IGWE Rowland Odegbo, the respected traditional ruler of Nteje, in Oyi local government area of Anambra State, published a widely distributed article on Tuesday November 8, 2016. Entitled A word for politicians of Anambra North extraction, it discussed a vexed topic deserving of further exploration.
Basically, the Igwe lamented the multiplicity of gubernatorial aspirants from Anambra North Senatorial Zone, from whence the incumbent Governor, Chief Obiano hails. His incontrovertible argument is that a split in Anambra North’s votes in the next gubernatorial election could deny Governor Obiano a second term and also yank the governorship from the zone.
The possible negative outcome of a splintered Anambra North vote should persuade the zone’s numerous governorship aspirants to do a rethink. But, laments Igwe Odegbo, “None of the aspirants I have spoken to on the issue showed any interest in reaching an understanding much less denying themselves.” A few things are, therefore, tragically wrong.
The tragedies are, in fact, as confounding as they are encompassing. I was at Blaze FM, Oraifite, Anambra State, on November 4, 2016, to defend Governor Obiano, who has for more than a year been the subject of sponsored, relentless and withering media attacks aimed at turning the Anambra electorate against him. I faced Franklin Ebuka and Chima Christian, two young broadcasters intent on playing hardball.
I started by pointing out that when Blaze FM featured Chief Obiano’s principal traducer three days earlier, it was the 57th documented time the fellow had hopped into a radio station in the past year to regurgitate falsehoods against the Governor of Anambra State. In fact, the frustrated man, a Political Adviser dismissed by Chief Obiano, professed animus against the Governor. He told Blaze listeners that he didn’t know a thing about smartphones! The Governor had instructed him to make contacts by email, which he confessed was beyond his know-how! He had been the D-G of the Obiano Campaign Organization in 2013 and hadn’t deserved the boot! But because he was fired – “a man who knew all the answers” – he posited that things were in pieces in all places.
I told my interlocutors that Sylva Nwobu-Alor had been the D-G of the Peter Obi Campaign Organization in 2003. But he wasn’t considered for any appointment when Mr. Obi became Governor. Yet, the heavens didn’t fall. I added that Governor Obiano was Fit To Continue for a second term for various reasons: (1) He had made Anambra the most secure state in the country. (2) He pays salaries, gratuities and pensions promptly. (3) He recently gave N20 million to each of the 179 communities in the state, for the construction of any project of their own choosing. That’s N4 billion, with a firm promise to provide another N4 billion by January when the first projects must have been completed.
While Governor Obiano employs digital methods of political engineering to serve Ndi Anambra, analogue has-beens continue to claim groundlessly that he is not “performing”. Unfortunately for them, the people of Anambra know better. That is why, in desperation, the lies and fabrications from of a disgruntled flank of Anambra’s elite are proliferating. That is also why some rudderless politicians from Anambra North are fronting moneybags promising them the Eldorado of Government House, Awka, in 2018.
Two things count against these misdirected individuals. The assumption that an Anambra North politician will wrest the governorship from Chief Obiano is puerile. It flies in the face of commonsense, voter predilection and demographics. It will only fragment votes from the senatorial zone and promote the cynical plot to deny Anambra North the equity that is tied into two governorship terms. Why, really, should Anambra Central and South Zones, much larger in population, agree a fresh Anambra North Governor from 2018 when that configures the potential of the crown staying up North for a straight 12 years?
By the way, the decision to zone the governorship to Anambra North was solely APGA’s, an initiative of General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. It was and still is vehemently opposed by other political parties. Are the moneybags now goading Governor Obiano’s kinsfolk into the electoral fray not deliberately working in tandem with those that, a priori, consider Anambra North unworthy of the governorship?
There are other angles to the strange developments. One of the loudmouths now “challenging” Chief Obiano has been making frantic contacts, vowing that a few SUVs and a N500 million paycheck from the Governor would make him to back off. That is political mercantilism. Another has confessed that his angling for the governorship is a ploy for becoming running mate to an Anambra Central or South candidate. This underscores a preference to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Only someone shameless will deprive his people of the main prize because of a selfish desire to play second fiddle to the producers of several former governors.
Not being stupid, these characters recognisze that Governor Obiano’s performance is first rate. Therefore, they cling to disinformation. Employing mostly the Internet, they continue to dish out outlandish falsehoods. Only last week these liars again excelled themselves. Governor Obiano was at the Enugu Airport to catch an Arik flight to Abuja. While he waited at the airport’s Presidential Lounge, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s private jet touched down.
The former Vice President had come for the Annual Zik’s Lecture. Taking snapshots of Atiku’s airplane they flooded the social media with the frames, claiming that Governor Obiano had chartered a private jet to Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Arik flight was announced. Governor Obiano calmly walked up the gangway and went on his Abuja mission. We circulated pictures of Governor Obiano boarding the Arik plane; we distributed images of his boarding pass. We reassured Ndi Anambra that all the lies against their beloved Governor would come to naught. We stand in obedience of Chief Obiano’s unambiguous order for his media team not to respond in kind to the adversarial media of detractors.
To recall, Governor Obiano had graciously and publicly apologised to his persecutors for any wrongs he is perceived to have committed. He had offered them an olive branch that was characteristically rebuffed…
Well, I have looked at Anambra politics with the eye an adult examines the contents of a bag. Frankly, I see no vacancy at Government House, Awka. Deep down, something tells me that, come next year’s gubernatorial ballot, Governor Obiano will deliver a Trump Wallop on the franchisers of bad blood.