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ANAMBRA 2013: Where is Obi standing?

BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN, POLITICAL EDITOR

WHO Governor Peter Obi supports to pick the APGA nomination ticket remains a wonder. Not too long ago, many swore that the governor was backing his erstwhile Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Chief Paul Odenigbo.

Given Obi’s earlier assertion that he would support someone from Anambra North to take over from him, many believed that he had found a worthy successor in Odenigbo who is from Anambra North.

However, when Odenigbo’s successor as SSG, Mr. Oseloka Obaze entered the contest, many believed that Obi had changed his mind given that Obaze entered the contest without resigning his job as Odenigbo did.

Now, speculations about Obi’s support for Obaze is again taking a twist with the entry of another supposed protégée of Obi’s: Mr. Willy Obiano, until recently an executive director of Fidelity Bank.

Given the alleged investment and large share of Mr. Obi’s family in Fidelity Bank, fresh speculation is that Obiano could be Obi’s joker in the contest. After all, given Mr. Obi’s famed shrewdness with money, there could be no better person for him to trust than the man who keeps his money.

Remarkably, all three men variously described as Obi’s protégées are all from Anambra North.

Party faithfulness is an issue
The de facto chairman of the PDP, Mr. Ken Emeakayi had claimed that the traditional bickering associated with party members would not arise this year.

Many almost believed him, especially after the gubernatorial aspirants openly declared after a meeting with him that they would abide by the result of the primaries and support the winner of the election. It would be remembered that in 2007 after many of the aspirants for the governorship and other offices failed in the PDP, they decamped to other parties. In that year, party officials even encouraged losers to go to other parties. Mr. Tony Nwoye as chairman of PDP in 2007 was said to have left for Labour Party.

Soludo, Ogene, Odenigbo, Uzoh, Mrs. Ekwunife , Okonkwo, Ndubuisi and Ifeanyi Uba
Soludo, Ogene, Odenigbo, Uzoh, Mrs. Ekwunife , Okonkwo, Ndubuisi and Ifeanyi Uba

In 2010 the same phenomenon happened again. Senator Andy Uba who was the PDP flag bearer in 2007 after losing out in the 2010 primary contest moved to Labour Party and contested on that platform. Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu moved to Hope Democratic Party, HDP.

Transversing of political parties
Mrs. Uche Ekwunife who came to the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP has transversed through at least three political parties in her crave for the governorship. She has moved from the PDP to PPA and as at press time, was still in APGA.

Senator Annie Okonkwo like Ekwunife came to the Senate on the platform of the PDP in 2007, but contested the 2010 governorship on the platform of Accord.

Today virtually all of them have dumped the parties used in 2010 for new parties. Senator Okonkwo is seeking his aim through the newly registered All Progressives Congress, APC, and even the PDP’s 2010 candidate, Prof. Charles Soludo has resorted to APGA.

Senator Andy Uba’s joker
If confusion had not emerged from the PDP ward congresses, many would have been surprised and hailed the party’s de facto chairman, Mr. Emeakayi as a hero. But as is traditional with the PDP, confusion trailed the PDP ward congresses in all 326 wards last Monday.

As at press time yesterday, confusion over the results compiled by the Emeakayi faction and the validity of the exercise was still an issue. While many alleged that the congresses did not hold and that officials and godfathers sat down to write down results, others alleged that what held was illegal.

Senator Andy Uba, remarkably was the only one of the 12 aspirants in the party who absented himself from the ward congresses organized by the Emeakayi faction of the party.

Senator Uba who is chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, it is claimed in some quarters, may be trying to uphold procedures by aligning himself with the faction of the party recognized by INEC, that is the Ejike Oguebego faction. Significantly, the Oguebego faction of the party was installed by that ultimate godfather, Chief Chris Uba, younger brother to Andy!

Obiano, the political Ijele enters the stage
Could Chief Willie Obiano be the game changer in Anambra? Well some think so, given his largely apolitical stance until recent and achievements in the banking industry. That, they claim could be an advantage that could work for him, in the same way that Governor Peter Obi’s apolitical inclinations worked for him.

Obiano, who was until recently the number two man in Fidelity Bank, also has the advantage of being from Anambra North, the zone the outgoing governor wants to zone the office to.

Chief Obiano, his handlers say, carries a spark that lights up any arena he enters like a burst of fireflies in a dark, moonless night. The Aguleri High Chief who is also famously known as AkpokuedikeAguleri comes almost fully made with a rare combination of solid intellect and a common touch that makes many leaders wince with envy.

His sartorial style and regal elegance easily stand him out in any crowd. His infectious humour and kindred spirit strikes instant connectivity with anyone that comes his way regardless of age or class.

Obiano  it is claimed has been able to squeeze into one personality, as much complexity as simplicity.

Until recently, the number two man at Fidelity Bank Plc, as the Executive Director in charge of Business Banking after a glittering banking career that saw him rise through the ranks.

Before his retirement, he headed virtually every important segment of the bank including corporate banking, non-bank financial institutions, treasury, foreign operations, oil and gas financing, telecommunications, aviation and several other businesses where he showed tremendous leadership skills and a rare people’s touch.

Before he joined Fidelity Bank, Obiano had had an auspicious beginning at First Bank Nigeria and Texaco Nigeria Plc where he distinguished himself as the Chief Internal Auditor for years, driving change and initiating programmes that earned him the accolade of the top management of the global conglomerate.

At Fidelity, what mostly stood Chief Obiano out was his rare human touch; a deep connection with the people which resonated throughout the bank and a large reservoir of knowledge of the subtleties of banking and a keen sense of the present and how it connects to the future, which most bankers who have fallen by the way side never seemed to have.

Obiano knew banking well enough to know that the banker’s reputation is like a house of straws; one bad move and all the years of struggle would go up in a plume of smoke. But Obiano left Fidelity on a high.

Not one shred of scandal trailed his years as a top-flight banker. He was well loved by the ordinary staff and respected by the management and the board.

At the bank’s annual dinners and social events, AkpokueAguleri, as he was fondly called by friends and colleagues always stood out.

Being a man of style, his remarkable haircut and aristocratic fashion taste always marked him out in the crowd.

Against this backdrop therefore, Willie Obiano’s candidacy is a bold answer to the clamor among his people for their best and brightest sons and daughters to file out for the highest office in the state.


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