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Opinions of Saturday, 6 November 2021

Columnist: Dr. Onukwuli

How an APC win could reposition Anambra

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AHEAD of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State the All Progressives Congress, APC, has received into its fold many people, including senators, members of the House of Representatives, members of the State House of Assembly, stakeholders and indeed the serving Deputy Governor.

While switching over to the party from the ruling APGA government the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke said: “All over Anambra and indeed the South East region, the dominant complaint is the feeling of alienation by our people in the affairs of our country. And when you are so challenged, do you further go into your cocoon, or do you seek accommodation and understanding from your other compatriots”?

Okeke may not have said everything, but his views represent the silent majority who are no longer amused by the provincial politics that has kept Anambra State down. It is sad that the APGA government in an attempt to play down the damage the defections have done to the psyche of its members alluded to monetary inducement. But the truth, however, is that the people are tired of playing the game from the flank.

The argument that opposition politics has worked for the state and that she has no need to try something new falls flat in the face of reality. Few entrenched interest whose purpose the futile opposition politics serves have continued to manipulate the emotions of the people for a long time. And to sustain the deceit, they point to a likely state of uncertainty and lack of progress if another party is allowed a hold on government while cleverly passing middling achievements of the government as phenomenal success.

It is not the intention of this piece to punch holes in the argument as advanced, but to help further the positives of aligning with the centre for the greater good of the state. Arguing that Anambra does not need to belong to a major political party to achieve her dream of being one of the best performing states in Nigeria is not supported by facts check and the reality on ground. A state may be blessed with good managers and resources, but can be limited if she does play the right politics. This is especially so in the Third World countries where opposition is tolerated. A state like Anambra that produced leaders of Nigeria does not need to go cap in hand to take what belongs to her.

For example, the traffic frustrations the people face in the state today is partly incompetence and bad politics. The effort the state spent in explaining which is federal road and which is not could be put to other uses if our politics is right. But because incompetence breeds complaint and the tendency to whip up unnecessary sentiments, the state is happy to blame the Federal Government for all the woes. Although hooking up to the centre does not guarantee all there are to deal with challenges, but it should hold better for Anambra because of her uniqueness. There is no gainsaying that an Andy Ubah governorship under the APC holds many promises for the state, particularly in view of his wealth of experience and contact at the topmost level of government.

Anambra cannot claim to be better off being a lone APGA state. The downside of this is not easily noticed because of the industry and self-reliant nature of an Anambra man. Electing Senator Andy Ubah, I have always argued, holds better opportunities for the state than continuing in dull and uncreative opposition. His wealth of experience and contact within the Nigerian state will help unlock the many potentials of the state yet to be harnessed.

His interest to transform the state and place her on a platform where she can comfortably negotiate with other states as equal partners should not be allowed to suffer stillbirth just because few beneficiaries of marginal politics in the state have said so through vicious propaganda.

We may have allowed obvious descent to vicious propaganda, but it does not take away the fact that Andy has the contact and reach to bring immediate transformation to the state. Even as the signs that the state is ready to do away with futile opposition on November 6 through mass defections into the APC, we still owe it ourselves to make effort to see it happen.

Following from here Anambra does not want to sit idly by while major decisions are taken behind her. She wants to reclaim her lead role in propagating the Igbo agenda in the larger Nigerian context. It cannot be said with any sense of pride that the state has been operating at her full potentials since playing opposition politics in the last sixteen years. Whatever achievements seen in the state have been average and they beggar the ideals for which the state was created.

The number of years wasted, trying to contend with issues of federal concern should have been spent in dealing with development around the state. Many may want to argue that the state is doing well and should be left to continue to run on her own terms, but the evidence on ground does not support this. The state is yet to wear the look of a capital city more than 30 years after creation. The drawbacks of playing marginal politics are many which the few beneficiaries in the state are not ready to discard.

Anambra State is too important to be isolated in national politics. She has a lot to gain by being in the big fold and a lot to lose by staying out of it. The concerted effort to demonize the APC and de-market its candidate Senator Andy Uba does not in any way hurt the decision of the people who have realised the need to integrate.

Marginal politics does not serve any purpose except as a mine for those who propagate the idea that it is better to be a big fish in a sea than any other fish in an ocean. In the end, it does not profit the state as they have made the people to believe.