A recent comment by an official of the Imo state government who spoke on behalf of the state government describing the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 11 governorship election, Senator Samuel Nnaemeka Anyanwu (Samdaddy), as a kindergarten candidate is most unfortunate and completely out of place. That statement was uncalled for because it portrayed Samdaddy as unfit for the governorship position of a state. It belittled him as an inconsequential candidate who is not worthy or qualified to occupy or hold the office of the governor of the state.
However, what actually makes Samdaddy a kindergarten candidate? What gives his opponents such a false impression? There are 17 candidates from various political parties jostling for the gubernatorial position which would be vacant by January 14, 2024.
Nonetheless, three or four candidates have the best or brightest prospect to win the governorship election come November 11 this year. They are Senator Hope Uzodimma of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (Samdaddy) of the PDP, Senator Athan Achonu of the Labour Party (LP) and Major-General Lincoln Jack Ogunewe of the Action Alliance (AA). However, among these four strong candidates, either Uzodimma or Senator Samdaddy is likely to win the election. A little comparison between these two candidates would suffice here.
By educational qualification, Samdaddy is far more qualified than Governor Uzodimma. In the area of political experience, Governor Uzodimma got his first political elective position as a senator in 2011 and got re-elected in 2015 before he became a governor in January 2020 in the most controversial circumstances.
Samdaddy started from the grassroots by his first election as a local council chairman in 2003. Then, Uzodimma was nowhere near any political position. By 2007, Samdaddy was elected as a member of the Imo State House of Assembly where he represented the People of Ikeduru constituency. Then, Uzodimma was nowhere near any political position.
Samdaddy was re-elected to the House of Assembly in 2011. In 2015, he was elected a senator, representing Imo East or Owerri zone, comprising nine densely populated local government areas. He represented the most cosmopolitan zone among the three senatorial districts in the state.
Even as a first timer, he was saddled with the enormous responsibilities of chairing the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions where more than 100 petitions were lodged before the senate from oppressed Nigerians on a daily basis. By the time his tenure ended in 2019, the committee he chaired had treated and amicably resolved over 5,000 petitions from across the country.
Samdaddy “lost” the PDP gubernatorial primaries to Chief Emeka Ihedioha by 10 mysterious votes contrived either by sleight of hand or artifice. How could his political opponents describe such a strong personality who lost by a narrow margin to Ihedioha for the ticket of the PDP as a political paper-weight? Didn’t this same Ihedioha dust Uzodimma in the political battle for the soul of the party during the Ali Modu-Sheriff versus Ahmed Makarfi battle? Didn’t Uzodimma leave the PDP because Ihedioha was controlling the party at the time?
Samdaddy is currently the national secretary of the PDP, the engine or administrative room of the party. How can opponents describe such a man as an inexperienced candidate or a political paper-weight? The current governor of Yobe state, Mai Bala Buni, was the national secretary of the APC before he was elected governor of his home state. Is he more qualified than Samdaddy? Someone like the immediate past governor of Rivers state, Chief Nyesom Wike, was Samdaddy’s contemporary as local council chairman. That means that they were chairmen of local councils at the same time. Is Wike better than Samdaddy?
By the way, what was Chief Evans Enwerem’s political experience or personal clout before he became the governor in 1992? Ditto for Chiefs Achike Udenwa, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha? Udenwa was just a chief accountant in a private construction company before he became the governor of the state in 1999. Ohakim was a commissioner before he became governor in 2007. Okorocha was a federal political appointee for a brief period before he became governor in 2011. How then can any rational mind regard a former local council chairman, a former state legislator, a former senator and currently the national secretary of the PDP like Samdaddy as an unserious candidate who cannot wrest power from Governor Uzodimma?
The truth of the matter is that Uzodimma is jittery about the candidacy of Samdaddy. Moreover, the PDP ticket which has Rt. Hon Sir Jones Chukwudi Onyereri as the running mate has unsettled their political opponents including the current Imo government. In a fair and transparent election, Uzodimma can never defeat Onyereri in Orlu zone in a political contest because Orlu electorate know the antecedents of all their leaders.
The PDP has a very formidable ticket for the November 11 election and that’s why the APC-led government in the state is employing all manner of subterfuge like the ongoing Imo State Social Beneficiary Number (IMSSBN) deceptive programme to hood-wink the gullible electorate to surrender their permanent voter cards (PVCs) before they can be given the number in order to apparently tamper with their PVCs to rig the forthcoming election. Samdaddy’s candidacy is formidable, and is set to win the forthcoming election. His candidacy is an ideal whose time has come.
Owerri, Imo state