s 2014 approaches, the gladiators or rather barbarians in Anambra politics are once again at the city gate...and very fast approaching the coliseum for a final onslaught. The biggest talk around the state currently is whether APGA (the ruling party) will acquiesce to Peter Obi's wish to transfer power to someone from Anambra North. The chairman of the same party, Victor Umeh, does not appear to be sold on Peter Obi's idea especially now that posters of Ifeanyi Uba (Capital oil) have recently appeared all over the state. I don't know enough to forecast which faction of the party will prevail through the courts and INEC, but if history is any indication, then I won't bet against Peter on this.
But the truth is that APGA is not even a serious factor in this looming battle. Haven been in power for seven years, APGA has failed to take advantage of that opportunity to conduct council and local government elections that would have given them an advantage and a real chance to build solid structures in the state. The consequences of APGA's lack of structures was evidenced by their inability to deliver not even a single senator out of the three senatorial elections conducted in the state in 2011. They fared even worse in the reruns that followed between Dora Akunyili/Ngige, and Andy Uba/Nzeribe. If APGA cannot deliver a national hero like Dora Akunyili to the senate, I don't see how it is possible now for the party to deliver anyone on a state-wide governorship election. Many of my good friends in APGA will most likely disagree with me, but sorry folks, I don't take sides, I just call it as I see it.
The sad part of this my write-up is the state of affairs in PDP. Here is a party that still enjoys an overwhelming majority of votes in Anambra state, but have shut themselves out of government house in the last election and would probably do so again. Everybody wants to be governor in this party. During the last gubernatorial election more than forty PDP members forked out five million Naira each to buy the party's form. There was an impasse and when Abuja intervened and installed Soludo as the party's candidate, most of the other candidates quickly joined other political parties to run for the same office. Needless to say that those moves cost Soludo the seat. If you doubt me, all you need to do is add Soludo, Uba, and Ukachukwu's votes, and you will get more votes than APGA got. And that's just the top three candidates, there were many more, over a dozen PDP members that ran on other platforms including Uche Ekwunife and so on.
Quite frankly I have no sympathy for the PDP in Anambra state because their woes were simply self-inflicted and in my opinion would continue to fester in the affairs of the party until a handful of characters are weeded out of the process. Can this be achieved? I seriously doubt it, but if this is not done, then PDP will never smell the governorship seat in Anambra state for at least another two or three cycles. I am aware that several attempts have been made to reconcile many of the top potential PDP candidates, and that every one of these attempts have failed woefully. They have refused to agree because everyone still wants to be the next governor. They have failed to listen to the voice of wisdom from the elders of their party in the state...to all rally around one person whoever emerges from among them. But, of course, who would emerge when no one wants to give up their own dream. It is indeed a very hapless situation, and it would probably get worse.
While the chances of PDP continues to dwindle as a result of their inability to come together as one, there remains one man who is very well poised to take advantage of the present situation in Anambra state. His name is Chris Ngige, a man that needs no introduction in Anambra state, and indeed Nigeria. Although he was my former governor, and now represents my district as a senator, I have never met him and have no desire to do so. To be honest, I never liked him. When the truth came out that he had gone to the shrine at Okija with Chris Uba to sell out the welfare of my state for the purpose of becoming governor, I hated him. But then fate truck. I suspect that between his kidnap and the ordeal that followed he must have become born again. (Not necessarily in religious terms though I don't claim to know anything about the man's relationship with God) Following his kidnapping saga, Ngige embarked on a very ambitious development of the state by building a vast network of good roads that linked all the major towns in the state. (Though I must point out that all the governors, Ngige included, have collectively failed to develop Awka the capital of the state.) It is worth noting that his work in the state has gained him the respect, admiration, and love from most Anambra citizens and I must now confess myself included. There is a debate now going on as to whether Ngige remains supreme on this front or whether Peter Obi has built more roads. Well, I honestly don't know and it depends on who you ask. Obi's allies swear by what they claim and his detractors think he is the worst thing that has happened to Anambra state. The bottom line is that Peter Obi's name will not be on the next governorship ballot while Ngige is certain to be so the argument is somewhat mute for the purpose of this article.
You may be wondering why all these debates if indeed Ngige is that loved and admired by many in Anambra state. Well, Ngige remains the most popular politicians in Anambra state today, and he leads others by a very wide margin in terms of popularity. But as I had articulated in my earlier write-up (Squandering of opportunities by the opposition in Nigeria) it takes more than individual popularity to win a state-wide or national elections. Ngige is currently a member of ACN, and if he runs for governor early next year would likely do so under the umbrella of ACN. And there lies his problem. ACN does not have any meaningful state-wide structures in Anambra state. And although most won't be honest when asked, but many of Ngige's fans may still have apprehension about making ACN the ruling party in Anambra state. Ironically some of the elders in PDP have recognized this potential and attempted to lure Ngige back to PDP as their flag bearer, but some of the usual suspects that control the party within the state have sworn that it can only happen over their dead bodies. And there again goes a potential opportunity for PDP to once again control the state.
It is now abundantly clear that PDP won't come together and unify themselves under a single candidate. I am not a betting man but there is nothing I have seen or heard so far that convinces me otherwise. And if I must, I will bet against the possibility of that unification under a single candidate for all PDP factions in Anambra state. This paralysis, sadly or happily, depending on your side of the fence makes it easy for Ngige to emerge the next governor of Anambra state. Because once PDP votes is divided by 2 or 3 or any multiples, then Ngige will have enough votes based on his popularity alone, to become the next governor of Anambra state.
Finally, whoever emerges as governor of Anambra in early 2014 needs the professionalism of a diplomat, the fairness of a judge, and the persuasive argument of a lawyer in order to succeed in a very difficult state. And I might add, a little prayer on a daily basis (Not the type of Mbadinuju's repulsive charade mandatory morning devotion by all civil servants) But a prayer, silently done alone, seeking God's guidance to make him/her to represent a little bit of sanity in an otherwise crazy political world of Anambra state. And I'm sure most Anambra citizens would say Amen to that.