By Hyacinth Ofodeme
INITIALLY I didn’t care. I stopped caring long ago about politics in my home – state of Anambra. It was not because I have become less of an Anambra indigene. It was entirely due to two factors. The first was the ease with which impunity occurred in my dear state. The second, a direct descendant of the first, was the rise and rise of mediocrity in every facet of governance and the enthusiasm with which my state celebrates incompetence. It was horrifying watching my state metamorphose into a grand theatre of home-grown absurdities.
Deep within me I stopped caring. Deep within inside me also, I knew I should not stop caring. Though I reside outside the state many of my folks do and I am uncannily aware that, one day, sooner than later, I may voluntarily or forcefully or even circumstantially be compelled to retire to my state. Won’t I then become guilty of acqueisance and abdication? Won’t it also be too late then to tackle the crooked hands of mediocrity and incompetence? It would be very sad to begin to sojourn in a state where neither I nor my children and their peers would have any guarantee for peaceful, progressive and developmental existence.
This is not what I want to retire into or how I want my children and other Anambra children to live. I have spent two months of vacation in my state and I have visited major towns and several villages. I have engaged people in and out of government, met different classes of people and listened to varying shades of opinion; truths, half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies. I met realists, psychophants and confusionists.
I have reflected on everything, pondered and reasoned. I have sieved the grains from the chaff and the remnant has become a prime source of escalating worry. The sincere deduction I made from all I saw and heard, persuaded me to the conclusion, that my state is in dire straits and urgently desires rescue. Obviously, the administration in the state has reached its wits end and can do no more. It would be grossly insensitive and detrimental to task it further as the result would be total disappointment.
Indeed, the incumbent administration in my state has given its best and though this best has not been good enough, it was still its best and the governor deserves our commendation. We may be angry and blame the system that compelled him into power.
As a successful career banker, he did not aspired to become governor and therefore, did not conceive plans or ideas for being governor. He was strangely preferred above career politicians, who had planned not only to become governors but on how they would become successful governors. The enormous responsibilities of governance on an unprepared mind can be totally overwhelming. The recurrent maladministration, misplacement of priorities and pervading incompetence in Anambra State now are the result of the imposition and also, the triple reasons why the rescue of the state should be paramount to Ndi Anambra.
As the November governorship election draws near, the state must avoid the mistakes of 2013. It must shun candidates imposed by powerful individuals or cabals. The state has had enough of differences between godfathers and godsons e.g Mbadinuju vs Emeka Offor, Chris Uba vs Chris Ngige, Peter Obi vs Obiano. The state should opt for a strong party which controls its members and not a weak party controlled by one person or a clique.
Ndi Anambra must align with a nationally oriented party and forbid the retrogressive idea of belonging to a one state party. Another Biafra has not happened. Anambra is still in Nigeria and therefore, Ndi Anambra must put an end to the politics of exclusion and embrace inclusion. We must bear in mind that being defeated is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes defeat permanent.
Now in Anambra, there are just three viable political parties. The first is the incumbent All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA, which has reached the limit of its best and can go no further. The second is the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, once upon a time, a roaring and devouring lion, truly king of the jungle. Incidentally, this lion has suffered multiple fractures and can no longer even roar. No one knows how long its healing process would take before it roars again. The third is the All Progressives Congress APC, the only party with federal might today and more national presence. I have heard and observed that it is the only party with truly national colouration and the only party that still stands cohesive and strong, owned by all members and not manipulated by few individuals.
Before, I began talking to people; I already had a distant hunch that APC was the only party that could provide credible and reliable alternative in my state. Now, that I have talked and listened to people, I am more resolute that only the APC can now fulfill the eternal wishes of Ezeigbo Gburu-gburu, Chwukuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, to re-integrate Ndi Igbo into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. In the emerging realities in Nigeria, Ikemba would not have wished for Ndi Anambra to be engrossed in Eke Awka or Otu Nkwo politics as alternative to mainstream politics. We must listen to the advice of Pope John XXIII, “consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams.”
As I discovered reasons to back APC in the November election, I became helpless as to which of its many aspirants to support. In two months, I have heard, read and researched about the aspirants. One odd thing stood out. They all spoke about themselves, about their antecedents and how they would transform Anambra under their watch. They all saw the November election as individual contests they would win on their own strengths. Only one aspirant, Sen. Andy Uba, chose to be different. He was dynamic and pragmatic and his strategies are not personal or cloned to his person. He chose to talk about the party and seized every opportunity to market it. I began to notice him.
When recently I read in the papers, that he donated 24 vehicles to the party and not to his campaign organisation, I saw the vision of a man who could easily win an election because of how strongly he has positioned his party. I followed his speech on that occasion across print and social media and it was quite revealing that he kept talking of how APC would run APGA out of Anambra and how APC had come to help Ndi Anambra out of their present problems. Not once did he use the prefix “I” in relation to the forthcoming election or its preparation.
I concluded that Andy Uba was the only one in the pack who maturely believes in the power of a strong party. His willingness to submit to party’s control was not in doubt and he appeared to me, to be prepared to work for the greater glory of the party. His legendary philanthropy which was attested to everywhere I went makes him very easy to market. I see him as the aspirant with natural capacity to reintegrate Anambra State into mainstream Nigerian politics.
With a candidate like him, APC can indeed rescue Anambra State and many people would have guarantee for developmental existence in the state.
Dr. Ofodeme, a political strategist, wrote from Takoradi, Ghana.