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Anambra 2021: Lessons from the past

All things being equal, the Anambra State governorship election holds November 2021. And the second term of Governor Willie Obiano draws to a close on March 17, 2022 when a new Governor would be sworn in.

Anambra State is politically unique in so many ways. The State has great features that set it apart not only in the South East region but in the entire country. It’s political notoriety is as huge as its fame in other spheres.

But in the midst of all these, it has been able to produce one of the best State Governors in the country in the person of Mr Peter Obi. After governing Anambra State for eight years, leaving office on March 17, 2014, Obi left a shoe too big for anybody to fill.

That he was nominated THISDAY Governor of the Decade award says it all on where Obi stands in the governance scoreboard of Anambra State and in the country.

He has expectedly become a barometer, the yardstick to look at the performance of subsequent Anambra State Governors. As Anambra is at the verge of flagging off the search for Obiano’s successor, Obi’s tenure continues to be in focus.

In 21.years of democratic governance in Anambra State, two political parties have ruled the State – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

The PDP pioneered the governance of the State from 1999 to 2006 under Dr Chinweoke Mbadinuju (1999-2003) and Dr Chris Ngige (2003-2006). Mbadinuju in 2003 made history as the only Governor in the party controlling about 27 States who failed to secure a second term ticket of his party because of his awful performance record.

Perhaps, it was Dr Mbadinuju’s dislocation and disorientation as Governor that laid ground for the political uncertainty that was witnessed in the State ever since.

The coming of APGA into the governance of the State was in protest against the PDP failure under Mbadinuju and his successor Dr Ngige proved in his short stay before the election tribunal threw him away that good governance is possible and that bad governance was not in the DNA of the PDP as a party.

It was Ngige’s era, although short, that set up the template that Peter Obi used to shine as an outstanding Governor.

Governor Willie Obiano’s tenure has not been able to meet the bar set by Dr Ngige and Obi but that is not the motive of this narrative.

Here we intend to look at the strange politics of the State where the PDP continues to lead the winnings in National Assembly elections but fails short in the Governorship and State Assembly elections. Political pundits have continued to argue that while Anambra is by electoral strength a PDP State, it has failed to win Governorship elections because of the terrible infighting within its fold.

The political fight in Anambra State especially among the PDP  has been such that they fight to the grave.

In 2017 everything was set for PDP to return to power. But they individually sold out their chances as leaders. Instead of backing one of them, they chose to negotiate with the APGA government in power.

The worry here ahead of the 2021 gubernatorial election is that this type of ‘if not me let it not come to us’ attitude is affecting both politics and governance in the State because the best candidate hardly wins election.

Exactly one year to the next governorship election in Anambra State, Global Upfront Newspapers (GUN) has decided to set the agenda for the next Governor of the State in its Online publications as countdown to Anambra 2021 begins.

In carrying out this responsibility GUN has assigned to itself as their contributions to see a better governance in the State looking ahead, lined up some top Anambra citizens for interview in the belief that their views will help in positioning the State.

For a start, former Minister of Health and pioneer Commissioner of Health in Anambra State, Professor ABC Nwosu is featuring first. It is our hope that views and knowledge shared in such interviews will help in designing a template for a greater Anambra State.

We  like at this juncture to charge the political parties, particularly the three front runners in the State – the ruling APGA in the State, the main opposition PDP and the ruling party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to put their houses in order.

Experience has shown that an incoherent party, no matter how strong in membership, hardly wins election. PDP can attest to this that despite their grassroots strength, they have severally lost gubernatorial elections since 2003 just because of division.

Most of the problems is because these parties abuse internal democracy and often try to bring in candidates from outside the system, thereby sidelining the people working hard and sustaining the party (system) at home.

We therefore charge the three parties to look critically at home, and get those who can deliver and who have been recognized part of Anambra politics and pick flagbearers from them. By that, party members at home will feel a sense of belonging and will be willing and eager to contribute to the electioneering campaigns.

Another thing that has dangerously affected Anambra State is the role of money in politics. Anambra has become notorious as one State where money, more than anything, is driving their politics. In all the major political parties, party members from the other parts of the country are preparing to bribe their way to serve on any election duty in the State. For them, in Anambra State, you are begged to accept bribe. They don’t wait for you to ask.

This image is bad and unfortunate and must stop. It is from this behavour in politics that has gone down to other area where personnel of the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and any federal law enforcement officer prays and tries to buy their way to be posted to the State.

Everybody knows as a fact that Anambra people are hardworking and innovative. And those who earn their money legitimately hardly squanders them. But in Anambra State, it’s not the case. They work hard and spend their money lavishly.

It’s unfortunate that as Anambra prepares to kick start the 2021 Governorship contest, what most contestants are displaying more than their records is money. This should change. Character, antecedents, good understanding of Anambra State and the enthronement of enviable good governance should be the guiding principle, more than anything else.

Global Upfront Newspaper (GUN) hopes therefore to bring you more as we embark on this agenda of creating a new Anambra State by the kind of Governor we pick by 2021. May God help and bless Anambra State.

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