APGA UK Hails Chief Willie Obiano’s Victory And Says: 'APGA, Time For More Work'

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Chief Willie Obiano

The race for who replaces Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, which became more pronounced few months ago with the flag-off of campaigns by different political parties came to a successful end last Sunday, December 1, 2013. That was the day the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as the duly-elected governor of Anambra despite all the controversies that were woven around the election.

In declaring Obiano winner of the poll at the INEC headquarters in Awka, the state capital, the INEC Returning Officer for the exercise, Prof. James Epoke, said Obiano led other contestants in 19 of the 21 local government areas in the state, scoring 180,178 votes to emerge the winner.

Epoke said Obiano met the 25 per cent constitutional requirement in two-thirds of the total votes cast in 19 of the 21 local government areas in the state. He equally unveiled what the other popular parties and their candidates scored during the contest. For example, Tony Nwoye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 97,500; Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had 95,963 and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party (LP) got 37,495 to come second, third and fourth respectively.

Before the November 30, 2013 supplementary poll, which the trio of APC, PDP and LP candidates threatened boycott, Obiano had scored 174,710 votes in the November 16, 2013 election to be in the lead, while Nwoye got 94,956 votes, Ngige 92,300, and Ubah 37,446.

On Monday, December 2, 2013, Obiano was handed over his Certificate of Return in Awka by the INEC Federal Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Abia and Benue states, Lawrence Nwuruku, a development which also signalled that the Commission is now prepared to defend the emergence of the APGA candidate in the election with or without the controversy trailing the poll continuing, particularly as the APC threatened court action.

My concern (and I think that should be the concern of so many others) is not about the candidates and their parties that have headed or preparing to head for the courts. That should be expected, of course, particularly in a country like ours where it is difficult to concede victory during elections. But let it be known that none of the candidates, including those who probably did not score up to 200 votes went into the contest to fail. I must confess that most of the candidates who participated in the election were as qualified as Obiano, who eventually carried the day.

Whether Ngige, Ubah, Nwoye, Godson Okoye or others, they were all men who have made marks in their different callings, and I think their parties would not have been stupid to hand over their flags to them if they did not see anything good in them or, simply put, the potential to win the election.

Success, really, is difficult to manage. In fact, it is more difficult to manage success than failure. And I think managing the success that the just-concluded governorship poll in Anambra thrust in the hands of APGA should be of utmost concern to the leadership of the party. APGA chairman, Victor Umeh, has even acknowledged that much when he told yours truly during the week that there is more work to do now than had been done because of the Anambra election. And I agree with him wholesale.

Suffice it to say that there should be a resolve that APGA must cease to be a party comfortable controlling only one state. Luckily, those who have sympathy for APGA, mainly the Igbo, see it as a way of life (a religion).

And that is why I am glad the way Obiano has started. While being led to pay tribute to the late APGA leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimugwu Ojukwu at his Nnewi residence shortly after he was declared winner, Obiano not only recognised the role the duo of Obi and Umeh played in ensuring that the party won the poll, but invited all Anambra people to see his victory as victory for all and in the interest of the state.

Those who witnessed the campaign flag-off of APGA in Awka like yours sincerely knew it would be difficult to defeat the party, more so with the power of incumbency fully in place. Though the PDP, APC and LP put up very strong fight, it would have amounted to entering into a strong man's house to plunder his goods.

From every indication, Obi has demonstrated that the dexterity with which one approaches business can also be applied to politics. That is why the less interest he shows to issues career politicians die for, the more result he gets. That will be an issue for another day.

Perhaps, history would not have forgiven Obi if he failed to reconcile with Umeh ahead of the election and then APGA loses. Today, he knows there is strength in unity which, somehow, finds expression in the APGA motto that says, onye aghala nwanne ya (loosely translated as 'be your brother's keeper').

Keen watchers of the APGA victory want to see the resilience and doggedness which Obi and Umeh brought to bear on the Anambra election that saw to the victory of Obiano and the party to be taken beyond that state to other states in the South East in particular and by extension, other parts of the country.

Therefore, let Obiano, Obi and Umeh be told in earnest that there is much work to do in and for APGA, and that the time to return to the drawing board is now. Good enough, Obiano has invited his co-contestants to join him in working for Anambra, and that is highly commendable. But the invitation should not just be for the sake of politics; he should reach out to most of his co-contestants in reality and offer them opportunities to work with him, and he can be sure he would have started the process of deepening the image and strength of APGA in the state without knowing it.