Anambra State politics is a practical example of Igbo enwe Eze. No one agrees to accept the other as King. Everyone wants to be the main focal point. This is why elections in Anambra State always fraught with parallel elections and litigations. An ordinary primary election of a political party can produce 3 to 4 candidates as authentic winners with each of them arming themselves with court injunctions and judgements justifying their position. More often than not, winning an election signal the beginning of legal battles both pre and post election matters. Election losers hardly concede defeat as they are ready to fight it to the Apex court. These factors are responsible for Anambra State being the State that brought about staggered election in Nigeria, the first to kidnap a sitting Governor, produced the Governor with shortest stay in office in Nigeria, first female Governor, the last State to have two term Governor in the history of Nigeria and the first State to increase guber ticket to 10 million naira yet many bought it without blinking an eyelid. Some candidates even sponsored others in the party and in other parties to buy their tickets as their option B.
As the November 18 poll is fast approaching, we will not expect anything to be different from the norm of politics in the State. Momentum is gathering as all the political parties have chosen their flagbearer. We have 3 major contenders in the race, namely; the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano (APGA), the former Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Oseloka Henry Obaze(PDP) and the Honourable Member representing Anambra East and West in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Dr. Tony Okechukwu Nwoye while the former Corp Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corp, Chief Osita Chidoka (UPP) and an indigenous business mogul, Chief Godwin Chukwunenye Ezeemo (PPA) will be the wild cats.
Chief Willie M. Obiano (APGA). STRENGTH: Gov. Willie Obiano will enjoy the power of incumbency. By this he will enjoy the political structure of his administration in all the LGs, wards, towns and villages in the State. He will also enjoy the support of most traditional rulers and religious leaders as well as Civil Servants who have benefitted from his regime. The goodwill of APGA as a pan Igbo party founded by well revered Igbo leader, the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu will be of great advantage to Obiano. Most voters will cast their votes for APGA not necessarily because of Obiano but to save APGA from going into extinction as Anambra State is the only State that have APGA Governor. Only few voters will vote him because of performance which many rate below expectation. APGA will benefit from the supports of some dissatisfied Aspirants from APC and PDP who will consider APGA as best option against their own parties. WEAKNESS: Obiano dispute and subsequent inability to reconcile with his former political godfather, Peter Obi before this coming election is a big blow as his current political predicaments, challenges and battles can be attributed to this fact. APGA internal crisis will also affect his chances as the legal battles are yet to be resolved. The recent insecurity in the State will be a great minus to him as well as the widely held perception by the IPOB members that Obiano is against them.
Hon. Oseloka Henry Obaze(PDP). STRENGTH: As the former SSG under both former Governor Peter Obi and the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano coupled with his long distinguished career as International diplomat in the United Nations, he has the best experience and capability to govern Anambra. The recent Supreme Court judgement that resolved the long-held leadership crisis in the national PDP has restored, united and repositioned PDP as beautiful bride once again against APC failure at the national level. Most voters who are dissatisfied with Obiano performance will prefer to vote PDP candidate than APC. Anambra is technically a PDP State in body with APGA head. The 3 Senators were all from PDP before Supreme Court nullified Sen. Uche Ekwunife election and Sen. Andy Uba recent defection to APC. Most House of Representatives Members and some House of Assembly members are from PDP. This gives PDP the advantage of having anchor men in these constituencies. Obaze will enjoy the political sagacity, structure and goodwill of his political godfather Peter Obi who many still adjudged as the best Anambra Governor ever together with the political structure of the political wizard of Chief Chris Uba if he chooses to work for the party. WEAKNESS: Some Aspirants such as Sen. Stella Oduah and Prince John Emeka are aggrieved as a result of the just concluded party primaries. This will lead them into working against the party in the election. Some voters will view Obaze as being too elitist for their liking.
Hon. Dr. Tony Nwoye (APC). STRENGTH: Hon. Tony Nwoye is a grassroot politician who commands the mass support base of the youths. He has proved his political mettle by defeating his former political godfather, Andy Uba twice in party primary elections. This has made him a formidable force to beat in politics that can not be underrated. His political successes right from his university days and the last guber election in 2014 where he came 2nd despite being declared authentic PDP candidate by the court of law two weeks to the guber election can attest to these facts. He will enjoy the Federal might of his party in the election as APC will do everything possible to win Anambra State. Tony will equally enjoy the large financial war chest of his political godfather. Combination of the two of them seems unstoppable. WEAKNESS: most Anambarians see APC as anti-Igbo political party. President Muhammadu Buhari led APC Federal Government has not helped matter by sidelining the Igbos in his administration. Even the recently launched operation Python Dance in the South East will further increased some voters hatred against APC. Some party Stakeholders and many Aspirants are grossly dissatisfied with the result of guber primary election that produced Tony Nwoye as the party flagbearer. Sen. Andy Uba has already petitioned the party Appeal Committe and mounting serious pressure for the primary election to be nullified. So these aggrieved Aspirants will either work against the party or be passively committed in the election. Tony alleged sordid past might come back to hunt him.
Osita Chidoka (UPP). Osita is a young refined gentle man with exceptional performance in his public service career. He represents the new face in Anambra political circle but he lacks the financial muscle and political structure to win election. He would have been a good PDP candidate if he had not hurriedly defected to UPP.
Godwin Chukwunenye Ezeemo (PPA). He is a successful indigenous business mogul. He has most of his business investments situated in Anambra. This would have given him an added advantage as a man that will have the interest of the Anambarians at heart if he had been in the major political parties. Ezeemo will garner most of his votes from Anambra South Senatorial district as the only major candidate from the district as well as the votes of the Anglican Communion too.
ANAMBRA NORTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT: The three major candidates are from this district. This will bring about splitting of votes among these three major contenders. Governor Willie Obiano will most likely win Hon. Tony Nwoye with slight margin in the Anambra East LG where two of them hail from as well as Anambra West LG. Ayamelum and Oyi LGs will go in favour of APGA as APGA structure is solidly on ground in these areas because of APGA House of Rep member as well as other major stakeholders that will work for APGA. Onitsha North and South LGs will be an open battle for any of the three major candidates to take. Ogbaru LG votes where PDP candidate, Oseloka Obaze is from will be shared mostly between PDP and APGA but PDP will win. Sen. Oduah will most likely work for APGA against her party and to block Dubem Obaze chances of taking over from her in the Senate.
ANAMBRA CENTRAL SENATORIAL DISTRICT: Anaocha LG will go in favour of PDP because of Peter Obi effect while APGA will come second. Njikoka LG will most likely go the way of APGA because of deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, APGA House of Rep member, Hon. Ferdinand Dozie Nwankwo and APGA structure in the LG. Dunukofia will most likely to be won by APC because of Prince Engr. Arthur Eze influence while Idemili North and South might go in favour of APC if Dr. Chris Ngige commitedly work for the party. Awka North and South will be an open battle between APGA and PDP.
ANAMBRA SOUTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT: most Stakeholders from this zone will prefer to support Obiano who has only four years to complete the tenure of Anambra North and get power to their zone who is the next in line than to support either APC or PDP candidates that will most likely spend 8yrs in power if elected as Governor. Orumba North and South LG votes will be between PDP and APGA. Hon. Ben Nwankwo and PDP Stakeholders from these LGs will be advantage to PDP quest just as Obiano recent road construction that now connects Awka to Orumba will attract the supports of these locals to APGA. Aguata LG votes will depend on these two Uba brothers, Chris and Andy. If Chris works for PDP wholeheartedly while his elder brother, Andy works for APGA as best option for him against his party APC, the votes will be shared between APGA and PDP. Nnewi North LG votes will mostly likely go in favour of PDP if Ifeanyi Ubah agreed to work for PDP while Nnewi South LG will be depending on who Ukachukwu brothers work for. Ekwusigo LG votes will most likely go in favour of APGA while Ihiala LG votes will depend on who Chairman of NestOil, Dr. Ernest Azudialu Obiejesi works for.
The election is going to be keenly contested among these three major candidates of APGA, PDP and APC. Before the election day there is going to be some political alignment and re-alignment that can change some political permutations. Whichever way, the masses will decide at the poll. The battle for Agu Awka seat is still open and can swing to any side but as it stands now, the odds favour the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano to return to the government house after November 18 poll.
Stanley Onyekachukwu Nwosu
Media Consultant, Political Analyst and Strategist.