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Anambra 2010: Still more questions than answers

By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
The issues on  the politics of Anambra state of South-East Nigeria are  becoming more intriguing by the day. Since 1999 when the new democracy came into being, the case of Anambra state has remained  different.

For  one thing, it is the only state that has paraded five governors under controversial circumstances in one dispensation. The chronicle of its governors ranged from Chinweoke Mbadinuju who became governor from 1999-2003.

CARTOON

He was of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Dr Chris Ngige  became  the  governor of the state from 2003 to 2006 on the same platform of  PDP but he was removed in March 2006 when the Court of Appeal in Enugu asserted that his election victory in 2003 was rigged.

He was succeeded by Peter Obi of All Progressive Grand Alliance,APGA, who in turn was ousted by a faction of the Anambra State House of Assembly on November 2, 2006 and was replaced by Virginia Etiaba. his Deputy.  However, the circumstances became more confounding and on February 9, 2007 Mrs. Etiaba handed power back to Obi after the Court of Appeal had nullified Obi’s removal.

The governorship election of  April 14 2007 where  Andy Uba, the candidate of the ruling PDP was announced the governor was declared illegal  on June 14, 2007 by the Supreme Court of Nigeria which  replaced him with his predecessor Peter Obi—citing an illegality in Andy Uba’s election on April 14, 2007

Indeed, the political history of the state has been checkered since 2003 when Dr Chris Ngige became governor. His unresolved issue with his political godfather Chris Uba held the state hostage for months and brought about a lot of carnage and destruction.

The situation was so bad that a presidential committee was set to resolve the issue.

After a meeting of the Presidential Committee, Dr Chris Ngige and his estranged political sponsor, Mr. Chris Uba pledged to forget their differences in the interest of the State .Dr Ngige then  pledged to make more sacrifices to engender peace while Uba said that Anambra would never be turned to a war theatre again.

In the Ngige era, the destiny of the  entire State was reduced to a personal quarrel between two individuals until the two men at the center of the crisis were  persuaded to sheathe their swords

What made the Ngige and Uba problem more bizzare was that their struggle was over the actualisation of an agreement they both swore to before the Okija shrine. But as fate would have it, Dr Chris Ngige was removed from office on March 17, 2006, barely a year to the next election.

Peter Obi made a triumphant entry into the scheme of things after the court ruling on the issues surrounding the election that produced Ngige ab initio as governor .

Peter Obi held sway in the state as Governor from March 17 2006 till November 3 2006 but  the bickering between him and the PDP- dominated House of Assembly eventually saw him removed from office.

A vacuum was created as to who would become the governor between Mike Balonwu  of the House of Assembly and Dame Virgy Etiaba, the Deputy Governor.

The line eventually fell for Dame Virgy Etiaba in pleasant places as the  controversy  was resolved  following her official recognition by the  Federal Government. Many thought Etiaba would reject the offer but she made a volte face and took an oath of office as the governor of the state on November3 2006.

However, her  tenure as  Governor  was short lived. On February 9, 2007, she was ousted from that position after a court  nullified Peter Obi’s removal. But before then, her party APGA had fielded her as governorship candidate for 2007 guber elections because Peter Obi’s case was still undecided.

Peter Obi was to get a supreme court ruling later which extended his tenure till 2010.

As the date for the next guber election in Anambra progresses, there has been a litany of problems and political bickering  involving almost all the major political parties in the state especially APGA and PDP.

At present, so many of the issues are still unresolved and as the 2010 gubernatorial election approaches, the problems are gathering momentum.

The recent threat of another civil war by Dim Emeka Ojukwu has generated another controversy and today Anambra is on the brink of  crisis.

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