APGA’s Rebound And Anambra 2013 Gubernatorial Poll
In Nigerian parlance, the import of the popular saying: 'There is no killing the beetle,' has long overtaken its original design for the promotion of a certain automobile brand whose presence on Nigerian roads today serves more as a vestige of its appeal. In the country's party politics, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, appears more fitted to adopt that sobriquet which defines defiance to extinction. APGA has proved itself the 'cat with nine lives'.
It has repeatedly survived perilous wrangles that threatened its being. The party's capacity to bounce back, when hope of its survival seems lost, marks APGA out as one never to be written off in the context of the present-day Nigerian politics. The records hold that each time the party survives an internal disputation, a landmark electoral victory awaits it.
Even while still grappling with the treachery of its founding Chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie; in 2006, it set the precedence of unseating a serving governor in Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige, and had its candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, inaugurated in his stead. And as Chekwas tugged to entrench himself into reckoning by either reclaiming or recriminating the party, APGA again delivered Governor Peter Obi in the February 6, 2010 Anambra gubernatorial poll.
Theirs, therefore, has been a history of conflicts, strains and progress: a totem of the resilient spirit of the Igbos. The All Progressives Grand Alliance indeed commands immense appeal in the South East of Nigeria. Ndigbo see it as a veritable platform through which, in league with the complementary association of their federating kith, they seek adequate participation in the making of a virile Nigeria state.
But as traditional to APGA as conflict might appear, the last hiccup in its fold between its unyielding National Chairman,
Chief Victor Umeh and the pragmatic Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, each spotting a retinue of influential party stake-holders could pass for the mother of conflicts. With the major characters in the making and sustenance of the party drawn against one another in strenuous legal battles for its soul, political analysts had waited by the flanks for APGA's Nunc Dimittis. But to the consternation of few mischief hawkers and to the delight of the great majority of interest groups in APGA politics, the party again coalesced to forge ahead as an invincible family. According to the National Chairman of the Party, Chief Victor Umeh, the courtesy call of the Executive Council of the party which he led to Governor Peter Obi on Monday, 29 July, 2013 marked the crystallization and the consummation of the heightened undercurrent reconciliation processes that had pervaded the party particularly in the past few weeks.
Given the high stake of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in the fast approaching Anambra gubernatorial poll in November, 2013, the warmth of this reunion as a reinvigoration of the party's electoral prowess is instructive. Now, while APGA faithful enthusiastically look forward to a vibrant gubernatorial primary election for the party's flag bearer in November election, other parties who hoped to undermine the party, had the reconciliation failed, are brooding over the formidable strength of a unified APGA. Governor Obi amplified the readiness of APGA to trounce all the other parties at the Local Government and gubernatorial polls when, at the reconciliation parley, he confidently declared that 'Anambra State is APGA and nobody will take it'. Of course, Mr. Obi's exemplary developmental strides in Anambra State remain the most creditable capital that APGA will present to the electorate when the campaigns resume. And it is for these that APGA continues to muster the interest and support of the cream of Ndi-Anambra and Ndigbo who look up to the party for the rectification of their bruised political holdings in the country. Little wonder then their anxiety when the party nearly went under due to tortuous misgivings among the leadership.
It is gratifying to see Professor Chukwuma Soludo not only decamping to APGA but establishing firm interest in vying for the Anambra gubernatorial seat under the party. The likes of Professor Soludo in APGA surely improves the profile of the party; and his participation in the chase for Governor Obi's seat is as pleasant to the character of APGA as it might appear disconcerting to some persons therein. Without prejudice to his candidature, Soludo's introduction in the equation of APGA's primary election, no doubt a genuine problem, will task the ingenuity and fair-mindedness of the delegates who nonetheless are expected to critically digest the puzzle before the election. It hikes the stakes for whoever gets APGA's ticket and whoever goes ahead to assume Governor Obi's seat come March, 2014.
As interests continue to soar in the Anambra gubernatorial election, queuing some distance behind Mr. Oseloka Obaze, the Secretary to the State Government, are many aspirants who have expressed diverse reasons for seeking residence in the Government House. The trend tends more to Anambra North Senatorial Zone which has not produced the state governor since Anambra was created on August 29, 1991. This zone has been greatly encouraged by Governor Obi's counsel on Ndi-Anambra to recognize equity in the choice of his successor.
Given the stellar performance of Mr. Obaze in the discharge of his duties as the SSG and given his enviable pedigree as a career diplomat with an uncommon proclivity for effective service and teamwork, it will be surprising if the people's gaze misses him. Mr. Oseloka Obaze surely fits the equity scheme as he hails from Ogbaru Local Government Area in Anambra North Senatorial Zone of Anambra State. It is my humble submission however that the choice of who will sustain and consolidate the flagship gains of Governor Peter Obi's administration in Anambra State resides solely with the Anambra electorate.
Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu