November 12, 2021

The Anambra election in retrospect

One day, one trouble

By Adekunle Adekoya

WATCHERS of the Nigerian political landscape, like me, must have heaved a huge sigh of relief with the successful conclusion, warts and all, of the Anambra State governorship election. It was an unusual election for a number of reasons.

First, the election itself is off-cycle. Anambra began the off-cycle journey after Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju lost the endorsement of his party for a second term in 2003. Dr. Chris Ngige, then of PDP and now of APC got the ticket, while businessman, Mr. Peter Obi, ran on the APGA platform then.

Ngige got to Government House Awka, while Obi, displeased with the election outcome, went to court. Finally, the courts sacked Ngige and Obi became governor. As a result, Anambra went off-cycle.

Second, Anambra, an integral part of the South-East found itself, like other states in the zone, in the dilemma of having to deal with a non-state actor that is assuming the status of a sovereign, in addition to the de facto and de jure sovereign called Nigeria.

Third, in less than 24 months from where we are, the entire South-East, hitherto considered peaceful, once again lost its innocence. Violence on a scale not seen since the civil war became the order of the day. In addition to murderous rampages by herdsmen, terror was unleashed on the region by armed bands now known as Unknown Gunmen.

Fourth, non-state actors seemed to have decided to use the election as another ace up their sleeve in the furtherance of desired objectives.

Thus, it was being feared that the election might not hold.

Fifth, a series of killings and arson targeting the Police, Prisons and the election umpire itself, INEC, was creating the atmosphere of anarchy under which an election might not be feasible.

So, it is fit and proper not just to be relieved that it went well, we deserve, as a collective, a pat on the back that it got done; the implications of that election failing are too dire to contemplate.

A number of opportunities for Nigeria and the South-East in particular to reset, realign trajectories and re-focus energies emerge with the conduct of the election..

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On the part of the Federal Government, there is  a need to reiterate that the unemployment situation in the country has assumed emergency status, and that did not happen yesterday. It also did not begin with this administration.

Alongside the state governments in the zone, sustainable job creation initiatives that will not just be launched but be seen to be working must be embarked on.

Those in place but flailing must be reinvigorated. If youths are purposefully engaged, it will be easier to deal with the other headache that has turned into migraine – insecurity.

For the people of the South-East, I urge structured re-engagements with the youths and the non-state actors in the zone.

A number of organisations have particular responsibility in this regard and they include Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Aka Ikenga, Alaigbo, Association of South-East Town Unions, ASETU, and others.

They must rise to the task and adopt a multi-layer approach towards productively engaging the youths.

Cross River’s comic bombast did it again

THE Friday, October 22, edition of this column zeroed on Cross River State, where the governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has been entertaining his people, the rest of Nigeria and the whole world with the verbose christening of annual budgets.

From the Budget of Kinetic Crystallisation, to the Budget of Qabalistic Densification, succeeded by the Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis, the 2022 appropriation bill for Cross River State is called the Budget of Conjugated Agglutination. If hoods make monks, these “high-falutin” budget names should turn Cross River into eldorado.

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