By Aziken Emmanuel
Proud Anambarians like to see their state as the ideological and cultural origin of the Igbo. Nri, in Anambra State, is to the Igbo what Ile-Ife is to the Yoruba.
The fact that some of the early Igbo success stories in the arts, business, and politics came from the state is a thing of pride to Anambarians. Chinua Achebe, whose 87th posthumous birthday was last Thursday celebrated by Google on the doodle of its search engine is from Anambra State. So also is Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president.
Chief Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, arguably Nigeria’s first millionaire on record and first president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange is also from the state. Sir Ojukwu’s successes in business may have been overshadowed by the emergence of his son, Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu as Igbo leader in the 60s.
Naysayers also point to the fact that the state in true concurrence with its moniker, Home For All, is also home to atrocious negative narratives. One of the most recent is the revelation about the Anambra-born billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike also known as Evans. Who would also forget that Anambra State is the first and only state in Nigeria where a governor was kidnapped?
It is also the first state where a serving governor was removed by the courts. Indeed, the annulment of the 2003 election that brought Dr. Chris Ngige to power as governor set the tone for the out of sync governorship elections that now hold in about seven states of the country.
As the voters in the state go to the polls today, they could set the path for a seismic political revolution that could redefine the placement of Ndigbo in the sharing of the cake in Abuja.
Initial attempts by the United Progressives Party, UPP to push the Igbo agenda and thus away from that sharing table in Abuja were midway derailed by the foibles of Nnamdi Kanu, the missing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Kanu’s damage to UPP has inevitably sharpened the contest into a three-way race that puts the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC into a dead heat for control of the prized gubernatorial seat in Awka.
If the UPP recovers to make a good impression in today’s election, it would only be because of the articulation and ideas of its candidate, Osita Chidoka as seen during the Channels Television debate last Sunday.
The PDP candidate, Osita Obaze who showed great composure and content during the debate is, however, challenged by divisions in the party. There are indeed conspiracy theories that some PDP chieftains have been settled by some interests to perpetuate the crisis. Many PDP leaders are either lukewarm, indifferent or even passionately working against the party’s candidate. They allege their party has been taken over by Peter Obi’s men who only recently defected from APGA.
However, Obi’s good record in office continues to count for Obaze just as it did for Obiano four years ago.
Despite the condescending claims about Governor Willie Obiano from his rivals, the governor has refused to buckle as state institutions continue to back him. That is despite the last minute defection on Thursday of 70 out of the 104 APGA LGA chairmanship aspirants to the APC. The chairmanship candidates who alleged that they were abandoned after paying for the LGA nomination forms say they have decided to abandon their party and its candidate.
The governor has also maintained his cool even after Chief Emeka Ojukwu, son of the late Biafran leader also defected to the APC last Wednesday.
In the view of some, the seeming contradictions in APGA and PDP have opened a way for the APC into the state. But even beyond that is the history and the passion of the APC candidate, Dr. Tony Nwoye whose political sagacity is best illustrated by the political accomplishments the medical doctor turned politician has recorded in his political life.
Against predictions, he beat Governor Obiano’s protégée in 2015, to earn the feat of being perhaps the only known legislator flying the flag of an opposition party in an incumbent governor’s constituency in the House of Representatives.
It is against this background of uncertainties that the prospect of surprise would be the most probable outcome of the election.
The only other shock could come also from any of the 37 candidates which is a record for a governorship election.