Willie Obiano’s rough ride to re-election

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By DESMOND EKWUEME

First, some highlights or some assumptions about the on-going re-election campaigns of the Obiano camp.

● Governor losing ground in campaigns

● Distracted by cold war with peter obi

● Paying too much attention on n7.5bn claim

● It’s becoming a-four horse race

● Alignment to oust Obiano in the offing

●Nwoye, Obaze, Chidoka in secret talks

The history of governors seeking re-election in our clime has always been a tale of smooth ride back to power as they use the famous “power of incumbency” to muscle their way to second term. Just in a few cases or occasions have we witnessed upsets.

Oyo State waited until the coming of Abiola Ajimobi or do we say the demise of political maverick, the Late Alhaji Chief Lamidi Adedibu to change her course of history as far as governorship election in the state is concerned. The tradition has always been that no governor does a second term, not even the late Chief Bola Ige, the Cicero of Agodi, could.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso suffered a shocking defeat in Kano when his former Commissioner, Ibrahim Shekarau defeated him. Ndi Imo voted Ikedi Ohakim out when he sought r-election, and stood solidly behind Owelle Rochas Okorocha.In Edo, Adams Oshiomhole ousted Oserhiemen Osunbor even as the latter had spent about a year in office before the Appeal Court stopped his administration and in Ekiti, Ayo Fayose swept aside KayodeFayemi who also sent Segun Oni packing.These, among others, are a few records of new comers dislodging second term seekers.

Aside these, sitting governors have always enjoyed a stroll to second term. They hardly break any sweat to “repeat class”–apologies Babatunde Raji Fashola. But the recent developments leading to the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra State are clear indications that it may not be that easy for incumbent governor, Willie Obiano despite the fact that majority of Ndi Anambra opine that he did well in his first term to deserve a second.

The open support by Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnanyelugo Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe as suggested by the body language of the Royal Father when one of the candidates, Osita Chidoka, a former Aviation Minister paid him a visit in his palace, has kept tongues wagging over the chances of Obiano winning the November poll.

Again, the latest story that the governor has been continuously chased out of campaign grounds in Orumba by youths who claim that the governor does not deserve their votes since he did nothing for them in the last four years, is worrisome to his team. Though, the governor’s media team says the irate youths were rented by his political opponents, close observers suggest that IPOB members were responsible for this action. In all, it points to the fact that Obiano may not be riding smoothly in his re-election agenda.

There is also the claim that Obiano’s major opponents may be plotting a major “coup” by aligning to convince their followers across the state to queue behind a particular candidate just to unseat Obiano. Added to this is the cold war between Obiano and his predecessor, Peter Obi who is on ground working “against” Obiano and seems bent on ensuring he does not get re-elected.

The dirty story of N7. 5bn allegedly requested by Obi as settlement for installing Obiano about four years ago, which has gone messier as both sides try to outwit the other via claims, accusations and counterclaims, is not helping Obiano since he seems distracted and is paying too much attention to Obi’s war rather than dealing with the real election issues. His team is worried that His Excellency has allowed the mind game to eat deep into his campaign and re-election bid as he continues to expend too much energy on the needless war, thus affecting the real battle.

An analyst sums it this way: “Obiano has allowed his drama with Peter Obi to make him look like the young antelope who dances herself lame before the real dance starts. He has spent so much energy and time fighting a needless war with Obi (who actually came at this point to distract him in a strong political strategy) when the major battle is ahead.”

The campaigns in the last one week have been fierce as Obiano’s three major opponents Oseloka Obaze of PDP, Tony Nwoye of APC and Osita Chidoka of UPP have continued to speak almost with one voice rubbishing the perceived achievements of the governor. The pattern of the trio’s campaigns, according to experts, suggests that their secret talk is yielding fruit.

“The three major opponents of His Excellency are in secret talks. There could be a last minute team up to come up with a common candidate. Though all three would still contest, their members will be told to vote for one of the three. If this works out, the governor may not find it easy come November 18”, says a top government official.

What does that mean? It means that, for Governor Obiano, the time to dwell on real issues and focus less on Peter Obi is now. He has to make his campaign more credible than it is at the moment. His Excellency must know that this re-election isn’t exactly an easy street for him.

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