Why Anambra Can't Afford Herd Mentality Politics

By Emeka Ozumba
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Emeka Ozumba

A Physics teacher in Islamabad, Pervez Hoodboy, wondered: "How is it that otherwise sane and sensible people become moronically incapable of grasping reality?" He went further to blame it on our brain, which he argues is "still evolving and still primitive, it readily sacrifices rational evidence-based conclusions in favour of primal ones. And so conformism trumps individual judgement." This is akin to herd mentality in politics.

The general ethos of the people determines their brand of politics and choices they make. We all can agree that to make informed judgement one needs to understand the issues at stake; anything to the contrary is flawed, leading to behavior such as herd mentality. British political theorist Bernard Crick, said that “politics is not merely a struggle for power..." but involves decisions on "who gets what, when and how; the exercise of power; and ensuring the welfare of whole communities."

The changing dynamics of Nigerian politics and the emergence of the third force driven by a savvy and youthful electorate known as Obidients, spurned political disruptions across the land - a political phenomenon that saw most of us dancing to the "ELuuuPeee" beat on February 25, 2023 Presidential election. Even as the Presidential election remains disputed, we cannot lose sight of the fact that politics is local.

Ndi Anambra have made a quantum leap in political participation since the days of emancipation from the godfathers. It took Governor Chris Ngige's revolt, Mr Peter Obi's culture of prudence and Chief Willie Obiano's sustainance of the developmental strides to reorder the stakes and, over two decades after, ndi Anambra can beat their chests as one of the most politically astute, progressive and liberated people in Nigeria.

The Governorship and Legislative elections are scheduled for March 18, 2023, but in Anambra only the election of Legislators is at stake, having done Governorship election almost a year ago. However, the contest has thrown up a number of challenges: Whereas Anambra State Governor, His Excellency Chukwuma Soludo is desirous of maintaining majority control of the House by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to enable him get legal backing for his policies and programmes, new guys on the block, the Labour Party, riding on the crest of the support it enjoyed during the Presidential Poll, are angling to upset the status-quo in Anambra by calling on voters to ignore others and stick with them in what would amount to "follow-follow politics."

Elephant in the room: There are rumbles in the camp of APGA following disenchantment arising from the last elections and lack of fulfillment of some promises by the Governor and his team. Another issue is the Governor's written position on the Obidients' quest for Presidency which alienated not a few, among other concerns. As expected, some want a pound of flesh and are gearing up to rock the boat in Anambra inspite of spirited efforts by Mr Governor and his team to douse the disenchantment and make amends with the best of resources available. The jury is still out on whether his efforts and rapprochement are far reaching enough to calm the local partisans.

However, there are concerned Ndi Anambra who wish to know: Why would the aggrieved insist on throwing the baby away with the bath water? Can Ndi Anambra afford a disruption in the stability and development they've enjoyed under APGA over the years to embrace a new era of uncertainty?

Methinks, the way forward is for the aggrieved to see reason and avoid disrupting the status quo for short-term gain. Group interest has since 2003 become the golden rule for Anambra State politics, hence domestication of the zoning arrangement to the community level. We cannot afford to bite our noses to spite our faces. Again, with regard to the Legislature, we can't be dismissive of experienced and qualified legislative candidates within APGA, nay other parties. Rather, let's call for close scrutiny of the contenders than pandering to apostles of disruption. Let the locals make their choices at the polls in the thirty state Constituencies. Let Ndi Anambra live up to the time honored culture of accommodation of all shades of opinion and preference for development rather than pander to the dictates of the infestation of hate-filled rants in our political space.

*Ozumba is Managing Consultant at Ozion Limited - Communication & Political Strategists.