A NEW Anambra State is in
the making. It is an evolving
society in which the governmentcitizen
pact is growing roots.
The cultivation of this social
progressive force reached a new
height with the resolution of the
November 18, 2017 governorship
poll. Some say the journey started
with the revolt of the Chris Ngige
regime shortly after it came to
office in 2003. I disagree.
Yes, there was an attempt
at a new consciousness but it
was circumstantial, narrow in
objective and largely driven by
sentiment. The radical shift came
with the reclamation of Peter
Obi’s stolen 2003 governorship
mandate. That democratic
empowerment ushered in
the season of citizen-centred
governance. But, after eight years
of this wind of change, the road of
renewal ran into fresh challenges
from both predictable and
unexpected quarters. Governor
Willie Obiano’s programme of
consolidation and expansion soon
met with opposition from not just
the old order, but foundation
members of the movement.
Consequently, the November 18,
2017 poll effectively became the
plebiscite on which road to travel.
But, Willie Obiano had so
distinguished himself in piloting
the affairs of the state that his
candidacy became synonymous
with stability, a strong economy
and improved social services. The
state’s economy was rebounding
with huge investment inflow and
increasing job opportunities.
A remarkable road maintenance
service was in swing, shoring
up the functionality of ageing
and poorly constructed roads in
past dispensations but perhaps
more significantly, instilling in the
public consciousness the value of
maintenance culture. In less than
two years, the profile of Awka,
the capital city, had changed from
spatial anonymity to a landscape of
landmarks.
Social welfare schemes
ranging from subsidized mass
transportation, suspension of
school and market levies, to pay
rise for workers gave a human face
to governance. Under Obiano, the
people acquired a sense of security,
not just from the significant
reduction in crime rate but from
responsive leadership. Many
still marvel at the seeming ease
with which Obiano achieved the
relocation of Boko Haram suspects
from Ekwulobia Prison under
trying political circumstances.
Today, suspects in the Ozubulu
killings are on trial as promised.
This leadership delivery inevitably
translated into APGA’s fortunes.
APGA, it is to be remembered, has
been in government in Anambra
State in the past twelve years. And,
even the most uncharitable critic
concedes that in that short stretch
of Nigeria’s political economy,
Anambra transited from the fringes
of a failing State to the frontline of
development. This phenomenal
leap did not occur in a vacuum
and continues to be forged in

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the framework of the APGA
model. As a movement, APGA is
concerned about giving a voice to
the voiceless; revisiting the plight
of the marginalised; and charting
an inclusive process for creating a
stable political union in the country.
Given this progressive agenda,
it is easy to see how the APGA
mission of social reconstruction
cannot be divorced from economic
empowerment.
However, in the true dynamism
of people and society, the old
order that held down the state
with transactional politics in the
past had not actually given up.
Though ousted from government,
it was able to still retain vestiges
of power because of the quasi
unitary structure of the Nigerian
state – a system that potentially
makes the 36 small states of the
federation vulnerable to the
exercise of federal authority. In the
past one and a half decades, this
neo-oligarchic club was beaten but
not bowed; and bidding it’s time to
stage a comeback to governmental
influence. And, an opening
occurred in the primaries of the
APC where a well known political
contractor backed Tony Nwoye to
clinch the ticket of the party. The
sponsor had an unflattering history
of meddling in governments,
especially during military rule; and
the people still recall with regret
that this era was the most wasteful
years of government in the State.
Adding the brash youthfulness and
inexperience of the candidate to the
bargain was a burden Ndi Anambra
were not prepared to accept.

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The breakaway fraction of APGA
that eventually produced the
candidate of the PDP presented
no better alternative. With a great
record as former Governor of
Anambra State and pathfinder in
Anambra’s democratic struggle,
Mr Peter Obi stood a good chance
of offering a new direction in
Anambra’s journey. But he had
soon set many minds wondering
with the media attacks against
Governor Obiano which the people
could not justify in the face of the
evidence before them.
The doubts graduated into
disapproval with Obi’s indiscreet
personalisation of the state’s
politics. The notion of I enthroned,
I am dethroning and will reenthrone
was a sharp statement
which Ndi Anambra in all their
fickle mindedness could not
ignore. A suggestion of return to
any form of behind-the-scene-
Governor in the running of the
State was disappointing. It was
particularly disappointing coming
from those perceived as heroes of
the State’s democratic struggle. It
was an objectionable scheme, an
overreach doomed to failure in the
face of the Obiano trends.
On a much lesser scale, the
zoning factor came into play in
the November 2017 election. In
spite of earlier pronouncements
by the party leaders that no zoning
policy was in force, as apparently
indicated in the inclusion of
aspirants from other zones in their
primaries, the APC and PDP each
came up with candidates who
hailed from the north senatorial

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zone as Obiano! An interesting
coincidence! For the APC as
for the PDP, the nomination was
a crunch exercise to slice out a
piece of the zoning meat. But the
zoning bit only made sense in
terms of Obiano’s continuation.
In the gentleman zoning
‘agreement’, the Governorship
was to rotate among senatorial
districts every eight years. It
was, therefore, easy to see the
deception in the candidates
pledging to do single tenure of
four years! And, credit goes to
Mr Peter Obi for proposing the
APGA zoning policy in 2009
when he sought a second term
ticket. The underlying principle
was that four years was not
enough to achieve optimal
result.
In the end, the people found
the canvassers for change in
Anambra State overflowing
with grandstanding but lacking
in the specifics. We did not
hear a word on how to reduce
dependence on federal revenue
allocation. There was no word
on how to handle agitations for
wage increase. There was no
word on the means of funding a
thousand campaign promises in
the face of declining oil revenue.
APGA had lost electoral
victories to the PDP’s rigging
machinery since 2003. With the
PDP’s reign of impunity over,
the APGA revolution looks set
to flourish.


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