Anambra State Needs Ikechukwu Obiorah (1)

He is the factor behind Chris Ngige’s success in bringing good governance to the grassroots between 2003-2006; till date, he has been the stabilising force between Governor Peter Obi and the PDP controlled Anambra House of Assembly.

Anambra State Needs Ikechukwu Obiorah (1) by daniel Elombah

As Nigeria prepares for another round of elections beginning with Anambra State in 2010, the citizens of the state should be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

INEC having released the election guidelines for the state, an army of governorship candidates have declared intention to contest the elections, some serious while others are seen as pretenders.

In the PDP, they include Chief Andy Uba, Barrister Kenneth Odidika, Dandison Ugochukwu Okeke, Tony Nnacheta, Emma Anosike, Chuma Nwofor, Osita Ezenwa, Sam Ikefuna, Senator Annie Okonkwo, Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu, Barrister Emeka Agbapuonwu,    Dr Eugene Ezekwueche, Mrs Chika Ibeneme, Okey Muo-Aroh and George Ike Okoye. Others are Professor Dora Akunyili, Comrade Tony Nwoye, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, Dr Alex Obiogbolu, Deacon Benson Okeke, Tony Ezeani, Bridget Obi, Dr Jerry Ugokwe, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Chris Uba, Professor Ilochi Okafor, Princess Mmaegbunam Osita-Agwuna, Chief Osita Chidoka, Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah, Chief Kodilichukwu Okelewe, and Chief Frank Oramulu.

APGA and other political parties parade the incumbent Peter Obi, Emeka Etiaba, Chris Ngige among others.

As if this array of about 70 aspirants is not disconcerting enough, there is a pending suit in the Supreme Court of Nigeria that could still throw a spanner in the works. Chief Andy Ubah has prayed the court to rule that he is a governor in waiting.

Be that as it may, Anambra state needs a governor that will be a clean break from its ignoble past; untainted by corruption, a bridge builder, a reconciliatory grassroots politician, an achiever and a man of the people.

Since the creation of the state in 1992, the state has been manned by chief executives beholden to one god-father of the other; Arthur Eze, Emeka Offor and Chris Ubah.

This prebendal politics led to severe crisis of governance in the state and marred the administration of Chinwoke Mbadinuju, terrorised the regime of Chris Ngige and climaxed in his kidnap and subsequent sack by the Supreme Court.

The present regime of Peter Obi was not spared; denied of his rightful victory by the PDP machine in 2003, he got it back courtesy of dogged legal acrobatics right up to the Supreme Court only to be illegally impeached by the State House of Assembly.

The Supreme Court came to his aid again in 2007 and he was restored to the government House Awka only to be embroiled in a war of attrition with his deputy Virgy Etiaba and her son Emeka who held fort when Peter Obi was fighting to regain his seat after he was impeached.

Till date, Peter Obi, Virgy Etiaba and Emeka Etiaba constitutes a triangular cord that has strangulated governance in the state and choked the neck of Anambra government and has left its citizens gasping for breath – while the chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh, the founder of APGA, Chekwas Okorie and the PDP controlled House of Assembly beats the drum and provides the music for this dance of death.

As I write, the court had given back their Party (APGA) to its founder, Chekwas Okorie; he in turn has expelled the antagonists; Chairman, Victor Umeh and their only governor, Peter Uba from the party. For his part, emeka Etiaba has abandoned the sinking Ship that is APGA and sought refuge in Orji Uzor Kalu’s PPA.

In this macabre dance, no one has bothered to ask Anambrarians; what do you want?

The PDP itself has not fared any better. After Andy Uba was ousted from power, the Nwoye-led executive of the party was sacked and a peace and reconciliation committee led by Professor Jerry Gana was set up to douse the grouse of the members. It came and failed.

A congress that ensued saw Nwoye teaming up with Senator Annie Okonkwo, who is eyeing the seat of governor come 2010. The camp did not conduct the congress following a court order obtained by Prince Ken Emeakayi. But the Bright Nebedum camp loyal to Andy Uba conducted its congress under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Honourable Anayo Nnebe.

Later, the party set up the Chuma Nwofor-led congress committee to conduct the congress within one month. But crisis trailed it. While it set out to carry out its assignment, the Nwobodo Congress Monitoring Committee came and hijacked its assignment, forcing Nwofor to cry out. His petition, though acknowledged, did not save him his office as he was sacked.

A fresh congress was being planned when the national leadership of the party felt the crisis had gone beyond resolution and restored the Emordi-led executive.

While Emordi preached peace and reconciliation, the Ukachukwu camp, to which Ifeatu Obi-Okoye belogs, claimed it was the authentic state executive and called for the rejection of the Emordi group.  Obi-Okoye went to court and was restored but the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP refused to abide by the order, and insisted on Emordi, a loyalist of Chris Uba.

The Ifeatu Obi-Okoye-led faction loyal to Ukachukwu rejected Emordi’s return insisting that “the NWC’s recognition of the Emordi-led executive in Anambra state is totally unacceptable.

“That the said Emordi-led executive was dissolved in 2006 by the NWC and the NEC [National Executive Council] for fraud and grave antiparty activities, and that Emordi and some members of his said executive were expelled from the party by the NEC.

In their opinion: The “Emordi and majority of the members of his executive decamped from PDP and joined Democratic People’s Party (DPP) in 2007, of which Emordi was made chairman.

“That the Emordi-led executive was nullified by the Ogidi High court on December 21, 2005, and that Ekwuluobia High court in 2008 delivered judgment which declared the Obi Okoye-led executive as the authentic existing PDP executive in Anambra pending the state congress and that this judgment still exists.

“That PDP stands the chance of not wining any single election in Anambra state if the Emordi executive is allowed to lead PDP in the state.

“That we call on the NWC to work with Professor Jerry Gana’s report and conduct free and transparent congress in Anambra or, in the alternative, recognise the Obi Okoye-led executive pending congress as contained in the court judgment”.

But the national leadership of the party insisted on Emordi and, on the occasion of a stakeholders’ meeting of the party, Chris Uba attended and restated PDP’s resolve to recapture power in 2010.

According to Uba, while addressing party supporters, “In 2003, Ngige came in and the problem began and since then, there had been one problem or the other …I am not cut out to be a governor. I am cut out to be a king maker…I want to assure you that PDP has come to stay in Anambra. The only reason why there appears to be confusion in the party is due to the selfish interest of the governorship aspirants and elected people who want to retain their positions.  

“For now, we have decided to hand over the party to a true politician. The last time a true politician led this state was when Mbadinuju was governor…God has placed this party in my hands”.

However, Emeka Agbapuonwu, a one-time South-East Zonal Financial Secretary of the PDP, accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of sowing the seed of crisis and discord in the party in the state.

According to Agbapuonwu: “This undemocratic PDP foisted on Anambra state by Chief Obasanjo created a situation similar to what we have in Afghanistan: almost all the political heavy weights went into the trench with their supporters using other political parties as a smokescreen to fight PDP.  Each warlord carved out a territory, spoiling for a fight. That is Anambra state for you. Each time nominations or primary elections were supposed to come up; each of these warlords would produce his own list which would be sent to the national headquarters for harmonisation.

“This takes the place of an election. This is the situation in which PDP in the state unfortunately finds itself. This is why an intra-party election is hard to succeed in the state.  Unless all these warlords and their foot-soldiers are dismantled, disarmed and discouraged from political militancy, PDP will never have a credible nomination process or internal democracy…I have always believed that the greatest problem PDP has is putting its house in order. PDP’s greatest opponent is PDP itself. If PDP is able to install internal democracy and allow popular candidates to emerge and be able to midwife a credible nomination process for the governorship candidates, nothing will stop its occupation of Government House Awka in 2010; but if it fails [to do that], its candidates and members will scatter to other parties and mount opposition to it.”     

But while the Emordi-led State Executive loyal to Chris Uba is still battling not only a credibility problem but also the opposition of the Nebedum-Andy Uba group as well as the threat of the Ukachukwu-Obi-Okoye and the Okonkwo-Nwoye factions, a surprise pact was made. Obi-Okoye dumped Ukachukwu, threw in the towel, and supported the Emordi-led group. But Emeakayi said Obi-Okoye was on his own.

As the PDP version of the dance of death was being enacted, rumours started making the rounds that the APGA governor, Mr Peter Obi, is being wooed to join the party and run as the PDP governorship candidate in 2010.

That was abandoned when it became apparent that a section of the PDP wanted to impose Chukwuma Soludo the erstwhile governor of the Central Bank on the people of Anambra state again!

Now that the PDP executive has finally resolved to extricate themselves from this Anenih-Turai-Soludo scheme of imposition, and ruled in favour of open primaries, it is time for the PDP delegates to prepare to choose their candidate in the primaries.

When doing that they should bear the interest of Anambra people in mind and remember this:

Throughout the scenario as sketched above, one politician has been there from the beginning but has managed to stay above the fray- He tried to reconcile Mbadinuju and Emeka Offor/Chris Uba between 1999-2003; He subjected personal ambition to the wider interest of Anambra State and shunned chris Uba’s poisoned chalice in 2003 and refused to contest against Mbadinuju; He is the factor behind Chris Ngige’s success in bringing good governance to the grassroots between 2003-2006; till date, he has been the stabilising force between Peter Obi and the PDP controlled Anambra House of Assembly.

Very few people are aware of these facts because this gentleman operates behind the scenes and does not blow his trumpet- enter Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah (PDP) Anambra-South!

To be continued