For Anambra 2018 governorship election, the compass points north
Except a big surprise is swung in an unlikely victory of the UPP in the November governorship election in Anambra State, the northern senatorial district looks good to retain the top seat as the candidates of the big three, PDP, APC and APGA are all from the area.
Ahead of the primaries of the major political parties in the November 18 Anambra governorship election that was concluded recently, aspirants, party chieftains and supporters have argued that there was nothing like zoning of the seat to a particular zone in the state.
While aspirants from the Anambra South zone were of the opinion that even though, the idea of zoning was never written, discussed or agreed upon by stakeholders in the state, it was the turn of the South to produce the next governor. They hinged their argument on the premise that their son, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, was in the office as governor of the state for one term of four years only and was denied second term in office by the electorate who voted him out in 2003.
They that because the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano who hails from Anambra North is about to complete one term of four years, it is better and in the interest of justice, for power to return to the South for another four years, before it goes back to the North.
Of course, the argument that didn’t go down well with the aspirants and political gladiators from North who also insisted that it is better the North is allowed to produce the governor for another four years before power could return to the South again.
While these arguments, counter arguments, denials and pontifications were going on, the people and aspirants from Anambra Central that has produced the duo of Dr. Chris Ngige and Mr. Peter Obi as governors of the state for eleven years remained silent. But former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, who clinched the governorship ticket of United Peoples Party (UPP) for the election and hails from the Central zone, has consistently said that there was nothing like zoning arrangement in the state.
Many believed that the seeming silence from the Central zone was not unconnected with the reality of the arguments between the people of the North and South zones although Ngige, now Minister of Labour, who hails from the zone, had stated before his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election that he would only contest if the presidency asked him to do so. But neither the presidency nor the APC leadership asked him to contest.
The presidency and the party leadership might have considered that asking Ngige to do so may be counter-productive, against the backdrop that Ngige is from the central, a zone that preponderance of opinion does not support.
Despite all these obvious political exigencies and permutations, many of the aspirants, especially from the South went into the primaries with high hope of clinching the tickets. Alas, the parties’ primaries for the election have been settled and the candidates who emerged from the major political parties in the race- All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC are all from Anambra North zone.
With this development, it is now clear that even though, there was no formal or informal agreement among major stakeholders in the state that governorship seat will be rotating among the three senatorial zones, it is implied that it will be so. But some are of the view that this can only be sustained and adhered to if Obiano wins his second term.
There are fears that if another candidate from the North wins the election, such a person may insist on seeking a second term which is his constitutional right. Definitely nobody will stop him and if he goes ahead to win second term, it means that the North may retain power for 12 years instead of eight years that is being envisaged now. Others believe that when the people of Anambra get to the bridge, they will know how to cross it.
While it was obvious before the APGA primary that the party will hand over the ticket to the incumbent governor, Obiano, who hails from the North, it was not certain where APC and PDP candidates would emerge. This is considering the array of aspirants in the party from the North and South zones.
Obiano, former banker and Obi’s estranged political godson, is from Anambra North and his Deputy where Ngige, former APGA chairman Victor Umeh and Obi hail from. Umeh, who has fallen apart with Obi, is the director-general of Obiano Campaign Organisation.
To the surprise of many, Comrade Tony Nwoye, a member Anambra East and West Constituency in the House of Reps representing emerged victorious in the APC primary. He defeated bigwigs like Senator Andy Uba, his estranged political godfather from Anambra South. Other aspirants from Anambra South who suffered defeat from Nwoye include Barth Nwibe and George Moghalu.
Nwoye just like Obiano is from Anambra North zone. He was former president of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). It was from there that he was brought to political limelight by the Uba family at the peak of the political crisis between Chief Chris Uba and Dr. Chris Ngige in 2003. He later became the Anambra State PDP chairman.
In 2013, he was PDP governorship candidate in Anambra after defeating the likes of Andy Uba, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu and others in a protracted legal tussle. In 2015, he won a House of Representatives seat on PDP platform and defected to APC late last year.
His victory in the primary came to many as a great surprise considering that it was not long he defected to APC. But just as it is with Nigerian politics, anything and everything is possible if the player knows how to play the game.
In the PDP, the outcome was not different as Chief Oseloka Obaze, former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) during Peter Obi’s administration emerged victorious. Obaze hails from Ogbaru Council Area in the Anambra North zone. Obaze also served briefly as SSG to Governor Willie Obiano before resigning after Obi and Obiano fell apart.
Obaze studied Political Science and International Relations and holds a Master of Arts in Political Science (M.A.) from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE (1980); and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science (B.S.) from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE (1979).
Some may say that it is too early to predict what will be the outcome of the election, but what is certain is that it is going be a three-horse race between APGA, APC and PDP and it is going to be a contest of three brothers from Anambra North, who are Catholics by faith. So head or tail, the zone still holds the ace to Anambra Government House at Agu-Awka come November 18.