Anambra 2021: Between a Practicalist, Leeches and First Class Bully, By Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

Over the years, residents of Anambra State have suffered embarrassments and disappointments from successive regimes. Those regimes came on board with sugar-coated promises and deceived ndị Anambra to believe that they are the chosen ones that will liberate the state from poor physical and economic planning, and lack of policy implementation. The failure of those regimes began with their decision to appoint Transition Committee Chairmen to oversee the legislative and administrative affairs of various local government areas instead of allowing the people to elect their Councilors and Chairmen, thereby monopolizing the affairs of the local government which is the tier of government closer to the people and consequently, there was administrative failure at the grassroots.
 
As Anambrarians wallow through the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) government of Chief Willie Obiano, a regime they have been managing like Boko Haram Crises following rampant poor policy formulation and implementation as well as politically suicidal decisions that always make the state a victim of self Inflicted injuries and avoidable embarrassments, a press statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicated that eighteen Political Parties are fielding candidates for the state’s next governorship election scheduled to hold on November 6, 2021. Among the parties contesting are the Young Progressives Party (YPP), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). INEC further disclosed that Senator Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah will be flying the flag of YPP, Senator Andy Uba will be flying that of APC while a court order presently named Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the Candidate of APGA. However, Soludo’s candidacy is not yet fully assured as a case challenging his nomination is pending at the Supreme Court and while releasing the press statement, INEC said a final decision on that will be made on October 7, 2021. The Commission also cited a court order and didn’t field anybody as PDP Candidate although the party will be on the ballot.
 
Following the publication of list of Candidates by INEC, ndị Anambra are now in the know of at least, the major political parties to decide from.  What makes this electioneering unique is that it will no longer be business as usual. The state has suffered enough and will no longer vote base on paper qualifications or political recommendation but will assess each candidate based on how he or she has been able to impact on the lives of his community both as a private citizen and a public servant. It will no longer be a time when candidates will deceive the people with bulky technically oriented promises that will be unrealistic. This will also no longer be a period of promising to transform Anambra to a heaven when in reality, the person making such promise has not been able to use his or her almighty intellectual, financial or official capacity to improve the lives of his or her community residents. This time, each Candidate shall first be asseed based on his private and official contributions towards the development of his immediate community.
 
The first person to emerge a Candidate is Senator Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah elected by the YPP. Senator Ubah who hails from Nnewi is presently the Senator representing Anambra South at the upper chamber of the National Assembly and had before joining politics, made many efforts in promoting the wellbeing of not only ndị Nnewi but also Anambrarians and Nigerians at large. The YPP Candidate made tangible investments in the state that the state government has not been able to match. He single handedly built an International Stadium in Nnewi which today, remains the only stadium certified by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Anambra State and indeed, the only functional stadium in the state. He also established the Ifeanyi Ubah Football Club which also remains the only football club in the state and has been financing these establishments which has employed many ndị Anambra without any government support. Another Ifeanyi Ubah’s investment before his entrance into politics is Authority FM Radio station which is also presently situated in Nnewi. The radio station which is still at a tender age is fast becoming the most popular radio station in the state by competing aggressively with the state’s own Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) Radio. Senator Ubah who also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law From Base University, Abuja is presently constructing a giant building that will house Authority Television in Nnewi. Authority FM is presently the largest employer of labour among other radio stations in the State and with its television counterpart coming on board, hundreds of of Anambrarians will be directly and indirectly employed. The television station building which shall also house a cinema, auditorium and conference center is near completion.
 
Apart from these tangible investments championed by Senator Ubah in Anambra before joining politics, he also constructed an interlocked road equipped with underground drainage system and diesel powered street lights across various streets of his community in Umuanuka Otolo Nnewi, a first of its kind in the community and Anambra State at large. The roads which have been existence for over ten years without any crack or pothole have with the help of the diesel powered street lights attached to them, promoted security and business, in and around the community especially at night. Senator Ubah has also donated electricity transformers to various communities in the state including Uga the hometown of Andy Uba, the APC Candidate that didn’t have a transformer until Ifeanyi Ubah intervened. He has also empowered thousands of his community members, ndị Nnewi and Anambrarians at at large economically and financially.
 
Looking at Senator Ubah’s achievements as a Senator, he has sponsored a total of fourteen Bills and fourteen Motions including the famous Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract Act Amendment Bill taken to London for the president to sign by Abba Kyari, the late Chief of Staff to the President. The amended Deep Offshore Act will generate at least five hundred million dollars additional revenue for the Nigerian government. The diligence and commitment of Senator Ubah towards delivering quality representation to his constituents and ndị Anambra in general despite being in a newly registered political party prompted the Senate President Ahmed Lawan to name him the Prince of the Senate. Apart from legislations, Senator Ubah has done a lot in promoting the wellbeing of his constituents. He is currently building health centers in some parts of his constituency and the one situated in Ekwulobia is near completion. He has also bulit houses for indigents in various parts of Anambra South.
 
It is also worthy to note that during the early days of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria with many panicking due to lack of standard isolation centers. Senator Ubah called on high profile citizens from Anambra State and beyond to assist the state and the uncommon move led to the formation of Anambra Progressives and Development Union (APDU). Within one year of its formation, the group constructed and equipped two ultramodern medical and isolation centers at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (Permanent Site) Nnewi and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Both establishments have been handed over to the management of the two institutions. Presently, APDU is constructing same medical cand ultramodern center at Odoakpu Onitsha after the state government led by Chief Willie Obiano frustrated and later stopped them from doing same at Nwafor Orizu College of Education Nsugbe.
 
One thing that makes Senator Ubah unique is that majority of Anambra Youths including those presently in a contract with other political parties especially APGA have benefitted from his benovelence which ranges from human capacity building to huge financial supports, and most of such were achieved through international trips to China, Russia, Dubai, London, Egypt, Brazil and Turkey that are all single handedly sponsored by him. Sadly, some of the beneficiaries who are now in political contract with other parties have not been able to build on those gains due to failures of their present political principals to think in same fruitful dimension.
 
Another Candidate contesting the election is Senator Andy Uba, a predecessor of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah at the upper chamber of the National Assembly. Andy as he is popularly called enjoyed presidential backing mostly among all the politicians in Anambra State following his appointment as a Domestic Aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a position he held for about eight years but shockingly, there is no visible development attracted to his community from the center throughout his romantic days with President Obasanjo. The only thing his sympatizers boast of is that he introduced major political appointees from Anambra State like the Late Director-General of National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Dora Akunyili and APGA Candidate (based on Court Order) Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo who was later appointed as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the former President. However, there is no atom of investment or development attracted to Uga his community and Anambra State at large by him and shamefully, an electricity transformer presently enjoyed by his community was donated to them by Senator Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, the YPP Candidate. Before he was elected a Senator, Andy made history as the first governor in Nigeria to occupy office for seventeen days. His short stay at the Anambra State Government house was due to a judgement by the Supreme Court which faulted his election as it was done contrary to Section 180 (2) of the 1999 Constitution which provided that a tenure of a state governor commences from his day of swearing in. The Court further ordered him to immediately vacate the government house because going by the said provision, the tenure of Mr. Peter Obi who was in power before the election that produced him was not yet over. He wasn’t able to make any tangible achievement within the short days he was in office. During his days at the Senate, Andy made no noticeable effort to promote the wellbeing of his constituents, a situation that made ndị Anambra South to reject him at the 2019 Senatorial Election, he also failed to win in his Local Government as incumbent Senator, Ifeanyi Ubah trashed him and his brother who contested same election under the platform of PDP mercilessly. As it stands, for being a Candidate of APC which controls the presidency, Andy hopes only on presidential powers to win but sadly, Anambra has since grown past the stage of deciding governorship results from Abuja.
 
Also contesting the election is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, the party in its usual ways, is battling self made confusions which led to emergence of factions in the party and numerous court orders. Despite electing Chief Val Ozigbo and Senator Ugochukwu Uba by the party’s two factions. INEC was unable to recognize any of them when it published list of Candidates due to court orders. However, the party will still be on the ballot but will hope on its already expired structures across the state to win as various aspirants on its platform who may have formidable structures were dribbled out by the party’s deceitful tactics and those aspirants have since then, refused to work with the party’s hierarchy. To make things worse for the PDP, the two Candidates namely Chief Valentine Ozigbo and Senator Ugochukwu Uba elected by its two factions have nothing on ground that can motivate ndị Anambra to vote for the party. While Valentine Ozigbo who was a former President and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (TRANSCORP) has no socio-economic contributions towards development even in his hometown Amesi in Aguata Local Government Area, Senator Ugochukwu Uba who was a former Senator does not also have anything to show as his socio-economic contribution towards development of Uga his community and many people including his community members do not know that he was once a Senator as there is nothing to show for it. By relying on uncommitted structures to win the election, PDP is indeed not in the race.
 
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) is another party that is contesting the election.  APGA which is also the party of the incumbent governor, Chief Willie Obiano is parading two persons as its Candidate following a breakaway of a faction led by High Chief Jude Okeke after the party in a commando style, forced popular aspirants out of its Primary to pave the way for former CBN Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo. The disqualification bazaar championed by the party’s faction led by Chief Victor Oye which forced popular aspirants out of the planned Primary Election after collecting millions of naira from them provoked the formation of the new faction by the disqualified members. The new faction removed Oye from office and reversed the disqualification bazaar that he championed. They also later elected a House of Representatives member, Hon. Chukwuma Umeoji as the party’s Candidate. The election of Umeoji was followed by numerous court orders which later forced INEC to recognize him as the party’s Candidate. However, following a judgment of the Appeal Court, INEC replaced Umeoji with Soludo and said it will take final decision on the matter on October 7, 2021 as the issue of the party’s leadership and nomination of Candidate is pending at the Supreme Court.
 
Following the latest INEC decision, Prof. Soludo is presently APGA’s Candidate for the election. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka First Class Graduate who was also a former governor of Nigerian Central Bank always boast of being in possession of best qualities for the Governorship position but in contrast, he has made zero impact in developing Isuofia his immediate community. His sympatizers usually say that he was never an elected official in the state and therefore had no obligation of making or implementing policies that will better his community and Anambra State at large. While they may be right in their claim, it is indefensible for a person of his academic and social status to fail in making private contributions that will at least, better the welfare of his people. As a Professor, he has no moral justification of leaving his community library in a state of comatose. As a scholar, he should have given the facility a face-lift to at least help in developing more intellectuals in the area. Before the Primary that made him a Candidate, he gave himself a new name, Charley Nwa Mgbafor apparently to show his humble background and love for his late mother Mgbafor. However, a hospital that he used to receive multiple donations from high profile Nigerians to construct in memory of same woman, Mgbafor has been abandoned by him without any reason. Also, when he was CBN Governor, there is no proof to show that he aided anyone from his community with at least a scholarship and such may have provoked recent crises between him and his community. The crises still seems to be present in the community even after the conferment of a chieftaincy title on him, a move many see as an express order to the community’s Igwe by the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano.
 
Since his ‘election’ as APGA Candidate, Prof. Soludo has not been able to control his arrogance. Immediately after the disqualification bazaar championed by Victor Oye’s APGA to pave the way for him, he was quoted to have said that those who were disqualified should go and rest, and while on a National TV, he further said that he was once disqualified and that those disqualified shouldn’t be complaining. As if that wasn’t enough, he kept boasting and making mockery of other contestants describing them as unfit to govern Anambra because they didn’t have paper qualifications like him. During the recent inauguration of APGA Campaign Council at Ekwueme Square Awka, he boastfully said that WAEC Certificate holders have no business in governance, an utterance that is less expected of a Professor that should know better. It is a fact that having the highest paper qualification cannot be a guarantee that one will be a good leader. Also, majority of voters in Nigerian elections including governorship elections in Anambra State are same WAEC Certificate holders that were mocked by the APGA Candidate and going by his words, it is clear that one must have at least a PhD to participate in any government he will lead and that puts his connection to the grassroot in doubt. The rampant display of arrogance and acts of bullying championed by the APGA Candidate who is also a Professor showed that paper qualification cannot be a guratntee for a selfless and purposeful leadership. It is also a confirmation that the present government of APGA in the state has failed thereby making it to lack factual contents for campaign.  
 
Should ndị Anambra go for a practicalist that has an excellent track record in human capital and community development? Should they go for leeches who depend only on ineffectual forces to win or should they go for a first class bully who has never displayed any quality of a good leader but always see himself as the only intelligent citizen? That decision will be taken on November 6, 2021 and the decision will definitely go in favour of the Candidate of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah who has proven to be a practicalist.

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