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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Anambra 2014: Before PDP Fields Three Candidates – By Obi Ogadi



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Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a possible gubernatorial aspirant under the PDP
Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, a possible gubernatorial aspirant under the PDP

Interesting times are here again. It is a period when real and fly-by-night politicians mount the podium to propound real development paths; channel serious messages for keeps; display distorted understanding of history, if not rewrite it; entertain; ridicule the electorate’s sense of judgment; and finally justify the expenditure of their sponsors’ money.
Anambra State particularly typifies of all these numbers owing to the share number of aspirants that partake in the governorship race, or indeed any other office in the state each election year.
Please do not misunderstand the point; this writer stands up in defence of the number of aspirants seeking nomination, and eventually election year in as governor of Anambra State ,ach election year. It is a testimony on the extent of democratic practice in the state. By its nature and the culture of its inhabitants, Anambra State embodies the trait of egalitarianism. So it is natural for its people to engage in healthy competitions in various endeavours of life-from academic pursuits, through business, to philanthropy. Politics is not an exception.
The fact that all who are interested come out on each election year and the people begin the weeding process from public discourses through party primaries to the actual voting gives people the chance to drop from the race and support alternative candidates. Or as is often the case decamp from their parties to other platforms and still stand elections. This grade of roving candidates may score 10 votes or less in the whole from the state and it does not matter. At least the system has separated the pretenders from the contenders without hangovers that persist when people are prevented from aspiring.
History of recent elections in the state has left a negative image for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the biggest house of potential decampees to other platforms for election into positions of governor and of course the greatest receivers of returnees to the party after elections without penalties. Instead roulette settles where it took off from for the sharing of appointive positions and the beat goes on, till yet another elections.APGA is joining this chorus of perfidy too. I hope no party else does.
But times do not stand still, and Ndi Anambra are confessing tiredness about politicians without fixed addresses. Many politicians in the state really have no party per se. To justify their ‘prostitution’ in the vocation, you will hear things like,’ we are looking at personality and not party’. Some will tell you that ‘opposition politics is no longer in vogue’. And yet others will tell you that ‘what matters is for you to bring ‘’democracy dividend’’ wherever you are.’
It is this attitude that makes mere differences between individuals in a political party hang thick, difficult to resolve and foisting avoidable tension on the state. Yet the protagonist who should be embarrassed or ashamed defend it, though tongue-in-cheek. Why? There is a system error that confers undue advantage on the promoters of this anomaly.
Alex Obiogbolu medical doctor and aspirant on the platform of the PDP was once asked in an interview with a monthly magazine how he expected to sail through to governorship ticket in a party broken into five factions. As reported by The Pitch, Obiogbolu took a deep breathe and said the reason PDP is made up of many factions is the strength of the personalities therein and the fact that they have their own views about how things should be done. Obiogbolu has not explained how he plans to turn his aspiration into candidature despite the factions, nor otherwise addressed the thrust of the question. His real answer lies beneath.
Nnamdi Uba, popularly called Andy Uba would rather work hard as if only the PDP exists for him, but prepare alternative structures in the Labour Party as if the PDP does not exist. That way he is sue to contest the upcoming elections. Uba was prepared to become a governor through the court in claim of the strange tile Governor-in-Waiting IN 2010, until political activism saved Anambra. That was the second time after Uba arranged to exclude formidable candidates through his Abuja lobby and massively rigged the 2007 elections to be sworn in as governor, only to be sacked after 17 days by Peter Obi’s tenure case whch ruled that elections ought not to have held in Anambra State’
Quiet and unassuming Obinna Uzor was to replace Dr Chris Ngige as candidate of the party for the projected re-run elections following the ruling of the election court in 2006. But a judicial coup arranged by the PDP itself against one of their own that year meant that rerun was no longer necessary as Obi who asked the curt for a re-run, got the governorship seat though PDP and the rest is history. Uzor is back and sees Andy Uba as his greatest t opponent, and the lobby, not campaign is on. ‘PDP does not hold primaries; they award tickets’ said a member of the factionalised party from Njikoka recently.
Only recently, Mr Mike Okoye, known more for being lawyer than a politician or public servant was confronted with the question of his party being fractionalised.’ One thing I can tell you is that PDP today, especially for Anambra State, whoever amongst us aspirants emerges; we all will step down and follow that person’ i.okoye said. But it sounds like side-stepping the issue because it takes a unified structure for a candidate to emerge without rancour. Besides, Okoye believes he is the candidate of choice because he comes from Anambra North which, according to him ‘has a bloc vote’. Suppose the candidate emerges from Anambra South or Central? The grounds are fertile for fractures that Okoye is either not seeing or is no prepared to own up now.
Nze Akachukwu Nwankpo assumes that having been the personal assistant to Deputy Governor Goodluck Jonathan and now serving him in virtually the same capacity in Abuja as president, he would bull doze his way through other entrenched interests, whether in reality Anambra State would just be meeting him now or not. Already tis assumption has me its first baptism when the gladiators in the Anambra PDP field stopped the first attempt by Akachukwu to ‘cast a golden vote’ by forming a body called ‘Fresh Congress Group’ which cleverly drew membership from all the factions.
Chukwuma Soludo, professor of economics and ex-CBN governor is peeping and restricting writing columns and seeking an endorsement that would be as powerful as what he confessed he got from Yar-Adua in 2009/2010 before throwing his hat in the ring, so that he would not be taken through the rough-rider’s path filled with rigours in the campaigns of Anambra PDP. Short-cu you would say.
It is the sum total of these assumptions, and not campaigns directed at the rank and file of its membership that makes PDP come up with multiple candidates for every election in and out of Anambra State. It is this new way of rigging elections,in the words of Chief Dozie Ikedife,Chairman Anambra State Council of Elders that Ndi Anambra have resolved to fight through all means available to them, as feeble attempts in the past have led to office holders being determined two years after the election through the courts and many time ending up in candidates that never canvassed for votes amongst the electorate. As one paradigm ends, another takes off and the resolve of the voters in Anambra is loud. It therefore becomes a loud signal t the PDP and other parties like APGA learning its tricks to put their house in order.
Otherwise, the electorate in Anambra State ought to gear up to disqualify all feuding multiple candidates from the word go, if INEC fails to do so by the law.

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