LAST weekend’s campaign flag-off by Dr. Tony Nwoye, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Anambra State governorship election was a shock to many. The massive turnout of supporters who came to identify with Dr. Nwoye at the flag-off has also been variously qualified as surprising and stupefying.
Mainstream and social media have been agog with the outpouring of support for Nwoye. This is because people came from far and near to the commercial city of Onitsha to identify with the flag-off of the campaign to remove a non performing governor. Of course, we have seen campaign flag offs by the other political parties and not even the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano despite the efforts of contractors and paid and unpaid volunteers were able to compare with what was seen in Onitsha last Friday at the open field of the All Saints Cathedral Field.
The mobilisation was also near spontaneous as not much time was given for the mobilisation. Even more shocking was that many of the people who thronged the campaign venue waited for hours before the dignitaries arrived.
Traders, artisans and ordinary people made the sacrifice of temporarily setting aside their businesses in their vow to identify with the man who has also for long identified with them. Sceptics who had convinced themselves that the APC on account of its limited showing in the last elections would not attract support were demystified by the outpouring of the crowd.
For those of us who were there and even for those who could not come, the huge turnout and happenings at the rally have compelled me to serve out the takeaways from the event.
Number One Takeaway: Dr. Nwoye is a fitting candidate for the APC in the forthcoming election. Dr. Nwoye from his early days in politics and students activism had developed a kind of rapport for which Ndi Anambra are now willing to accept as a replacement for the present and failed governor of the state. The affirmation of his candidature by about 11 of his fellow contestants for the APC ticket shows the degree of acceptance he has.
Number Two Takeaway: Dr. Nwoye by his bold assertion to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo requesting him to order contractors back to the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway shows that he is one who can speak on behalf of his people at the federal level. If Dr. Nwoye would in public speak for his people why would he not even do more in private when the needs of his people are at stake? Dr. Nwoye’s interest in the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway is further demonstrated by the fact that he spearheaded the insertion of the project in the 2017 federal budget without many people knowing. So he has through the Onitsha-Enugu expressway shown what he can do quietly and when quiet actions do not work, that he can also canvass the interest of Ndi Anambara people publicly.
Chief Willie Obiano has had several engagements with the federal authorities, and we dare say he has not been bold enough to broach the touchy issue.
Dr. Nwoye would not be found drinking or dancing when issues bordering on the needs of his people are at stake.
Number Three Takeaway: When it comes to this election, Ndi Anambra are set to put aside sentiments and propaganda in choosing who will be their governor. No one is going to cover their eyes with ethnic or religious propaganda as to the political platforms. Obiano’s scheme to use our felt grievances and to ride upon our pains to sustain his regime of bad governance has simply failed. Our eyes are opened to the reality that the worst pain is that inflicted by a brother as Obiano has done to us through his callous acts of poor governance. Number Four Takeaway: The issues in the election are local. The people are asking what the Willie Obiano APGA state government did with more than N20 billion of local government funds and N13 billion Paris Club refunds it received. Not to talk of billions of statutory allocation from and internally generated revenue. We will also ask what he did with the more than N75 billion savings Obiano collected from his predecessor.
As the evidence is there with bank papers, he has the issue of credibility now facing him. Number Five Takeaway: Obiano’s Propaganda Machine is Crumbling. The huge turnout by Ndi Anambra for the flag off showed that our people have seen the lies and deceits in the propaganda machine of the outgoing government. Our people who import yam from Benue State and Taraba State are angry over claims that we are exporting billions of naira of yam overseas. Why rub our pain on us Governor Obiano? You have not provided the machinery for the agricultural revolution of our state and you are rubbing the insult on us?
Our people who cultivate Ugu on a household scale have seen your lies and are asking where in Anambra State did you cultivate the billions of naira of ugu that you claimed to have exported? Where? Even more, international institutions who ordinarily would come to help our farmers would move elsewhere believing that we are already equipped not knowing that your agricultural exports are framed in fantasy! These are among my takeaways from the flag off.
Sir Azuka Okwusa is the Deputy Director General of the Nwoye Campaign Organisation