The contest for Anambra a Government House in 2017 is set at "on your marks" By November Anambra electorate must make a choice. It will not be an easy choice. The contenders are many, plus the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano. But only one person will emerge.
The political contest is very complex, because the incumbent is no longer the choice of a majority of Anambra people, not even in his Anambra North zone, where there is united opposition based on the wish to save Anambra North mandate. The quartet of Tony Nwoye, Chike Obidigbo, Oseloka H. Obaze and Alex Obiogbolu are contesting, convinced that Obiano has failed the northern zone, the state and the south-east zone.
They Anambra north politicians attribute his poor governance record, to lack of experience, lack accountability and vision and lack of humility. They cite that his cousin Prince Chinedu Idigo abandoned him and APGA, is a confirmation of his governance failing. Summarily, they are of the view that Anambra cannot accept the ongoing development and politics setback.
Also, recently Anambra North People's Assembly (ANPA) held a meeting at Oyi, recently, Hon Uchenna Okafor, "Wiper" reportedly the gathering that "if one candidate emerges from Anambra North Obiano is gone." Such admission is a cause for great concern. Meanwhile, members of his Willie Support Group are realigning quietly and underground.
Anambra North politicians are not alone. Political stalwarts from the south and central zone realizes Obiano's weakness and lack of support from the home front. They plan to capitalize on that. So Andy Uba, Ifeanyi Uzor, Godwin Ezeemo and Osita Chidoka are are set to join the fray. So Obiano is challenged.
The stakeholder are playing coy. They note that Obiano beyond building three flyovers in Awka and claiming to improve on security has not done as much as Peter Obi. Their quiet complaints are legion. The Anambra school ratings continue to fall. The roads are littered with potholed and not news roads have been built. The Enguukwu bypass which he flagged off has been abandoned.
A disenchanted Catholic priest, who is also school principal and manager in Anaocha Local Government area said, "Anambra state schools have not received additional funds, buses or computers. Yet Obiano wants to collect waste management IGR from schools. The governor hardly visit our schools and hospitals. He is lighting streets when homes in Anambra don't have light and the intensive care unit and emergency room in Amaku Teaching hospital had no light for several months." The churches are also not happy. In three years, Obiano is said not to have visited flagship mission hospitals like Borromoe Hospital in Onitsha and Iyienuu Hospital in Ogidi.
Inside the ruling APGA party there is trouble brewing. Chief Victor Umeh embattled former chairman reportedly told Obiano's spiritual adviser Fr John Manafa that "Obiano can kiss a second term goodbye". Insiders complain that Obiano in now "the is the emperor, the judge, the jury'" having assumed the role of governor, party leader and BOT chair. They also complain the the BOT has never been inaugurated or held a meeting. APGA grassroots and many communities that voted for him because Peter Obi told them to, feel totally abandoned.
"Obiano has failed period," said one Ohanaeze chieftain. "He has never engaged us. He has never engaged his fellow southeast governors. He won't attend governor forum meetings except he's is made chairman. What arrogance?"
Of those challenging Obiano, several possess governance credentials that well outstrip Obiano's. Beside that fact that he was a compromise candidate, many believe that he was most unprepared and unsuited to be governor, a fact he has since proven. As Alex Obiogbolu told a national daily, The Sun, recently, “His party had to disqualify everyone to make sure he emerged. His emergence was not the will of the people, it is rather the imposition of one man, which he knows and acknowledges."
Many people are rooting for Oseloka H. Obaze, who many had believed to be the anointed before Obiano's emergence. He recently joined the fray of the politics, that had reportedly been approached by several parties to be their flag bearer. Obaze is focused on issues not personalities. Besides joining the contest to salvage Anambra North mandate, he has pointed to glaring leadership and governance failings.
As he told a Church newspaper recently, in Anambra "perceptibly, there may be signs of progress, but in quantum, how many kilometers of new roads have we added since 2014; go and look at how many new roads and projects that were abandoned after flag off. Have the existing roads been properly maintained, despite the “zero pothole” mantra? I will let you and the Anambra electorate be the judge."
It will be recalled that during the presentation of Obaze's books last June, Chike Obidigbo publicly blamed Peter Obi for foisting Obiano on Anambra, and said that Anambra would have been better off, if he had presented Obaze as the successor.
Obiano's albatross is that many consider him an ingrate, who did not keep his promise of “Continuity, Complete, Commence and Commission new projects”, but has failed to implement his purported blueprint, which was adapted from Obaze's platform, which Peter Obi personally handed to him to modify and use as his campaign platform. A present commissioner in his administration was given the task of redrafting the Obaze compact paper for Obiano's use.
While the Obidogbo camp is pushing the "correction mantras" and the Obiogbulu camp the "Oganiru Anambra" slogan, Obaze insists like Ezeemo, that "Anambra cand do better and deserves better." In all, while the four challengers remain close and friends united by a common mission, they seem bent on relieving Obiano of his mandate, either collectively or individually. But the greatest threat to Obiano is that most of his loyalist already have either APC or PDP cards in their back pockets. The emperor stands alone, but unaware.