Anambra’s slogan, the light of the nation, is the encapsulation as well as the snapshot of the state’s immense human and material resources. Many iconic figures in diverse areas of human endeavors are natives of Anambra State. It’s the home state of Chinua Achebe, the inimitable novelist; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Common Wealth Secretary General; the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, freedom fighter and Pan-Africanist; Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, former African Sprints Queen of the tracks ,and others. And its sons and daughters excel in their respective endeavors here and in the Diasporas.
Anambra State is blessed not only with human resources but also with natural resources. Beneath its soil lie crude-oil deposits. Thankfully, the state has joined the league of oil-producing states in Nigeria. More so, it has many water(s), equable weather conditions, and fertile soil: these are incentives for farmers to engage in large scale farming. So, not surprisingly, Anambra’s variety of rice is the preferred choice among other types of rice cultivated in the country. And, the State is an exporter of vegetables to other countries, too.
Again, Anambra people are known for their business ingenuity and entrepreneurial skills. They excel in trading. Now, Onitsha, Nnewi, and other towns in the state have become boom towns. The state government generates huge internal revenue from the collection of levies and taxes from traders in the town.
So, nobody can controvert the fact that Anambra has the potential to become an economically viable state in our federation. And it has the manpower and natural resources that can drive its developmental initiatives. With good political leadership, it can achieve economic sustainability and prosperity, and technological advancement.
In the recent past, the state fell on evil times, however. Political moneybags would install their lackeys in office as the governor; then, they would try to manipulate the sitting governors to do their biddings at our own peril. Expectedly, political fight between a sitting governor and his political godfather or benefactor became the defining feature of Anambra’s political culture.
Thankfully, Mr. Peter Obi’s accession to the throne of power in Awka marked the end of political god-fathers’ banditry. His eight years of leadership in Anambra state redefined political leadership there and propelled the state to great economic and educational heights. His successor, Dr. Willie Obiano, who is toeing his footsteps, is posting excellent and commendable performances in many areas of governance. Expectedly, millions of Anambra state people are rooting for his re-election as Anambra State Governor in the November governorship polls.
But, an array of political stars has entered the Anambra political arena with the hope of contesting the next Anambra governorship election. They are all poised to give Governor Willie Obiano a stiff fight for the post. One thing is certain, however: the election won’t be a cake walk for the sedulous and achieving governor. Among the contenders for the governorship post is the brilliant youthful Obosi-born politician, Chief Osita Chidoka. A protégé of the late Chief Ojo Maduekwe, he cut his political teeth by working as Chief Ojo Maduekwe’s personal assistant. But, his rise to prominence in Nigeria was both meteoric and phenomenal.
He has oiled his political machinery and set it in motion. And he’s very optimistic that he’ll become the next governor of the state. Until recently, he was a staunch and top member of PDP, the chief opposition party in Nigeria. Here, in Nigeria, politicians care less about ideologies. They perceive political parties as vehicles for achieving their selfish political goals. That is why Nigerian politicians switch political parties with effortless ease. Sensing that PDP with its factions will present more than one candidate for the governorship election, Chief Chidoka defected to UPP. It is a wise political move. The UPP Party leaders pander to the ethnic, primordial, and divisive sentiments and whims of the Pro- Biafra agitators in order to achieve their narrow and selfish aims.
Chief Osita Chidoka openly showed solidarity with the leader of IPOB and rabble rouser, Nnamdi Kanu. That deed of his endeared him to the teeming Igbo people, who are enamored with the notion of having a sovereign state called Biafra. His favorable disposition to the cause of Biafra may not be unconnected with his political ambition. Chief Chidoka believes, however, that his stellar performance as the former FRSC boss and untainted public record stand him in good stead of clinching the governorship post. He’s credited with instituting the digitalization of the processes for procuring driver’s licenses. And, as the FRSC boss, he implemented measures that reduced the rate of the occurrence of bus accidents in Nigeria.
But can Chidok’s brandishing of his excellent FRSC leadership scorecard and untainted public record guarantee him victory in the next Anambra governorship
election? Anambra people are with political enlightenment and sophistication. And they’re not actuated by moralistic and clannish impulses. They may be swayed by sentiments and factors other than the contenders’ possession of perceived probity and leadership qualities.
Does he have a huge financial war chest with which he can prosecute the electoral battle? My guess is that he is stupendously rich. There are, however, other stupendously rich politicians who have thrown their hat into the political ring with regard to the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election. And they’ll pull all the stops to win the governorship race.
But, the dynamics of Anambra politics as well as culture shows that dislodging an incumbent governor from his leadership perch is a daunting and herculean task. More so, Governor Willie Obiano has been posting excellent performances in diverse areas of governance as theAnambra State governor. His deeds, as our governor, have imprinted his name on our collective psyche. Little wonder, millions of Anambra people are rooting for his re-election as the Anambra State governor. Isn’t he the man to beat in the next Anambra governorship election?
Again, political fairness, equity, and justice suggest that we cede the electoral contest to the Anambra North senatorial zone. Rotating the governorship post among the senatorial zones in the state will guarantee us political stability and peace here. And among the politicians from the Anambra North senatorial zone, Chief Willie Obiano is leading the pack. Since he became the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano has learned the intricacies and nitty gritty of our variant of politics, and internalized the dynamics and peculiarities of Anambra politics .More importantly, his image is not tarnished by allegations of corruption.
So, it‘s not an auspicious time for my kinsman, Chief Osita Chidoka, to battle for the occupation of the government house in Awka.
Okoye is a published poet based in Anambra.