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Anambra 2010: What can we expect?

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IN many respects, Anambra is a state of pace-setters, and from another perspective, a polyglot of everything that is desirable in the Nigerian, and on the flipside, the undesirable.  Anambra is home to some of the finest professionals that can ever be produced by any nation in the world, and in any field ramging from engineering, academia, diplomacy, legal and judicial to some of the wealthiest Nigerians who brought themselves up virtually from nothing to attain the highest levels of placement in business and commerce.

In the on-going political dispensation, Anambra scores another first as the state where the political calendar first got skewed; the second legally-concluded political term of the governorship will end next year, in March 2010. The first political term, held by Dr Chinoke Mbadinuju ended normally along with other states of the federation in 2003.

Dr Chris Ngige became governor after him on the platform of the ruling PDP, but Mr Peter Obi of APGA successfully challenged his election, right up to the Supreme Court which also ruled that his tenure shall commence from the date he was sworn-in, thus setting a precedent that has now come into force in other states like Rivers, Edo, and Ondo, where the judiciary had similarly sacked governors.

As a result, these states will not hold elections into the governorship in 2011 like the other states. Edo State, for instance, will have the next governorship election in 2012, while Ondo will have hers the following year. By this, Anambra has become a trail-blazer, with Gove
rnor Peter Obi standing tall as the beacon to those who feel cheated during elections.

It is for the above and more that all eyes are now riveted on Anambra as the state gets set to choose another governor or retain the incumbent next February. Already, the signs of concern are abroad; no less than 51 persons have signified intention on the platform of the PDP alone to contest the governorship, among who are the serious, the unserious, and downright jokers, a development that made Delta State governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is also chairman of the authentication committee on the Anambra governorship to opine that some are in the governorship race for positions other than the governorship itself. His words:

“Some of these contestants, na only commissioner dem de look for. That is the truth. We don do this thing before. So we know how it works. Some are looking for board chairmen, some are looking for positions of commissioners. They just want to use this one to make a point.” It thus becomes a matter of debate how a man or woman will spend N5, 250,000 just to pick forms in the hope that at the end of the day, he might become chairman of Anmabra waste Management Board, or some other parastatal.

Away from the PDP, the ruling party in the state presents enormous problems it has to surmount, especially if the incumbent is to be returned. This has to do with the battle between Chief Chewas Okorie, and Chief Victor Umeh, both factional chairmen of the party, and from what can be seen, it is not an unmanageable issue if all concerned are willing, and will stoop to conquer.

But in all of this, there are other parties, who will also field aspirants for the governorship. So, at the end of the day, we may see as much as 20 or more aspirants on the ballot. That is on the surface. Underneath are the shenanigans for which politicians are known, which many fear will be unleashed as electioneering hots up towards next February, aside from the legal warfare launched by Dr Andy Uba.

But the conspicuous absence of one name from the list of aspirants is causing ripples in some interest circles. Obinna Chukwudum Uzoh, Chairman/CEO of GOCUZ Group had made dashes for the governorship in 2003 and before, but just fell short of clinching the trophy. Has he given up on his bid for good governance in the state?

What will be the implication of the endorsement of former CBN governor, Prof. Charles Soludo by former PDP BOT charman, Chief Tony Anenih on the other aspirants? In what direction will the Uba brothers be working? Maybe Dr Ezeife’s NGO, the Association for Good Governance in Anambra will make some impact. Announcing the coming of the group, Dr Ezeife said:

“We are a body that charged itself with the responsibility of producing a good governor for Anambra state next year. We believe that anyone who passes through our criteria will be voted for by the ordinary people of the state since it is still those of us in this group that they will look up to for direction.

“I can assure you that this time around, no godfather; no rigging; no money bag personality; no violence will be seen in Anambra state.  We have given ourselves a task to ensure that we have minimum distraction in the state.

“The candidate who shall eventually emerge from our screening will be disposed to working for to protect the interests of the ordinary people of Anambra state.

“We have written to all the political parties; we have written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the security; all NGOs; ward and town union executives; Christian and Muslim leaders as well as all labor unions, particularly the NUT to come out on that 19th.

“I can tell you that from the benefit of my experiences, the problems of the state are beyond human solutions so we decided to appeal to God first to handle the matter before we embark on other steps we intend to take”.

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