Opinion

Anambra 2021: Stop the steal!

Barring any last-minute unforeseen circumstances, the Anambra State Governorship Election will be held on the 6th of November 2021. INEC, the electoral umpire had indicated her preparedness to conduct the election as scheduled.

 

It has released the final list of candidates and declared there will be no going back on the date, apparently in response to the violence on the streets in parts of the state instigated by some people campaigning for ‘No Election’ or gunning for constitutional crisis that may give room for the imposition of a ‘State Emergency’.

 

I agree with INEC that the election must go on except Nigeria is self-admitting she has become a completely failed state. The government has no business yielding to the threat and intimidation of non-state actors on the issue of ‘No Election’.

 

It is the responsibility of the government to put down any insurrection threatening the democratic process, the peace and security of the people. I hope those championing ‘No Election’ will understand the futility of boycotting this particular election.

 

The number of people that turned out to vote will determine the political leadership in the next four years and perhaps eight years. The agitation for self-determination actually makes the participation in the November 6th election and other elections imperative.

 

There is no place in modern history where non-state actors without political foothold successfully actualize the liberation of the people without first having political authority.

 

The self-determination group should borrow some sense from places like Spanish Catalonia, South Sudan, Eritrea and other societies in guiding their activities. Rather than boycotting elections, they should use their critical mass to elect candidates of their choice who will reflect and represent their values.

 

If the Biafran group for example will elect the governors, Senators and Assembly members that reflect their values, they would have scored a major milestone in their agitation. To do otherwise will be wasting time and opportunity.

 

So far, there are 18 political parties jostling for the coveted governorship position. But from every analysis it would appear this will be a hotly contested election between four parties. Those are: APGA, APC, YPP and PDP.

 

Previous elections in the state had remarkably been peaceful unlike this very election which has been riddled with unprecedented violence, politically motivated assassinations, attacks on political rallies and threat of complete shut-down.

There are some unverified reports attempting to pin the violence on the political desperation of the centre-leaning APC who are anxious to capture Anambra State. The party has not hidden her desperation and has employed underhand tactics to swell their ranks.

 

They have embarked on massive recruitment of politicians with corruption cases and people without electoral values in their make- believe disguise to paint a picture of acceptability in preparation to steal the election. This has no doubt increased the tension in the state as the average electorate now believes the national ruling party is out to steal the election.

 

The recent statement by Abubakar Malami, the chief law officer of the Federation, who reportedly is a member of the APC’s National Campaign Council for the Anambra Governorship Election, though not categorical, but insinuated that the Federal Government might impose state of emergency on the beleaguered state to ensure a hitch free election rankled-feathers.

 

To many discerning minds the threat is a smokescreen by the ruling national party to make further incursion into the South East. If Anambra is captured by hook or by crook the Igbo nation is captured. Anambra means a lot to the Igbo.

 

The state represents Igbo pride and resilience. My people, if we refuse their intimidation we will win. If we refuse their bribery and inducement, we can win. We can stop the steal of this election. We can piece this out by putting aside our differences, file out in our numbers on November 6th and massively vote against the looming catastrophe.

 

We must use our votes to tell them that thou shall not steal and that both our culture and religion forbid stealing. So says the Lord of Host in the 8th Commandment. I say this because I have had people walk up to me and complain about Governor Willie Obiano.

 

How he did this and didn’t do that and how upset they are with him. Point to note is that H.E Governor Obiano will not be on the ballot. What is at stake is far much bigger than one individual and our anger. What is at stake is our collective pride as ndi-Igbo. We must not cut our nose to spite our face.

Another point to note is that there is no way the governor nor any government can in eight years resolve all our issues. However, it is an established fact that when compared to his contemporaries, Anambra under Governor Willie Obiano is a success story.

Anambra State, by every index of development, remains a shining light of the nation worthy of emulation credit to the cumulative giant strides of the APGA leadership of the state in the past 16 years. APGA’s leadership achievements need not be overemphasized.

They speak for themselves. The party’s success stories in all facets of life are too glaring and too obvious to be denied or repudiated even by the most virulent of critics.

 

In the upcoming election and to ensure the state grows from strength to strength, the party has put forward as its flag bearer one of the very best the state can boast of in the person of Prof. Charles Soludo, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). I am privileged to have interacted with virtually all the major candidates in this election and can largely write their character reference. They are all fine gentlemen on their individual merits but Prof. Soludo stands poles apart.

 

He is exceptional. I don’t think there is any candidate that commands his kind of international and national clout. He is one candidate that will hit  the ground running from day one of his being sworn in as governor because he is coming prepared for the job.

 

Here is a man whose interest in politics is driven by the desire to transform his people. I recall a particular encounter some years ago when I advised him to run for the Senate. Without thinking, he gave me a point-blank answer – NO!

 

And for good measure he added that his only interest in politics is to use Anambra as a model to showcase how a state can be transformed from poverty to wealth. I have had the honour and opportunity to interact with people in all the 21 local government areas of the state,

I dare say that the people’s needs are the same; what the people want is someone that understand their needs; someone who will create a good economy; who will provide the kind of education that will enable them fit into the economy; who understands they need jobs when they can be employed; who understands they need to be paid for work they have done and that when they retire, they retire with respect and dignity. In other words, the civil servants and pensioners want their salaries and pensions paid as at when due.

 

They want someone who will create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. They want when they are sick to be able to go to a good hospital at an affordable cost.

They want to live in peace and security. Issues like these are what drive Soludo’s interest in politics. People want to elect a candidate who understands the issues as they affect them and who can assist in resolving them. They are not bothered about centre-leaning politics or extreme left or right. They just want impactful leadership! If our people are seeing what I am seeing, we must unite our forces to stop the stealing of this election. We must see the massive recruitment of tainted politicians using financial inducement and mouth-watering offers for what it is. Anambra’s future must not be mortgaged. If we are not pretending about this struggle to liberate ourselves from slavery and external domination then we must not miss the opportunity of having one of our very best elected as governor.

 

If we want a better and guaranteed future for our children then we need not look further than Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo. A word is enough for the wise.

 

 

 

 

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