On November 18 , governorship elections will hold in Anambra State. The stakes are very high as Peter Obi, the immediate past governor of the state will be settling scores with his erstwhile political godson, Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor who parted ways with his benefactor soon after he helped him win the governorship election four years ago.
Another powerful political juggernaut that Obiano will be facing off with is Alex Ekwueme, the former vice president of Nigeria in the second republic.
His daughter, Chidi Alexandria, is the running mate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Oseloka Obaze, who is a surrogate of Obi.
Apart from the aforementioned odds stacked against Obiano by the PDP, the ruling party at the centre, All Progressives Congress (APC), which is fielding Tony Nwoye as governorship candidate constitutes another formidable challenge.
In addition to having the federal might on its side, the APC also parades two ex governors of the state in its team who are poised to upturn governor Obiano’s political apple cart.
These are Chris Ngige, and Andy Uba, who served for only three years and 17 days, respectively before they were sacked by the courts.
As things stand today, Obiano may be a political orphan in an election which he needs to win but that is assuming that he has not founded his own political family since he found himself at the helm of affairs of the politically combustible Anambra State in 2014.
Obiano’s chance of winning , although slim, is based on the fact that as a successful banker who had risen to the level of executive director in Fidelity Bank before his former friend and ally Peter Obi ‘anointed’ him to step into his shoes as governor, he might have mastered the art of brinksmanship well enough to have something up his sleeves.
As such, he may not be as vulnerable as he appears more so because of the power of incumbency, which is quite potent in these climes.
But with the gargantuan political armaments arrayed against him, would the incumbent governor of Anambra State capitulate and be a one-term governor like Chris Ngige and Andy Uba or join Peter Obi, who completed his two terms.
It may be recalled that both ex governors Ngige and Uba were former PDP chieftains who cross-carpeted to APC after they were sacked as governors by the courts and didn’t have second term opportunity.
As a newcomer in politics, what Obiano wouldn’t know how to do is produce music video with caustic lyrics and chimpanzees as the vocalists where all that’s ailing Anambra State are catalogued and attributed to him as the seating governor.
That music video has since gone viral and it is currently one of the hottest trending videos on social media.
In my last article published widely in both mainstream and online news platforms entitled ‘As President Buhari turns on his charm offensive on Igbo’, l highlighted the frantic efforts being made by the ruling party, APC to garner more lgbo votes in order to consolidate its hold on power at the centre during 2019 general elections.
I referred to the recent offer of N50 billion as compensation to Biafran war veterans and victims 47 years after the civil war as one of the initiatives aimed at wooing the lgbo into the APC fold.
Undoubtedly, the current visit of President Buhari to Ebonyi State to commission projects and perhaps to lure the governor into crossing over from PDP to APC before subsequently heading to Anambra State to campaign for Tony Nwoye, APC’s governorship flag bearer, may also be part of the plethora of strategic initiatives being deployed by president Buhari and APC to worm their way into the hearts of the lgbo. The same Igbo who have hitherto been complaining about neglect by Abuja after the reign of Alex Ekwueme as vice president under president Shehu Shagari in the second republic.
If nothing else, the trip would afford President Buhari the opportunity to have firsthand knowledge and experience the embarrassing level of infrastructure decay, particularly roads in the land of the rising sun as the lgbo like to brand themselves.
Given the serious attention that President Buhari is currently paying to public queries being issued to him over the matter of marginalisation, particularly with respect to the lgbo it appears like the appointed time for the lgbos to get out of the cold is finally here. This is further attested to by Buhari’s recent promise to a delegation of Christian leaders that paid him a courtesy call, saying that he will rebalance the apparently lopsided appointments that he recently made.
This will be more so if they get appointed into influential positions in the course of the impending injection of fresh blood into governance at the federal level promised by President Buhari during the APC National Executing Committee (NEC) meeting at the end of last month.
Arising from the flurry of political activities in the east, which compared to the past is currently at dizzying speed, Anambra gubernatorial election may be the turning point for the lgbo nation.
More than anything else, it would serve as a sort of referendum on whether or not the lgbo are still determined to go their separate way or align with the APC-led federal government of Nigeria in order to get integrated.
*Magnus Onyibe, a development strategist, an alumnus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA and former commissioner in Delta State, sent this piece from Lagos.