By the mere fact that Anambra State would not be holding a governorship election alongside other states of the federation this year, the state is supposed to be relatively quiet during the state assembly election that will on Saturday, but the above is not true.
Contrary to the thinking that Obiano would be sitting pretty having already won reelection in a landslide victory that saw him winning all the 21 local government of the state, he would be fighting the battle of his life as the electorate go to the poll to elect new members of house of assembly, and the reasons are simple.
Rancorous Primary and Aggrieved Members
First is the waning popularity of his party; the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA in the state as a result of a rancorous primary election that saw many of its foundation members losing tickets to one position or the other. It will be the biggest problem of the party. While most of the members left for other parties, others stayed put, but determined to work against the party in the elections.
The above is the reason APGA performed abysmally in the national assembly election, where not even one senatorial seat was won, while of the 11 federal constituencies in the state, APGA was only able to win four in elections that have already been declared, while the Peoples Democratic Party took the others.
Some members of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, under the aegis of APGA Aggrieved Forum, recently called on the Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano to sack the leadership of the party. The group which consisted of aspirants of the party in last year’s primary election said if Obiano failed to do so, the party will perform abysmally in the state assembly election which comes up on March 9.
The spokesperson of the group, Mr Onyeka Mbanaso who spoke to journalists in Awka, after a meeting of the forum said the leadership of the party, under Dr Victor Oye had performed poorly, and that failure to remove them, the party may lose the Anambra State House of Assembly to the opposition party, “We are giving Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano 9-days ultimatum to sack the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye and cause him to refund monies he extorted from aspirants during the primary election. What happened in last Saturday election(national assembly election) where APGA performed poorly is a preamble of what will befall the party during next week House of Assembly election across the 30 state constituencies if necessary action is not taken. So we the aggrieved members of this party, are calling on the Board of Trustees Chairman who is also the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano and other concerned stakeholders to sack Chief Victor Oye.”
Though reacting to this, Oye told DAILY POST that the aggrieved members were an insignificant few, who were merely seeking a way to cause division in the party. He said APGA has never been as strong as it is now, and that the party put up a strong fight in Saturday’s election, leading to the winning of 11 House of Representative seats across the country. “APGA is the third biggest political party in the country. We all know why last Saturday’s election went that way, and I can assure you that the House of Assembly election will be a totally different ball game,” Oye said.
Bitter Rivalry Between Obiano and Obi
Another glaring reason why Obiano would be fighting the battle of his life is that he glaringly spoke and worked against the emergence of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi who is known to have singlehandedly worked for his election as a first-time governor in the state.
It has been rumoured previously that the PDP intends to pay Obiano back in his own coin if the party is able to secure majority seat in the 30-man Anambra State House of Assembly. The plan as previously rumoured was to use the majority members to remove Obiano as governor of the state. Though no PDP chieftain, nor the PDP presidential running mate, Peter Obi has been linked to this, the governor is not taking the threat lightly.
Obiano’s Tactics to Sweep Assembly Seats
To underscore the importance placed by the governor on his party’s victory in the state assembly election, Obiano seems to have rolled out every machinery available to him, to ensure that his party wins a majority of the seats.
On Tuesday this week, Obiano assembled all the members of APGA in the state at Alex Ekwueme Square for a mega rally, where he charged them to ensure that each politician delivered their state constituencies to APGA and her candidates for the election. The governor made it clear that failing to do so may push the state back to the old days when PDP was in charge of the state, where public facilities were set ablaze as a result of political differences.
The governor had also reportedly doled out good sums of monies to coordinators of various constituencies to ensure that all their candidates were delivered. He publicly begged all, especially aggrieved members to sheath their swords and also work for the emergence of APGA state assembly candidates, claiming that doing so will ensure harmony in the state as it may be difficult to govern the state if its assembly is populated by people of opposition parties.
Besides speaking with politicians, Obiano also met civil servants in the state, where he charged them to ensure the victory for All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidates in the 30 constituencies in the March 9 House of Assembly election to ensure stability. Obiano who addressed members of the organised labour at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat in Awka on Tuesday said only an APGA filled House of Assembly would ensure consistency and sustainability of government activities and enable implement his good intensions for workers with ease.
He said if the party did not enjoy majority in the lawmaking house, there were bound to be disturbances which would need to be settled with state resources and urged them to avoid such by casting their votes massively for APGA candidates. The governor urged them to replicate the support they gave him which made him win in all the 21 local governments of the state during the 2017 governorship election again by securing the 30 seats available in the House of Assembly for APGA.
“I have come to tell you the importance of the coming election, other speakers have told you what we are doing for you. I want to tell you that irrespective that your relation is in another party or you belong to any church, what we want is 30/30 and all has to be APGA, that is the only way we can continue to pay your salary as and when due. If you know you want to continue to get your alert(salaries) regularly, make sure you and your families vote for APGA candidates on Saturday, March 9. The importance is that if don’t return all APGA candidates there will not be political stability and resources meant for development of the state will be diverted to settling those scores,” he said.
Obiano promised that his government would be the first to implement New Minimum Wage when ever it is approved. He said while some states where owing upward of nine months salary, workers in Anambra were enjoying regular salary and allowance. “For us to continue to do this and give you Christmas rice which is not part of conditions of service, we have to vote for APGA. I beg you to show your governor and vote APGA 30/30 on Saturday just as you gave me 21/21,” he said.
As Saturday approaches, it will be seen if the people truly would heed to Obiano’s plea, or to the pleas of most social media commentators who have been charging the electorate to vote mixed parties in the house to end the docility and comfort of both the state governor and the assembly itself.