Anambra 2017 election didn’t go exactly well for some people hence the question ‘What went wrong on November 18.’ What happened to PDP and UPP? Is political debate futile to winning elections in Nigeria? These are some of the questions some readers have asked me since after the Anambra election, with some either mocking or accusing me of misreading the mood of the state.
They erroneously based their conclusion purely on my attack on Obiano’s reelection which as far as I am concerned has nothing to do with whether he will win or lose. I do not support or oppose a candidate because I think he will win or lose but because I believe or don’t believe in the candidate’s agenda and capacity to deliver on promises made.
My opposition to Obiano’s reelection was strictly informed by his arrested development policy which grossly underdeveloped and neglected my community in his first term and not because I thought he will lose. If he continues to neglect my community in this second coming, I will continue to be vociferous in reminding him of his responsibilities. If he resolves our issues , I will lead the way to celebrate him and protect his legacy.
For those who thought I misread the political direction the state will go , let me remind and reference that , I largely predicted in my article published on Saturday, October 28, 2017 titled ‘Anambra 2017: Obiano is good to go” that Obiano will win the November 18 election with up to 30% margin. In that article, I didn’t just predict a win; I also listed the factors and odds in his favor. That he won does not defeat the merit of my later criticism of his leadership style and the neglect of my community which remain an issue after my heart.
Fortunately, the campaign is now over. From the ballots and results announced, the people have spoken and they were loud and clear hence we must respect their wish. I salute Governor Willie Obiano for his victory and I, agree with him that it’s time to build. As a citizen, I will continue in my duty of service and loyalty to the state and support to the government while pledging to remain consistent in reminding him of his duty and responsibilities to my people through constructive engagements.
Specifically: There is the Anambra Airport to be built; there is the lingering issue of the state not receiving revenue as an oil producing state; there are the community secondary school and Boys Technical School Enugwu-Agidi begging to be rehabilitated and staffed with specialized teachers ; there is the Enugwu-Agidi Maternity and Health Center to be provided with doctors and nurses; there’s the collapsed Nkpasa Aku -Obunagu Etiti bridge which has cut off the Community from the rest of the town; there’s the new Enugwu-Agidi International Market which require the governor’s direct intervention to operate and stimulate economic growth for the community. The fact that Enugu-Agidi Vigilante Service has not received their monthly stipend from the state in the past three years and eight months needs to be probed and resolved.
One of the almost irresistible impulses you have when you lose an election is to try to justify why you lost and how the election was rigged against you. The hardest things are to accept defeat, shut up and move on, knowing you cannot rewrite history.
I therefore salute Dr Tony Nwoye of APC, Dr Oseloka Obaze of PDP and Chief Osita Chidoka of UPP for demonstrating rare sportsmanship and courage by accepting defeat, thereby saving the state from further tension and distraction assuming they decided to challenge the election in court. Certainly, there are lawyers that will be disappointed because for the first time our politicians are united in putting the state first above personal interest and ambition. Every election must not end in litigation. Though, politics is considered a dirty game by some quarters it is the politicians that will make it decent by accepting the result of elections even where and when the results are not favorable. The major candidates in the Anambra election may not understand the import of their collective and individual actions by conceding victory but posterity will record them high just like history will judge the wisdom of the majority who voted overwhelmingly to reelect Obiano and it will be a period of time before it does.
I also praise the people of Anambra State for being peaceful and orderly throughout the campaigns and election. This very election was typical of all Anambra Elections. It was tension soaked, feverish and grabbed all the headlines, including the drama of IPOB threats of disruption, but trust us, we never tip the edge. As the light of the nation, we proved to Nigeria and Africa that election is not a do or die affair by hosting a peaceful election. God bless Anambra.
What went wrong on November 18 is not about Obiano winning. I expected him to win though not winning like he had juju. In my article titled ‘Obiano is good to go’ where I predicted a win, I wrote that I only saw a Goliath but no David. However, his clean sweep of victories across all the Local Governments is a rare feat, especially his victory in Anaocha which traditionally was Obi’s strong hold; he went on to defeat Tony Nwoye of APC in his backyard at Anambra East, even Obaze lost to him in Ogbaru just like Ekwueme’s daughter lost in her native Aguata Local Government. Osita Chidoka and Ngige were beaten in their local governments. I must give credit to the APGA campaign team led by Sir Victor Umeh; they ran a better and more effective campaign. They had boots on grounds that were hungry and thirsty for victory.
The APGA team was unlike PDP which was a house divided against itself. PDP for instance despite having a good candidate and a good message weren’t on ground. The party chieftains were united against the person of Mr. Obi, just to score points which I believe is an error. Osita Chidoka’s UPP for example is a new party which despite not being battle ready is also not battle tested. Many people didn’t give APC a chance in the election hence her coming second is in my view an upset that require more critical analysis.
Since after the election, I have heard complaints about how voter’s cards were prior to the election uploaded upfront into the card readers hence the discrepancies found between the number of voters captured by the card readers and the accredited number voters. I have also heard about APGA and APC party agents buying votes as high as N5000 per vote. The UPP candidate made allusion to the bazzar in his concession speech. Was it vote buying that placed APC second over and above PDP or was it Tony Nwoye’s grassroots appeal? Was Peter Obi the singular reason for PDPs failure or was he a victim of conspiracy and internal resistance?
Given the following Statistics : Total Valid Votes : 422,314; Rejected Votes: 26,457; Total Votes cast: 448,771; Total accredited votes : 457,311, can INEC explain how a whooping 10,000 accredited voters did not vote in an election that was meant to follow the simple and straight forward process of accredit and vote.
We may attempt to find answers to some of these questions as guide for the future and not for the purpose of casting a shadow on Obiano’s victory which is a mandate that has put a huge burden on him, especially now that it appears he has become his own man. Once again , congrats Obiano, God bless Anambra!
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.