign flag-off in Onitsha and the grand finale also held in Onitsha but he didn’t attend any. And not only that he didn’t attend, he made sure that the governor of his State and some other chieftains of the party neither attended nor supported Obaze in any form. That is politics for you.
With his victory Obiano remains the Chief Executive Officer of Anambra till 2023.