By Chike Amaechi
There is a question that you hear everywhere in Anambra state now. It is whether Senator Andy Uba will rule the state again as governor.
And the continuous echoes of this question is not actually surprising. Senator Andy as he is fondly called by political allies and admirers across the country had won the Anambra state Governorship election in 2007 in a landslide victory and was sworn on May 27, 2007.
But the people of Anambra were stunned when on June 14, 2007, barely two weeks and three days after his swearing-in, Senator Andy Uba was removed from office by a judgement of the Supreme Court.
It was a judgement that spurred uproar in many quarters across the nation because many legal minds argued that the apex court, at that time, had no jurisdiction over the case. Senator Uba, at the end, however, accepted the sad development and congratulated his opponent, Peter Obi, who became the bonafide governor.
But of critical importance is the fact that Senator Uba was not removed because of election malpractices or for some insidious reason. The final court held that the tenure of then-incumbent governor, Peter Obi, of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, had not expired.
What this translated to therefore was that the election in which Senator Uba emerged victoriously was null and void because INEC conducted it in contravention of the law. Since then the soft-spoken Senator from Ugah in Anambra South Senatorial District has made tenacious efforts, albeit to no avail, to reclaim the top political job in his state.
In April 2011 however, he won the Senatorial election to represent his District and has done two terms. Now, he is said to be getting ready to contest the governorship position once again under the All Progressives Congress, APC. The question now being asked is, ” what are the chances of this Senator ? Can he win the APC primary election ?
Many political analysts and close observers of the trends in Anambra politics have claimed that Senator Uba represents the ominous failing of Igbo politics beyond party lines. These observers held the opinion that if Ndigbo understood the nature of Nigerian politics, they would have come together and voted Senator Uba for a third term as a Senator.
That way, he would have been in a solid position to emerge the Deputy Senate President, DSP, as a ranking Senator. This, the analysts believe, would have raised the profile of the Igbo man in the leadership arena of the current Fourth Republic.
That too would have reduced the number of Aspirants currently jostling for the governorship position. The Senator was said to have visited some of the most prominent members of APC in Anambra state and other states in the South-east to appeal for their support and to illuminate the advantages of returning him as a Senator.
Unfortunately, the people had a different mindset or did not probably grasp his political sermons. And so both Anambra and Ndigbo lost the chance to occupy the position of the DSP.
As the Anambra Governorship election comes up on November 6, 2021, questions are therefore being asked about the best man to fly the APC’s flag for the governorship election. And, in particular, whether this Senator will finally reclaim his voided mandate.
The party has already thrown its gates open for Anambra political titans in APC,
Aspirants ready to pick the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms, both costing N2.5million and N20million respectively.
And they have between April 15 and June 8 to pick and return the forms while the primary election to pick the party’s candidate has been fixed for June 26, 2021, and that’s according to Prof Al-Mustapha Medaner, the APC Director of Organisation.
Like everything Igbo political contest, this one will be intense. The crowd of aspirants says it all. They include Senator Andy Uba, Rev Godwin Okonkwo,Engr George Moghalu, Chief Paul Orajiaka, Ben Etiaba, Hon Azuka Okwuosa and Dr Igwebuike Hygers among many others.
So, which Aspirant can APC produce that has the experience, antecedents and robust clout to assure APC’s first victory in Anambra governorship polls. Perhaps one can mention Senator Andy Uba, Engr Moghalu and Hon Azuka Okwuosa as some of the outstanding figures within the crowd and possess the experience and grit to lead a state like Anambra.
Professor Chukwuemeka Onyisi, a Professor of Political Science and International Relations based in the United States and a staunch supporter of APC bared his mind on this all-important question of the best of the Aspirants. In his words, ” there are some interesting Aspirants from what I have heard and read, people that will make good candidates.
But, you see, Anambra is a very tough terrain. It’s not a place that you just speak English or because you are brilliant people will run to vote for you. No, it takes more than that. You need to have serious clout both in Anambra and beyond. You must be able to mobilise solid Nigerians to support your campaign if you emerge as the candidate.
And that is why I will pick Andy Uba and Moghalu. But if I have to support one Aspirant, it has to be Senator Andy Uba. He is not my friend and I have never met him one on one though I met him with a few other people at Aso Rock Villa in Abuja in those days.
He was a Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Matters to President Obasanjo for eight solid years. Obasanjo, I can tell you for free, was a tough leader, an unpredictable guy. If Andy could survive eight years with that man, then you must know he is well-groomed for leadership.
Listen, he travelled everywhere with that man for eight good years and attended to all classes of guests from all over the world that visited President Obasanjo at his home in the Villa. I saw how calm this guy was, how posh.
He attended to all without problems at all. That shows absolute discipline, great experience and all. And he has met people and cultivated friendship across Nigeria and beyond”, the Professor narrated.
“That is the kind of guy APC needs to go and win Anambra state, take it from me, this is my terrain”, he added with a confident smile.
Sharing Professor Onyisi’s position, Chukwuma Okaro, a business magnate, spoke extensively about Senator Uba’s experience as a Senator. ” Listen my friend “, he said,
” if APC wants to win Anambra election they need to look at the direction of Senator Uba. See, you have to go to the National Assembly to see his contributions at the Senate. I like him because he is not a noise maker. He is respected nationwide. And I am not saying he may not have some flaws ; of course, he does, but I can tell you he will be a solid candidate for APC . He can bring that long awaited victory for the party
“, he added. ” You need a lot of experience and personal contacts to make a serious impact in Anambra state and Andy has been there. People have seen he is a simple man, very calm , kind and humble. So, they’ve come to love him. I think he is ready for the contest as a candidate. But APC will have to give him the ticket first “, he concluded.
For Dr Victoria Eze , an Abuja based medical practitioner and indigene of Anambra state, Sen Andy Uba , Chief Orajiaka and Ben Etiaba are good candidates. ” But I still think Senator Andy Uba stands out. He has the experience and fiscal capability to fight hard and most likely win. A lot of people admire him , unlike that other brother of his they call Esele , yes, Chris Uba”, she added.
As the date for the governorship primary election approaches fast, the people of Anambra and indeed Nigerians are waiting curiously to see that Aspirant that will eventually emerge as the ruling party’s candidate for the November 6 Anambra governorship election. Will it be that governor that became a victim of a judicial pronouncement?
Can Senator Andy Uba return for his unfinished assignment?
Time ticks and it will surely be a witness.