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Anambra 2017- Why the odds favour Obiano

By Ejike Anyaduba
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Few weeks from now - baring any unforseen development - the curtain will be brought down on the governorship election in Anambra state. By that time a winner would have emerged from the sea of struggling contenders.

Up untill now nobody can claim with certitude who the lucky winner will be. What he has done or will still do differently to snatch a surfeit of votes and win a landslide. Perhaps this is about the toughest election in the state going by the large number of contenders and their individual strengths. Over thirty candidates are on the ballot but maybe only about three can stake a claim to the actual contest. The three are - the incumbent Governor and candidate of the All progressives Grand Alliance, Chief Willie Obiano; the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Hon. Tony Nwoye and the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party. Mr. Oseloka Obaze. Fair enough, all three candidates have near, if not, equal financial strength to execute the campaign to a conclusive end. They are also evenly matched in terms of reach.

The only area of difference perhaps is in application of individual capabilities to outvote one another. So far all three have sedulously engaged and have tried to seize upon every opportunity to advance themselves. Sadly, in an effort to achieve this, some of the candidates have shot wide of the mark by descending to the level of abuse. While addressing a handful of audience one of the candidates called the governor names. Perhaps he figured the move could advance his cause. But rather than do so, it has detracted from it. This type of abuse saturates the social media where few scumbags have seized the interconnected network to propagate visceral hate. At the instance of one or two candidates these persons have consistently plumbed the depths of rascality, villifying targets at will. But for a few interests - that still gorge on their lies – all of them should be in terminal decline as the boring familiarity of their rehashed old lies no longer cuts an ice with the people.

In spite of all these, the candidates have made beautiful promises on campaign stumps. They have also pledged, during whistle stops, to hoist Anambra - in matter of months - on a pedestal where a state like Lagos will be green with envy. It is important to state that none of the candidates is deluded that the task at hand is a cakewalk to be won by strutting or by standing still.

Nothwithstanding, the odds still favour Governor Willie Obiano. Not so much for the power of incumbency as it is for what he represents. Obiano is simply a cut above the rest and has a patrician carriage that speaks confidence to the led. His administration has, within a short period, moved development on the double and tackled intangible aspects of it (like human capital development) hitherto unattended. His administration has done enough and therefore has materials to campaign with unlike his challengers who must rely on promise alone. While they promise - explaining what they will do differently and how - Obiano easily points with some justice to what he has done. His situation is bettered by the common perception among voters that it is safer to deal with a known devil than an angel yet unseen.

More than that, of the over thirty contestants Obiano is about the only candidate without a political boss (godfather) breathing down his neck. The other two contestants on the tickets of APC and PDP are puppets dancing on the strings managed by others. It can be argued that this campaign is tougher today because of the involvement of godfathers. No doubt this involvement gets messy sometime. Perhaps only few voters who merely turned eighteen will need to be told the history of godfather/son relationship in the state. How it nearly burned the state to cinder. The sad experience is still within living memory and no reasonable person will be willing to encourage a repeat. It was both time and money consuming. It also retards development, especially once the relationship turns sour. Part of the distractions today on the internet derives from the meddlesomeness of godfatherism. These distractions were designed to put the Obiano’s government at risk of public reject. But fortunately for the government, it yanked off the overbearing control early and settled down to the real task of governance, providing security that triggered exponential growth in a lot of sectors. Today Anambra has clawed back her lost glory and will be better able to achieve more without godfather-sponsored candidates.

Another attraction for the Obiano candidacy is its alloted time. The constitutional term of four years on re-election is most attractive. This greatly contrasts with his challengers’ who are not as limited by the statute. Two of them, Nwoye and Obaze, who emerged from the same senatorial zone as Obiano - probably in keeping with the principles of rotation - have all promised to do a term. But as Rene Lodge Brabazon Raymond, the British writer of American crime series James Hardley Chase wrote as one of his tittles if you believe this you believe anything. It is doubtful if the wily politicians will be minded to keep such promise. This doubt is magnified by the vacillation of those in this trade, especially from this clime. Keeping promise is not their forte. No one had kept faith. Often it was stories of attempt of subverting rules to elongate term.

With this in mind it is difficult, if not impossible, to trust that either of the candidates of APC/ PDP will reliquish office after a term. This will grossly violate the beautiful rotation arrangement and return the state to fractious politics – the type that nearly sundered her apart. Apart from the effort the Obiano administration has made the one term option pales the choice of either candidate in comparison. The South senatorial district of the state whose turn it will be by 2022 will have a whole lot of waiting to do. And by such development the rotation principle would have been rested and the contest thrown open. An Obiano candidacy offers a better alternative in governance and stabilization of the polity.

Ejike Anyaduba