By Vincent Ujumadu
BEFORE the recent release of the guidelines by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2010 governorship election in Anambra State slated for February next year, it was difficult to say which direction the pendulum would swing in terms of who and who are likely to emerge as contenders for the ticket.
This was because the stakeholders of the party, both at the state and the national levels, adopted political intrigues that left most of their supporters more confused. For instance, there were three attempts by the national leadership to restore peace in the party through the setting up of committees to find out the best option for safe landing for every member after most of them were bruised during the build up for the 2007 elections, but all the attempts failed to yield the desired result.
First was the Chuma Nwofor- led committee which was to organize congress for the emergence of state executives of the party which ended unsuccessfully because many members of the party accused the committee of bias.
On the very day the congressÂ was to start, the former governor of the old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo stormed the state with another 13 members appointed by the national leadership to supervise the congress. Nwofor himself was surprised to see Nwobodo and his team because he
never had an inkling that he was going to be stopped midway.
Nwobodoâ€™s attempt also ended in fiasco as the contending groups accused his committee of being compromised. He too left unceremoniously.
Then came the Prof Jerry Gana committee which did not even step foot on Anambra soil as he was calling the shots from one hotel in Enugu after which he too submitted a report to the national headquarters.
That report did not see light of the day until the party settled for the Uchenna Emodi and his group as the authentic state executive of the party following an Onitsha High Court order reinstating them.
When Emodi took over, it was thought that the eluded peace had returned as many party members began to fall in line and identified with the leadership. Expectedly, all manner of people began to indicate interest in the race for governorship and suddenly, the phrase, His Excellency, became common on the streets and communities in Anambra.
From that period, it was possible to pinpoint those who actually want to have a bite at the governorship race and those who were in the race to settle one score or the other with certain persons.
For instance, rather that dwell on their programmes if elected governor, some of the people were busy adding the amount of money the present governor in the state had collected as security vote and telling people how he ought to have used such vote to settle politicians that had remained idle since the 90s. Few of them also engaged in internet campaigns where they used unprintable words against their opponents.
There were others who merely pasted posters on the major streets and never identified with PDP at any forum. There was a case of somebody who had used the same poster for the 2003, 2007 and the same poster is still pasted for the 2010 election, even when the aspirant has not hosted any meeting to inform people of his intention to run for governor.
Similarly, there were those who felt that the only way to achieve their political ambition was by ensuring that their lackey emerged the state chairman of the party and they used willing members to embark on protracted litigations, only for those being used to be abandoned midway.
So, when the national leadership released the guidelines for the Anambra election and fixed the cost of the declaration of intent and submission of forms at N5.25 million, it was thought that many people would be discouraged. But alas, Anambra politicians made a laughing stock of themselves when a total of 48 aspirants paid the fees.
There was a case of one person whose wife did not even know that her husband could afford N5 million and it was when other people started calling her â€œHer Excellencyâ€ that she knew that her husband could afford such amount.
Besides, the woman said that her husband never mentioned to her that he was going to contest for governor and even at the time she was speaking, he never informed her of his decision to be the next governor of Anambra State.
The case of the woman was not an isolated one as there were others like that. The question being asked is, what is the motive behind the decision of some people to collect forms when they were actually not interested in contesting the election?
One of the aspirants, Chief George Okoye who, though campaiged seriously for the PDP ticket, but eventually did not pick the form, said it was criminal for the leadership of PDP to ask aspirants to pay such amount. â€œIn a country without a middle class, N 5.3 million for a gubernatorial form amounts to permanent enslavement of the people and injures the constitution at sections 14 (2) C, 17 (2) C and 42. That decision must be rescinded. The international community is on alert. One interesting fall out of the sham is that it has thrown up a list of infamy containing the names of all the anti-people aspirants.
â€œBelieve me, nobody on that list shall be sworn in on March 17, 2010 as governor of Anambra State. Over N200 million has just been flown off our impoverished state. We, the people demand of them an account,â€ Okoye said.
But some of those in the game say that what is happening at the moment is practical politics, which is different from rhetoric. A major stakeholder in Anambra politics told Vanguard that there is nothing wrong in the payment of N5 million for the forms, arguing that anybody who coughed out such amount must be serious.
According to him, the real game of politics has just begun and only the serious ones would continue to make the required impact.Â He was optimistic that the issue of number would soon be sorted out, adding that once the clearer picture emerges, many of the aspirants would withdraw to support one person who would eventually carry the partyâ€™s flag.
In fact, Vanguard gathered in Awka that the entire amount paid by the aspirants may have been paid by just four people who used the rest to swell the number and use them as the bargaining power during the primaries. With aspirants coming from the three senatorial zones, indications are that the entire state executive of the envisaged PDP government is already known as most of the governorship aspirants would end up being commissioners, local government chairmen, and federal lawmakers, among other
One obvious fact however is that whoever eventually emerges as the candidate would have to do a lot of fence mending in the party before the actual election, otherwise the party would lament again after February 6, 2010.