John Adams, Minna Members of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP (PDP) national working committee, led by the National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus on Monday in Minna, the Niger State capital, met with former military president General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida at his hilltop mansion. The delegation was also at the residence of a former member of…
Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will win the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State overwhelmingly. He has received more endorsements than most governors in recent years, from town unions to market associations to churches and to labour unions. Almost everyone, who counts in Anambra politics has endorsed him based on performance.
Indeed, Obiano may end up as the first governor, in recent history, to return to office with the highest percentage of votes. This will be a record in Anambra State, which, until recently, used to be a most fractious state, with many billionaires throwing their weight around on the political stage.
No one doubts that Obiano has done brilliantly. Anambra now competes with Lagos in growth rate and even supersedes Lagos in areas like education, security and agric development. One spectacular thing, which will happen in the forthcoming election in Anambra is that many governorship aspirants on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is now the only opposition party, will work for Obiano’s victory. They acknowledge in private Obiano’s record. But they want to be governor. Once the APC gubernatorial standard bearer is chosen, other contestants will join forces with Obiano. This is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tradition in the state. Most APC aspirants were, until recently, PDP stalwarts
The PDP is dead in Anambra, and can never be revived. Peter Obi and his former Secretary to the Government are the only recognisable PDP members in the state. The other members, just a handful of them, belong to neither Ahmed Makarfi faction nor the Ali Modu Sheriff faction. They are just floating. Disenchanted with the state of affairs, the former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, left the PDP for a party most Ndi Anambra have never heard of.
There is no credible opposition in Anambra. The APC, my own party at the national level, which should provide robust opposition has been hijacked by the very people who destroyed the PDP in the state. They made the PDP synonymous with mayhem. Since they hijacked the APC, all Ndi Anambra hear from the party is continuous threat of destruction and violence. They have even been threatening to burn down the three bridges Obiano built in Awka, which have changed Awka’s skyline. The two reasons given are awful. The first was that the flyovers were built on the federal highway. The federal highway was a total mess until the state government fixed it and built the flyovers, modelled after the very beautiful Ikoyi-Lekki Bridge. When Ndi Anambra protested more loudly, APC leaders now gave a different reason: The bridges would soon fall, as evidenced by the decision to bar tankers and other big trucks from using them.
When it was pointed out that big vehicles like tankers are not allowed on many bridges in Lagos, including the road leading from Bank-Anthony Way to the airport, they hit upon another propaganda stunt: Obiano was travelling to the United States with as many as 179 persons for the daughter’s graduation. They even claimed on the social media that two hotels in Houston, USA had already been closed down for the graduation! They claimed, in addition, that the phantom 179 persons had been paid their estacodes in dollars!
I am sure any governor, who travels abroad with up to 10 officials will not be able to pay salaries and pensions before the end of the month, let alone increase salaries, as Obiano has done. Any governor who travels abroad with a large contingent cannot provide the best security in the nation, which Anambra enjoys. Such a governor cannot be building roads and bridges, as Obiano is doing, even when leading oil-bearing states have not paid local government employees for 12 months. While payment of salaries, gratuities and pensions is taken for grabnted in Anambra State, doctors and other professionals in Osun State, an APC state, have been marching in the streets, pleading for their salaries, which have been owed for several months despite being slashed alarmingly. The poor performance of the state government is the sole reason the hated PDP won the recent senatorial election in the state.
The APC in Anambra enjoys no credibility. This is a painful fact for me to admit in public. I was one of the first Igbo persons to join the APC. I am on record as the most active Igbo APC operative on the social media. So proud have I been of the APC and General Muhammed Buhari… Even before he became the party’s presidential candidate…that I added Buhari to my name. But I am totally disappointed by the behaviour of the party in my home state. I was alarmed to see the very people, who kidnapped a sitting governor in the state, burnt down the judiciary, burnt down the House of Assembly and Government House, called me all sorts of name for supporting the APC and described Buhari as a sponsor of Boko Haram, are now the very noisy members of the APC and Buhari’s so-called ardent supporters. The same people are now vying to fly the party’s flag in my state. They are desperate to become governor, nothing else.
The APC is still not accepted by over 90% of Ndi Anambra. Rather than seek to market the party to the people, the same characters who came from the PDP and engaged in the mayhem of November of 2004 in Anambra State are openly declaring: “We are going to conquer Anambra by fire, by force!”; “We are going to pull down the flyovers in Awka.” By so doing, the APC in the state is looking like a party of angels of death and violence.
I hope I have now explained how I parted ways with the Anambra APC and now support Obiano fully. I will remain in the APC and a great Buhari supporter. But I cannot, in good conscience, share the same stage with extremely violent and destructive people, who are nothing short of Nigeria’s Janjaweed. Remember Janjaweed was a group of Arab thugs and touts armed by the Sudanese government to kill off the people of Southern Sudan, who are blacks, Christians and adherents of African traditional religion. I have had cause in the past to warn the state executive committee of the APC to get serious. It could not do something, as simple as condemning the so-called order issued by Arewa youths to Ndigbo to leave the North by October 1 or face the consequences. By refusing to condemn the ultimatum, the APC in the state confirmed the reputation foisted on the party that it is another name for Boko Haram.
My decision to support Obiano is not for personal benefit. Obiano does not know me, though he spoke about my first cousin in a most touching manner in a recent interview. After commending Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke, Izu Ojukwu and Chief Chika Okpala, alias Zebrudaya for doing the state proud by winning awards at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards in Lagos last March 5 , Obiano described my cousin, Sambasa Nzeribe, as stepping into the shoes of Chief Pete Edochie, arguably the most famous actor in Africa. Sambasa beat such well established personages as Richard Mofe-Damijo, Olu Jacobs and Ramsy Noah to clinch the highly prestigious Best Actor Award. The entire Nzeribe family is grateful to Obiano for the honour. We are pleasantly surprised that the governor personally went to the extent of monitoring the performance of Anambra participants in the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. Every governor who cares about his state should be passionate about it, like Obiano is about Anambra State. This is purposeful leadership.
• Nzeribe is an APC activist in Lagos. 08037095615. [email protected]