By Emmanuel Aziken
It was the belief in some quarters that leading lights of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the Southeast received the decision of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB to call-off the one week stay at home order to have taken off yesterday with mixed feelings
The decision meant that voters in Anambra State now have the opportunity to come out to cast their votes according to their conscience. How that conscience would lead them to vote under the present dispensation given the lopsidedness of the appointments and other goodwill from the present leadership of the country is one that cannot be further imagined.
The argument against the stay-at-home was one that was fiercely pushed by some of the leading symphatisers of the banned group. In their argument, they claimed that boycotting the election would allow President Muhammadu Buhari to give them a governor he so desires.
The APC candidate, Senator Andy Uba had emerged from the shadows amid allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the APC primaries. His bounce after the primary election was increased following the large-scale defections of some of the major players in the state.
How Andy and APC were able to win over many political actors has been the oil of many rummour mills especially in the State House of Assembly.
However, a campaign spokesman firmly denied the claim that the defections were achieved with the exchange of N100 million per legislator. If Andy Uba had that much money, then why the noise over his alleged indebtedness to Heritage Bank, one was quick to ask.
Andy Uba became a factor after the defections not necessarily on account of his promises. Indeed, for those of us who missed the television debate, we have been unable to hear him speak. Andy doesn’t talk much but operates especially from the background.
His influence over the years in the background enabled him to position many of today’s leading actors, who it is claimed, worked to ensure his emergence as the candidate of the APC. If he so wins today’s election whether his loyalty will be to the people who worked for his emergence or the voters is another thing.
Well, one man who has been very visible and heard time and time again is Prof. Charles Soludo, the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Soludo and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Valentine Ozigbo are about the two most known eggheads standing in the election of today.
Soludo, however, has the albatross of his linkage with the outgoing governor, Chief Willie Obiano, whose testimonial is anything but glorious.
Indeed, one prominent Anambarian while noting the global pathway in which many of those who served the Olusegun Obasanjo government moved on to, – Okonjo Iweala (WTO), Akin Adesina (AfDB), Ezekwesili (World Bank) and so on. He, however, noted that Soludo has since he left the Central Bank been hanging around Obiano!
Ozigbo, the PDP candidate who like Soludo also has the potential to redress the economic potentials of the state is, however, handicapped by the divisions that led to his emergence.
The failure of the Uche Secondus led national leadership to promptly address the disruption thrown up by Secondus’ friend, Chief Chris Uba was perhaps the greatest undoing of the party in Anambra.
That slip was compounded by the impression that Peter Obi overrode the interests of everyone to foist Ozigbo as candidate.
Not surprisingly, many party grandees abandoned the party’s candidate. Joy Emodi left the party and was soon followed by Stella Oduah, though for other reasons.
Chief Olisa Metuh has kept mum, and Ozigbo who ordinarily should be the candidate to beat limps like an abandoned orphan.
Obiora Okonkwo who left the PDP on account of the happenings in the PDP after the primaries is another good candidate.
His emergence as the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP gives him the advantage of being the only major candidate from outside Anambra South.
However, there are worries that his emergence could disrupt a zoning system that moves the governorship round the three senatorial districts.
Some have described his campaign for the office as a matter of desperation, but those behind him say that he is best positioned to deliver the state from where Peter Obi left it.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, the candidate of the Young Progressives Party, YPP until the emergence of other strongmen from Anambra South looked good.
Indeed, very good. His popularity among the youths is awesome. However, many say that his impressions are limited to Nnewi.
There is little doubt that he will sweep Nnewi today. But beyond that, his imprint will be limited especially given recent business combats he has had even with some of his Nnewi senior brothers who would be fearful of arming him with political power.
How Andy Uba in the last weeks came to be projected as the leading candidate is also reflective of the desire by some within the Southeast to push for the APC to present itself for consideration in the 2023 presidential sweepstake.
But the fact is that many of those pushing for a president of Southeast president even within the APC are against Andy Uba’s emergence as governor!