By Hyacinth Offodeme
PRIMARY election to nominate the All Progressive Congress, APC, flag-bearer in the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election comes up this Saturday, August 19. This date is of very important significance because on that date, the fate of APC in this year’s election will be decided. The outcome of the primary election will determine whether APC will contest the November 18 election to win or to lose.
On August 19, the chances of the party and, indeed, the hopes of Ndi Anambra to effect the desired change in the governance of the state will rest squarely on the shoulders of the dear delegates to the primaries.
I, therefore, urge the delegates, as they step out on that day to cast their votes to elect a flag-bearer, to please be reminded that a rare opportunity has been thrust upon them to do that which is right and which will be beneficial, not only to them, but to their own children, all Anambra children and posterity at large.
I say to you all: You became a member of the APC because you became tired of the status quo and wanted a change from failure to success, and from stagnation to acceleration. You now have the opportunity to effect that change by nominating someone who has ability and capacity to defeat the incumbent administration on November 18, 2017. History beckons on you to write your name in gold, as a major catalyst in the change agenda in the state. How will you react? Will you be guided by emotions and sentiments to nominate that friend or relative of yours when, indeed, you know that he does not have what it takes to defeat the incumbent and win the election?
Will you be guided by earnest desire for the common good to nominate someone who has what it takes to defeat other contestants and win Anambra governorship for the APC and thereby kick-start that overdue change for which you became a member of the APC? Dear delegate, it is now up to you to decide whether you want Ndi Anambra to remember you as the hero who effectively empowered change, or the villain who sabotaged the best chance for change we ever had.”
I accept that it is always difficult to strike a fair balance between what is and what ought to be. As an indigene of the state residing in Ghana, I have followed this year’s election with uncommon interest because, however we look at it, the results of all elections impact on us positively or negatively. The last time, I wrote an article and asked the question: Can APC rescue Anambra State? My answer to that question now is: Yes, APC can rescue Anambra State only if it succeeds in rescuing itself from enemies within.
I have studied the personal data and pedigree of all the gentlemen aspiring for the APC ticket and for the sake of our common good, I have decided to be more pungent and direct in this open letter. This year’s election is not any aspirant’s personal war. It is a battle between political parties and the best each party can do is to enter the war arena with its best war commander, and the best that each aspirant, truly loyal to his party can do, is to support the person among them who has the best chances to win the election for the party.
This is the major reason I am writing this letter. It does not appear that some of the aspirants will allow the best among them to fly the flag because to them, it is not about the party and its members but about their personal ambitions. It is up to the delegates to correct this impression because they are party delegates and not personal delegates of the aspirants and therefore, they must be guided by a good sense of who has the best chance to win the election for the party.
After due research and studies, the name that effortlessly comes to mind as the most equipped and prepared at this time to win this year’s election for APC is Sen. Andy Uba, and this is for verifiable reasons which I urge the delegates to investigate.
The first reason is the man’s vast experience. The requisite experience of any leader is a beckoning asset that his administration can always leverage on. Sen. Uba was a close presidential aide for nearly eight years and no one can ordinarily dispute the wealth of experience that flowed from the job. He had contested and won Anambra governorship election before and has become familiar with the terrain. He is equally a two-term serving Senator, openly acknowledged as having the highest number of bills in the Senate. Having served in the Executive and the legislature, he knows how government works and his experience can be trusted and relied on.
The second is that his belief in the core values of Anambra State is not in doubt. As a close presidential aide, he was instrumental to the appointment of the three most cerebral indigenes of the state ever to work at the same time for one administration. Soludo, Akunyili and Ezekwesisli were some of the finest gifts of Anambra State to Nigeria and Sen. Uba’s contributions to these appointments cannot be denied, His commitment to the completion of the 2nd Niger Bridge, the dredging of the River Niger and a sincere Anambra Airport are proofs that the best for the state will always remain his priority.
Thirdly, no one wins more elections than a politician who is on ground and close to the people. This is Sen. Uba’s greatest advantage. In 2007, he established the structures with which he won that year’s governorship election. In 2011, he used the same structures to win his senatorial election and used the same structures to win his senatorial re-election in 2015. He has been using the same structures to campaign for this year’s election because unlike many politicians, he did dismantled his structures. They have kept him very close to the people for ten years and as the D-Day approaches in this year’s election, there is really no time for experiments. What APC needs to win this year’s Anambra guber is for its delegates to nominate Sen. Uba because he has existing and well serviced structures to win.
The fourth reason is that the Senator has no godfather. He is his own boss and will be in charge of his own decisions and responsible for his own actions. From 1999 till date, we are all aware of the destruction godfatherism engendered in the state and how much it slowed our wheel of progress. Dear delegates, Anambra State is tired of following someone who is following someone else. Uba has a personal vision of what he wants to achieve in the state and this vision will not be impaired by the control of any godfather.
The fifth reason that urges the choice is his extensive connections in high places that the state can leverage on for negotiations and concessions. The Senator is well respected in and outside the state and as an astute strategist, he has become our established bridge across diverse national interests.
Finally, he sees leadership as service to the people and not an avenue to enrich himself or acquire houses abroard.
*Dr. Offodeme, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Takoradi, Ghana.