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(Part two) 2014: The Boys are Separated from the Men

By Ifeanyi Hygers Igwebuike

In last week's edition I x-rayed the profiles and chances of three guber candidates namely Tony Nwoye, Chris Ngige and Godwin Ezeemo. Like I stated they were chosen on the basis of their seriousness as against others who merely put up billboards (if any) and posters. The concluding part comes in this edition with Ifeanyi Hygers Igwebuike, Ifeanyi Ubah and Willie Obiano coming under the spot light.

At the beginning of the present campaign Hygers was among the first to come out with billboards and posters and sustained this trend. It soon became clear he was seriously in the race as his campaign train began to traverse the nooks and crannies of the state.

He started on the platform of Congress for Democratic Change (CPC) which was affiliated with the All Progressives Congress (APC) but after the intrigues that characterised APC's primary election he moved to Accord Party.

Hygers was the immediate past chairman of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement in his parish in Lagos and thus prides himself as a good Catholic Christian. An ex-army officer who retired as captain Hygers wants to bring his army discipline and religious background to bear in his governance of Anambra State.

He has been prosecuting his campaign in a quiet, dignified style and comes across as a man who has respect for others.

Strengths: he is a self-made man who relies on no one to fund his campaign. An estate developer he is equipped financially for the contest and has made no enemies so far.

Weaknesses: he is a one man squad and has no identifiable political base and structure and is in a party many people do not know about and thus will find it difficult to make a big impact. But his biggest obstacle is the issue of his candidacy. INEC gave recognition to another candidate, a development Hygers initially described as a mix-up but still finding difficult to clear with INEC as at the time of this write up.

Verdict: Hygers has always said he is not desperate to be governor and may have to show proof of that by the way he takes his likely unsuccessful attempt to realize his ambition; at least for now.

An oil magnet, he came into national consciousness through his kerosene distribution scheme known as Kero-Direct which he did by selling the product to people at a subsidized rate of N50. He soon used it as a launch pad for his political aspiration.

He first joined APGA and later dumped it for Labour Party when he found it too hot to have his way.

A man of money Ubah, is believed to have initially made his wealth in Congo through his alliance with then President Kabilla before going into oil and gas.

However his foray into politics has seemingly put his business into trouble as his detractors allege he borrowed massively to fund his election. They use his face off with Cosmas Maduka of the Coscharis fame as an example. Ubah is believed to owe over N20 billion to Coscharis which includes his said inability to pay for vehicles bought from the company to facilitate his campaign.

His company has also hit a rough patch after being taken over by AMCON although Ubah claims he gave it to them to manage for him. But either way, his opponents want to know why he cannot manage his company but hopes to manage a complex state like Anambra.

Strengths: he has a lot of cash to throw about and in a society where poverty and hunger are rife, many people are queuing up to have a share of his cake.

Weaknesses: it is obvious many of those milling around him do so not because they like him or believe in him but because of his money as he is the only candidate who appears willing to spend. Again it is believed he is investing on the wrong people as many of them are not even known in their towns not to talk of delivering their constituencies.

But by far his biggest Achilles heel is his constant tangles with EFCC that have seen him visit them often. He is the only candidate to have issues with EFCC and many people would rather believe something is really wrong as there is no smoke without fire.

His academic background is also a minus as he is said to have NECO as his qualification as published by INEC.

His inclination of throwing money to people in the streets is seen as irresponsible and a bad example to youths. Thus quite a few people see him as a wrong role model.

Verdict: Ubah's many controversies will do him more harm than good in this election, with his academic qualification being the nailer. It is the view of many people that Anambra cannot be governed at this time and age by somebody with such a qualification and controversial background. Like Nwoye of PDP, this election appears too big for Ubah despite his money.

If you love Peter Obi's achievements, support me. This is certainly the mantra of Chief Willie Obiano of APGA. He emerged virtually from the blues after the disqualification of some heavy weight candidates at APGA's screening exercise. Overnight he was drafted in as the governor's favourite and with the machinery of government won at the party's primary.

He today enjoys the support of all but two of those disqualified and all those he beat at the primary, including Oseloka Obaze, Uche Ekwunife, Chinedu Idigo, Patrick Obianwu, Nnacheta, Odenigbo, etc.

He comes from Anambra North, a zone favoured by APGA for the guber slot as they have never had a shot at it.

Obiano has perhaps the richest and most credible background of all the candidates. He was auditor for a multi-national company, Texaco, worldwide and rose to the second highest position at Fidelity Bank in Nigeria in which he served without blemish. Only a credible personality can hold such positions, his supporters will always point out.

Strengths: he is perceived as a lucky fellow by being in what many see as the right party, APGA. The support he enjoys by the governor also counts heavily in his favour as he already used it to emerge victorious at the party primary.

Weaknesses: he is seen as new to the political terrain of Anambra attend his opponents describe him as Obi's stooge, having come from same bank and secondary school as Obi.

Verdict: despite his opponents' position Obiano looks the man to beat in this election as he is the clear favourite of many people. He enjoys not just the support of the government but that of the traditional institution and politicians as can be seen from the influx of many powerful politicians from other parties to APGA. He also is believed to be tacitly supported by the Church on account of Obi's relationship with it.

Barring the unforeseen, Obiano should win but it is unclear if it will be on the first ballot, at least for now.

Forecast: My Top Three
I will stick out my neck and predict my top three candidates in their winning order and why I have chosen them. My decision has been borne out of a very careful and objective analysis of their activities and rating by people.

Winner: Willie Obiano
Only a biased and jaundiced Anambrarian will dispute the fact that APGA's candidate Willie Obiano is the most favoured to become Gov Peter Obi's successor come March 17 next year and this is why he will win.

He has a solid home base in Anambra North even though as at the time of this report PDP still had Tony Nwoye who is also from the north as their candidate. The fact is that the unpredictable scenario in PDP's candidature which keeps changing by the day has made even the most fanatical of its supporters in the north to start looking the way of Obiano as their best bet of ensuring that the north produces the governor for the first time. Besides when it comes to comparison Nwoye cannot match Obiano's experience, exposure, personality and credentials. Again even if Nwoye were the north's sole candidate he is not likely to make any impact outside his zone like Obiano will do.

Thus Obiano will not only get majority of the votes in the north but will seriously challenge others elsewhere. He will expectedly sweep the stakes in Anaocha, Obi's strong hold, and get at least 80% of the votes in the central. He will also get the majority of the votes in the Aguata, Orumba and Ihiala axis in the south while hoping for a fair share of the spoils in Nnewi axis. These votes will be enough to guarantee him victory.

Runner Up: Chris Ngige
As I mentioned in my analysis of Ngige he is a one man Ijele but strong enough to give anyone a run for their money. But I do not see him doing much magic outside his Idemili strong hold as his aura seems to be diminishing daily with the many controversies trailing him, the latest being his scuffle with a priest. He will however be strong enough to retain his base but it won't be enough to help him realize his burning ambition to be Anambra's governor.

Third: Ifeanyi Ubah
I tip Ubah to come third on the basis of the strength of his pocket. He has no identifiable political base as even in Nnewi where he comes from will not guarantee him exclusive votes. Nnewi votes will be split among Ngige, Ubah and Obiano and when a politician does not dominate his base it becomes difficult for him to go far.

Thus except a miracle happens the above is my forecast for the November 16 poll.

Readers' reactions are welcome.