Anambra Election: The Candidates And Their Chances By Obi Ebuka Onochie
In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don’t mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably, the most dangerous people seek power. – Saul Bellow, American Writer; 1976 Nobel Prize Winner.
Those vying for Ikenga house in the oncoming November 16 Anambra state gubernatorial election are either already campaigning or in the court room or both. The party primaries in Nigerian context, money and contact reach determine who carries the day has come and gone leaving the flag bearers face to face with electorates. According to Saul Bellow “the most dangerous people seek power” – there is nowhere in Nigeria this statement is truer than in Anambra state. The air about voters in Anambra state is that of ambivalence over who to vote for which brings us to the question, who are the contenders. If this election will be anything near free and fair, the winner will be determined by antecedence, acceptability and saleability.
Masses who will determine the winner are asking the question, who are these contenders? Those they know before now they ask, what is their productivity in the last two years? Obviously, little or nothing is known about most of them. Sketchy information available for the front runners is as follows;
Dr. Chris Ngige
He was born on the 8th of August 1952 in Alor his home town in Anambra State. He graduated as a medical student from University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in 1979 and subsequently went into civil service and retired from civil service in 1998 as a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Health. Upon his retirement, he turned to politics and became one of the founding members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 2003, he was controversially elected governor of Anambra state and it was not long he fell out with Ubah brothers who were reigning as kings of Anambra politics at the time. With what is now regarded as fabricated letter of resignation, the attempt to have him removed was unsuccessful which led to the impeachment of his deputy as a balance of power.
However, in August 2005, an election Tribunal led by Justice Nabaruma nullified Ngige’s 2003 victory. He appealed to the Nigerian Federal Court of Appeal, but the annulment was confirmed on 15 March 2006, in a judgment awarding victory to the incumbent Mr. Peter Obi of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). Before Ngige was removed by the courts, he was already the darling of the masses based on his performance in the office. He became the first governor since the creation of Anambra to massively construct roads especially inter-local government roads. In 2010 gubernatorial election in Anambra state, he made an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Governor Peter Obi. In April 2011, Ngige contested and won against Prof. Dora Akunyiri in a hot senatorial election representing Anambra central in the senate where he is currently serving. He is the APC candidate in the coming election.
Willie Maduabuchi Obiano
Mr. Obiano is from the legendary town of Aguleri in Anambra state where violent communal clash took tens of lives over boundary related issue with Umuleri under the administration of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. He graduated from the accounting department of the University of Lagos with second class Upper. He has chaired and is still chairing many cultural and professional groups which include President AMP(Advance Management Programme) of Lagos Business School for ten years running. He is also a 2006 BNV(Building New Ventures) CLASS member of Harvard Business School, Boston USA, Standard University. Also he is the Patron of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (Lagos Mainland District) and National Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra East Chapter.
He is both religiously and traditionally inclined and he is a red cap chief in his home town of Aguleri. Chief Obiano started his banking career as officer in First Bank in 1981 from where he moved to Texaco Nigeria Plc as an accountant. He was promoted 4 times in his eight-and-half-year-service at Texaco to become Chief Internal Auditor. Chief Obiano is a specialist in Bunkering, Lube-blending and Refinery Audits. He was part of the team that audited Texaco Refinery in Rotadam, Netherlands in 1989.
He joined Fidelity Bank from Texaco in 1991 as Deputy Manager and Head of Audits. He was promoted to manager in 1991, Assistant General Manager in 1993, Deputy General Manager in 2000 and General Manager in 2002 and Executive Director in October, 2003. He is the APGA candidate in the election.
Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah
A lot is not known about Ubah except his oil and gas business. Nothing much was said about his educational exploits except that he was conferred with an Honourary Doctorate of Management Technology (DMT) by the Federal University of Technology Owerri, in Imo State and an Honourary Doctorate of Philosophy in Critical and Creative Thinking from Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA. He has really recorded success in his oil business as Capital Oil boss even starting life without anything as a son of teachers. His is flying the flag of Labour Party (LP).
Ukachukwu is a successful business man who is into construction and property development. He owns the Prince and Princess Estate in Abuja. He was a member of House of Representatives where he represented the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the platform of the PDP. His educational background is not readily available.
Chances and Prospects
Among all the parties in contention in Anambra state, the APGA and PDP are the only parties well grounded to the ward levels. Ngige’s popularity has greatly diminished by three related factors. One, his party is still looked upon as anti Igbo political association by most Anambrarians, the second is the “Lagos deportation saga” and the third is his inability to perform at the senate. Ngige’s popularity has so much dwindled that he was stoned with pure water sachets at one of his outings in Awka the state capital. Ngige has to do extra work to win especially in the area of projecting himself more than his party which is almost impossible. Ukachukwu and his co-PDP contestants look like they will keep patrolling the court room until election is over.
Amongst three of them, none can be said to be truly popular among the voters and the intra party squabbles has inflicted a poisonous wound on the party’s electoral value in the state.
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah has been on a sharing spree as he reminds electorates of Santa Claus (Father Christmas) even when Christmas is still many weeks away. His kerosene and petrol sharing has really endeared him to many voters who believe his government will be a welfare government. His major problem is the elites, traditional institutions and money bags. He is said to be at logger heads with a lot of them who also consider him too dissenting and insolent to be allowed access to Ikenga house. He has been trying to remove the notion that AMCON took over his business which prompted his governorship aspiration.
Obiano of APGA seems to be on top of other candidates in political acceptability only when you are looking at the election build up from outside the state. APGA victory can only be guaranteed if the party works harder to convincing voters that Gov. Peter Obi performed and that Obiano is not his puppet or extended third term. Another obstacle to Obiano candidacy lies in the fact that Anambra north sees him as puppet that Gov. Obi is trying to force on them and liking him to Obasanjo and Ya’adua situation with only difference that Obiano looks hale and hearty. Obiano’s advantage lies on Obi’s incumbency and zoning but zoning is the weaker of the two because majority of voters are settlers who do not care about zones of the contenders. Generally, Anambrarians are not eagerly looking forward to the election as most of them are disenchanted from present APGA government’s performance, perpetual PDP crises, APC “agenda” and LP’s presence in the election.
Obi Ebuka Onochie
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