Posted December 27th, 2006

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Anambra State Elections: The mother of all battles

One of the biggest gubernatorial battles is shaping up in Anambra State . The former governor Dr. Chris Ngige will be representing the AC Party while Andy Uba will contest on the shoulders of the PDP. The big advantage in this election is undoubtedly in favor of Chris Ngige who is regarded by many in Anambra State as the candidate of the people.

In two short years as the governor of Anambra State , Dr. Ngige achieved what all the previous governors of Anambra State from Ukpabi Asika to Peter Obi failed to deliver to the people. While it is inappropriate to include Governor Peter Obi in this analysis in view of his few months in office prior to his impeachment, suffices to say that Peter Obi may have good intentions but he fell to his political amateurism.

Regardless of the controversy over how much money Ngige left in Anambra State treasury when he left office, many citizens of the state see in Ngige, a genuine desire to do good for the people of the State. While the national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh claims that Ngige left a debt of N6.7 billion when he left office, Dr. Chris Ngige in his interview with Sahara Reports stated that he left N7.5 billion in government coffers when he left office.

Ngige's problems began when he decided to be his own man, and not allow political pundits to manipulate him. While it is difficult to know the truth about how much money was left in Anambra coffers, it is a known fact that efforts were made by the incoming administration to discredit Ngige's administration. The other known fact is that Chris Ngige worked for the people of Anambra State . He improved the dilapidating infrastructures in the State, and he carried out the construction of roads; he also rehabilitated workers and pensioners in the State within the relatively two short years of his rule.

Ngige's popularity in Anambra State cuts across all segments of the population. On my last visit to Nigeria I decided to do an unscientific evaluation of Ngige. As I traveled to different towns and cities in Anambra State I asked people I came across randomly what they thought about Governor Ngige. Everyone I talked to told me that Governor Ngige is the best thing to happen to Anambra State . People truly believe that the governor has made positive impact on the State. This is the first time in the history of Anambra State that many Anambrarians said such things about their governor.

Chances for APGA to win in Anambra State are not very good. As for Andy Uba of the PDP, he has little chances of winning in Anambra State . The involvement of Andy and Chris Uba with the Obasanjo's PDP continues to backfire on them to the point that their influence in Anambra state is very negligible regardless of their financial strength and connections. Godfatherism had wrecked havoc on Anambra State politics. Many citizens of the State also hold president Obasanjo responsible for many of the problems of the state. It should be recalled that Governor Peter Obi was immediately impeached following the visit of President Obasanjo to the state. Is there any connection with the Obasanjo's visit, I truly do not know.

Anambra State is currently under the leadership of Governor Dame Virgy Etiaba the first female governor in Nigeria . While we wish her well and the best in her effort to move the state forward, we must however note that she does not have enough time to develop and implement serious policies for the state. Serious problems threaten the state including erosion, lack of steady energy, running water, and jobs to sustain our graduates who must look elsewhere for employment thereby robbing the state of needed trained personnel.

In summary, it is inescapable not to say that the people of this great state of Anambra deserve better leadership. Anambra State has one of the highest literacy rates in Nigeria . They not only excel in academics, some of Nigeria's leading scientists and engineers come from Anambra State , the state is home of one of the largest commercial markets in West Africa . Until Anambra State electorate votes into office the right leadership, the state will continue to languish in mediocrity. Hopefully the next election will bring good to the state by ending the political fighting which continues to negatively impact on the state's governance.

Paul Okechukwu Oranika

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