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Anambra 2017: Why Obiano Must Go By Dr. Emeka Nwankwor

October 18, 2016

From Umueje in the far north to Uli in the south, and from Owerre-Ezukala in the east to Onitsha in the west, the story is the same – disaffection and indignation.

Passion and reality belong to separate realms. While millions of Ndi Anambra are passionate about good governance, the reality that stares them in the face presents stark indices that point clearly to the opposite. From Umueje in the far north to Uli in the south, and from Owerre-Ezukala in the east to Onitsha in the west, the story is the same – disaffection and indignation. Even within the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) – a political party known for its cult following in Anambra State – party faithfuls are beginning to question their loyalty to the government in Agu Awka; alas, reality has come home to roost.

Yes, the chickens have come home to roost. The people have painfully accepted that the great gamble of 2013 has turned out to be a catastrophic mistake; but interestingly, they are not ready to wallow in despondency and self-pity. For having aggregated the views of Ndi Anambra, from the super-educated, the educated, the half-educated to the barely literate, the single irreducible
reality that binds the people together is the overwhelming belief that Gov. Willie Obiano has long past his sell-by date. The people are firm in their resolve that Obiano is an expired product, and there appears to be no room for any kind of concession that will include Obiano as a variable. Admittedly, the reasons are not farfetched.

In today’s Anambra political space, tension is palpable, and resentment against the governor is at an all-time high. This resentment is squarely rooted on the financial rascality of his administration as well as his trademark policies that entrench divisiveness and cronyism at the expense of virtues such as merit, integrity and probity. By his actions and inactions, Gov. Obiano has essentially created two opposing cults, each an archenemy of the other; and each group has rallied rigid support from the people whom they have divided along the 2017 political battle line. To this writer, Obiano represents everything that is wrong with governance. He is not just bereft of ideas, he has replaced the hopes and dreams of Ndi Anambra with despair; and to avoid further damage, he simply has to go.

It is noted that while most of us have reasons to take a stand against Obiano, many others are only carried along by the bandwagon effect. At any rate, however, the general fear amongst the people is that the numbers and the political mobilization required to correct the mistake of 2013 may not be attained without a degree of synergy between the various political interest groups and the civil society; for anything less than dislodging Gov. Obiano from Agu Awka in 2017 will be considered a colossal failure.

But Governor Obiano is not without support. He has a flock of career politicians who are mainly beneficiaries of his corrupt administration. This gang of ne'er-do-wells are complemented by an army of paid and unpaid social media miscreants. What’s more? The unpaid appear to be more fervent in the ‘science’ of standing logic on its head, and are willing to stake all in their defense of an indefensible governor.

Geographically, his strongest axis of support is Anambra North, but there are few exceptions. The uneasy relationship between his native Aguleri and neighboring Umuleri is simmering; and the level of discontentment around Umuoba Anam and environs is at an all-time high. However, for the people of Aguleri –  the enlightened and the brainwashed, the pious and the depraved, the wealthy and the impoverished – Obiano is the messiah and bringer of empowerment. To them, all accusations of incompetence and clannishness are irrelevant; the only thing that matters is that Akpokuedike is governor. They see our governor as the governor of Aguleri; and most unfortunately, Obiano concurs.

As the battle line for 2017 is drawn, each side of the political divide appears to be as battle-ready as the other. Neither group is willing to concede an inch to the other; but surely, something has to give. It was Mao Tse-Tung, the former Chinese military leader and father of modern China, who described politics as war without bloodshed. However, on account of the level of acrimony we see in Anambra today, and given Obiano’s desperation to cling unto power, it will be foolhardy to rule out bloodshed. For usually, when politicians run out of ideas and still want to hold on to power, they resort to blackmail, brigandage and outright intimidation of perceived enemies.

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka once said that “records are not kept to assist the weakness of memory, but to serve as guides to the future.” Now, under these circumstances, and given the context in which history is about to repeat itself; it is pertinent to remind everybody that while Chinwoke Mbadinuju is a memento of how not to make a cocktail of maladministration and
desperation to hold on to power, the brutal murder of Barnabas Igwe, his wife and other high profile unresolved assassinations of those days are perfect examples of how lethal such cocktails could be. In 2003, when we came out en masse and ostracized Mbadinuju to the political evil forest, we thought we have banished this kind of politics from our land. But recent events suggest
we must think again.

Today, a dark omen pervades the land. The rate at which state actors and paid surrogates libel and blackmail highly distinguished Anambra sons is alarming and disturbing. It is imperative that Gov. Obiano takes practical steps to de-escalate the tension, and avert what many are beginning to see as a potential clash of all against all. The bold dichotomy between the Ayes and the Noes is a clear indictment of his governance style; it is an unfavorable verdict on his policies that sacrifice equity and probity in his management and distribution of our commonwealth. When our governor uses the instrumentality of executive power to appoint and empower the worst of us to rule over the rest of us, the best of us will have to take a stand for the rest of us; for even nature tries to balance every equation it encounters, it judges every deed and facilitates rewards or retributions as the case may be.

Dr. Emeka Nwankwor is a public commentator.