August 30, 2013

Anambra 2013, a new political culture

POLITICAL observers would be wondering at the relative calm that pervades Anambra State in the face of electioneering for the local government and gubernatorial elections billed for October 5, 2013 and November 16, 2013, respectively.

What could pass for the traditional vile politics of Anambra State is surely in short supply considering the proximity of the local government and gubernatorial polls vis-a-vis the relative tranquil ambience that is dominant in political circles in the state.

Ordinarily, in this critical electoral season, Anambra would have turned wild with all manners of recklessness and lawlessness. Candidates for election, in league with their benefactors and hangers-on, would have held the state hostage in their loudly uncouth presence; and neither the conviviality of the vivacious cities nor the candour of the serene rural communities would have been saved from the discomfort of unruly political activities and a parallel increase in criminalities.

At its first taste of democracy in 1999, Anambra was served a vapid brand with the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party’s governor, Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, to attend to even the basic demands of the people. Hardly was there any infrastructural uplift; workers were more at home than at work consequent upon non-payment of salaries and other sundry industrial disagreements. Mbadinuju’s government merely served the whims and caprices of his henchmen who cared less what became of the state.

Realising Mbadinuju’s gross failure, the Peoples Democratic Party (2003), in a gross misapplication of federal might, foisted another of theirs, Dr. Chris Ngige, on the state; against all rational moral persuasions. This development changed the dominant feature of governance in Anambra from Mbadinuju’s lacklustre pose to the awry battle fright emanating from Ngige and his godfathers who masterminded the fraud that installed him as the governor.

Given all the turbulence, Anambra State was easily dismissed as a political jungle of brutes, where the gladiators terrorized the weak masses as they (the gladiators) gnawed at one another in the unwavering struggles for political influences and for a grip of the common wealth of the state. For over a decade and a half, the state sunk under the stigma of hurtful administration and awkward political culture.

Today, however, all these are consigned to history. A new political culture has dawned in Anambra State. Without prejudice to the noble heritage that Ndi-Anambra glory in, Governor Obi has yet given current vent to the monumental contributions of great sons and daughters of Anambra who have taken a bow to eternity.

By Mr. Obi’s achievements in government, not even his sworn political rivals can deny him the privilege of a sterling reckoning in the evolution of a viable state; a state widely acknowledged today as the symbol of the risen sun. When Governor Obi’s tenure is up by March 17, 2014, his administration will definitely remain a reference point for good governance in Nigeria.

Following the dawn of what has stuck as Obi’s era, notable people and organisations with secular as well as religious biases strive to make contributions to the entrenchment of sanity in the people’s worldview. The residents of the state now readily compliment or condemn acts and situations in tandem with civilized indices. The past seven years of Governor Obi’s administration has greatly impacted on majority of the state residents who admire the exemplary modesty of their Governor.

They see Mr. Obi as truly representing the value reorientation that his administration is championing. Ndi-Anambra reason that the Governor’s strength derives from his captivating fiscal discipline and modesty which enable him critically appraise the peculiarities of the state and prudently deploy resources evenly in accordance with the scheme of the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy, ANIDS.

This explains the monumental development Anambra State has witnessed in the past seven years of this administration. True to the synopsis of ANIDS, ‘developing all the sectors simultaneously,’ the education, health, judiciary, works and indeed all the sectors have been revolutionised. Anambra State in 2013 presents a persuasive story of an evolving civilization against the haphazard inclinations that bedeviled the old order.

Barring the impressions of intrigues and undercurrent allegiances characteristic in the play of politics globally, which are currently identifiable in Anambra politics, the state looks safe and ready for incident-free polls. This is because the politicians and their supporters are conscious of the ethics of fair political engagement and the ethos of communality. This has greatly reduced thuggery and encouraged fluid participation in the politics of the state.

The implication is that aggrieved politicians rarely resort to self-help in registering discontent; they rather opt for legitimate means of seeking redress. Mr. Obi spearheaded this persuasion when he legally pursued his stolen mandate case against the PDP and Dr. Ngige which dragged for three years. Again, he used the court to reclaim the same mandate from Andy Ubah (2007) who fitted into the PDP’s repeated plot to abuse democracy and destabilize Anambra State.

The build-ups to the 2013 Anambra elections are not without their thrills, frills and surprises. The ward, local government and state congresses of the political parties would have thrown up some misgivings; so would have the results of the parties’ verification panels empowered to present the candidates for primary elections.

From the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, which is the ruling party in the state through the PDP to the All Progressive Congress, APC, complaints and agitation resonate from aspirants who are not comfortable with the measures they received. But in keeping with the spirit of this era, these aggrieved fellows act within the confines of the law, and the state remains in one piece.

In summary, there seems to be a dominant passion among the electorate on the appropriateness of looking northwards in seeking Governor Obi’s replacement.

Mr. OKECHUKWU ANARADO, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Adazi-Nnukwu, Anambra State.