Anambra 2021: The preparedness of APC

From about 30 aspirants who initially joined the governorship race in Anambra State, less than 10 have shown a capacity to walk the political turf of the state by purchasing the expression of interest and nomination forms of the All Progressives Congress. A peep into the list indicates that clearly, it fits a description of the best, the worst and the ugliest the state has to offer.

From former governor and immediate past Anambra South Senator, Andy Uba; largely considered a failure as senator to close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr. George Moghalu who many are alleging wants to simply test his might for maybe the last time. From Engr. Azuka Okwuosa who has a calm mien to unassuming Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo; CEO of Wichtech Group. From Johnbosco Onunkwo; field marshal of Anambra youth to sleepy Paul Orajiaka who comes across as slow but steady.

In the coming days, many more may muster the capacity to buy nomination forms but till then, this analysis will only focus on bonafide aspirants in the state.

No doubts, the coming governorship election shall be a mixture of surprises starting from the primary elections of Nigeria’s biggest political party – the APC. Whereas pundits believe that the most pressing need of Anambra people rotate around insecurity and an absence of basic infrastructure to trigger economic growth, many argue that whoever will fly the flag of the APC in the state must be an individual who has a vision to deliver governance and the dividends of leadership beyond mundane expectations

A critical look at the situation in the state strongly indicate that while competence, skills, finance, capacity, vision are important, zoning will play a crucial role in determining who the next governor of the State will be.

Anambra state is largely a one language state and political precedence which have shaped the narratives since 1999 indicate that voters are likely to vote for the weirdest of reasons and this is because whereas the APGA may have succeeded in pruning down the list of aspirants to a manageable 4 or 5 to prevent a post primary election conflict, the APC is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to snatch Anambra State. A comparative analysis of aspirants under the APC therefore suffices.

Senator Andy Uba – His entrance into the race is not gaining traction because He is considered a member of the old stock that must give way for a new generation of leaders in the state. It is strongly perceived that an Andy Uba government will mean a return to the dark days of political brigandage, instability, strife and “familitocracy” in a state that is already on the brink of breakthrough and political liberation. Many also argue that the immediate past senator has no tangible legacy to His credit neither does He share a bond with an average Anambrarian who takes pleasure in being in constant communion with political leaders. Andy Uba has a major hurdle and it is the lack of empathy towards the less privileged – which contributed to His defeat in the 2019 senatorial elections. Andy Uba does not connect with the emerging Anambra that places a premium on youth participation in leadership. His ambition is still born.

Dr. George Moghalu – Dr. Moghalu is a man of tact and ideas but lacking in clout and verifiable antecedents. He enjoys the goodwill of President Muhammadu Buhari but such advantages are meaningless in a society as egalitarian as Anambra State. Dr. Moghalu has tried to emerge governor about three times in Anambra State all to no avail all of which indicate that perhaps, Anambra doesn’t want a Geroge Moghalu government. His appointment as Managing Director of the National Inland Waterway Authority was well received by Anambra people but clearly, nothing has accrued to the state courtesy of Him and His agency beyond tiny projects which have in times past been funded by town unions. The inability of His agency to facilitate the commencement of the movement of humans and cargo via water in the riverine parts of the state is an indictment of His capacity. Dr. Moghalu is in the race once again but everything around him indicates it will end “as usual” after all, his campaign handlers can’t even spell Anambra correctly.

Johnbosco Onunkwo – The field marshal of Anambra youth is loved and there is no doubt that he is very popular in the State but it remains to be seen how his popularity in the APC can give him a win in a primary elections where only delegates who are non youths will vote. He has a formidable structure mainly made up of many vibrant youth leaders in the state. This means that they can control their localities. He is a refined gentleman who is perceived as capable but it’s also known that lacks capacity to play rough when the chips are down. What is intriguing about his aspiration is that so far, he has lost a handful of valuable young supporters to the PDP and APGA and this suggests that He may not be capable of instilling loyalty, trust and commitment in His loyalist While standing members of his campaign team make excuses for him, many Anambrarians believe that he may be incapable of running a government where there will not be internal rebellion. Coming from Aguata LGA, the APC is unlikely to agree to have an arrangement that will lead to a split of it with the APGA that’s going to field an Aguata candidate.

Chidozie Nwankwo – Fondly called Overdose, Dr. Chidozie Nwankwo appears to be the toast of many supporters, elders, stakeholders and even non-party members in Anambra State. He comes across as unassuming. His declaration to run for the office of governor in Anambra State was shocking to many. No doubt, he is a valuable joker that has upset various political permutations. Whereas elections is considered a game for only the tough in Anambra State, this aspirant has remained unperturbed, undistracted and unbothered by questions which seek to downplay his political sagacity as He readily refers to His achievements in international business as clear evidence of what He is capable of doing. Not only do these achievements stand out, traders, importers and the entire market structures in Anambra state strongly believe He will make a difference. Even beyond the APC, He has leveraged His charity to empower millions of indigent men and women not excluding the youth and clergy via business grants, mentorship and stomach infrastructure. He has shown positive energy and is at home with national media organisation as well as national leaders of the APC because his Wichtech Group has branches in virtually every Nigerian state where he employs thousands of indigenes of those states and complements the job creation and youth empowerment efforts of many state governors.

Paul Orajiaka – He appeals greatly to the educated, the middle class, professionals, the apolitical youth and it is on this basis that many political analysts believe that he is the face of the new political force in Anambra APC. However, feelers suggest that his only weakness is a lack of equal financial capacity as aspirants like Azuka Okwuosa, Andy Uba and most importantly, Chidozie Nwankwo. He has access to the expanded caucus of the party at the state. He is young, smart and calculative beyond which, he does not appeal to most respondents because he is also a professional who’s relatively new in partisan politics. The APC is in a critical time of its efforts to make an inroad into the South East and will rather not bank on a greenhorn to lead the electoral conquest.

Azuka Okwuosa – The aspirations of this candidate should not be discounted for any reason. However, if truth must be told, it should be told to the extent of acknowledging that feelers from the structures of the APC clearly indicate that gentleman Engr. Azuka Okwuosa would rather be saddled with another responsibility for the party. He is thoroughly educated but may need to decide if he wants to be governor or lawmaker even though he is considered a game changer of some sorts due to his vast understanding of the terrain and his first-hand contact with the grassroots which sets him apart from many aspirants within the party. If he becomes candidate, the APC will have a bigger problem reconciling him to stakeholders like Anby Uba whom he once in October 2018 openly accused of being a problem and a disadvantage to the APC.

The six aspirants in this analysis are distinguished and exceptional in their respective endeavors hence the policy drivers of the APC have a lot of work to do in the State before the primaries. APC governors must weigh in because they may be the only ones that can exercise objectivity in a matter as sensitive as Anambra State.

While no aspirant should be coerced to step down for another especially aspirants from the Old Aguata Union, understandings must be reached and carrots offered to as many aspirants as possible to persuade them to voluntarily quit the stage for those who have lesser hurdles to surmount.

Maxwell Ume-Ibekwe is a PhD scholar at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.