The major contenders in the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State have intensified campaigns as the election day inches closer, writes David-Chyddy Eleke
Anambra State’s governorship election is two weeks from today. However, the last few weeks had witnessed intense campaigns across the contending parties, especially the five major candidates. But last week was particularly interesting with some of the dramatic turn of events as captured here.
Obiano Trudges on
Governor Willie Obiano’s campaign train might have suffered a bit of setback in the week, following a court ruling which asked him to stop parading himself as the APGA candidate. Although a faction of the party leadership had issued a statement, affirming him as their authentic candidate, that cannot be as assuring as it sounds.
What may be in the offing in the state if not nipped in the bud might as well be another Ondo scenario. There are those who believe that this might be an attempt to distract the governor and keep him busy with something else while they perfect their game.
Recall that the Martin Agbaso leadership of APGA has approached the Supreme Court to upturn the ruling of the Court of Appeal which invalidated the Enugu High Court judgement that recognised him as the national chairman of APGA.
Even in the midst of these, Obiano is recorded to have visited a total of 19 local government areas, where he had campaigned for votes and also received assurances of the people that they were with him.
In Orumba North Local Government Area, where he visited last week, the transition committee chairman of the local government, Mr. Emeka Aforka, took time to reel out some of the achievements of the governor in the area, insisting that in the history of the council area, no governor had been as benevolent as Obiano.
In Orumba South, the governor was welcomed by a huge crowd of supporters, who had attended the rally to listen to him speak. The event was a very colourful one, because one of the pillars of the local government, Hon Ben Nwankwo, a member of the House of Representatives, dumped his former party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to declare support for APGA.
Nwankwo, who defected with over 100,000 supporters as he mounted the podium, where he was formerly admitted into the party by the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Oye, and also presented with party insignias, told the crowd that he decided to leave the PDP for APGA having seen that APGA was the only party that truly belonged to the Igbos.
Obaze Counts on Experience, Credibility
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Oseloka Obaze, like his counterparts in others parties, has been moving from local government to local government asking for votes from the people. Obaze, a diplomat turned-politician has brought humility into politics, and this has endeared him to a lot of people at the grassroots.
The former SSG to Obiano is one candidate, who would stop his convoy while on a campaign train, just because he noticed farmers in their farms, and his singular purpose would be to meet them one-on-one to talk to them and beg for their votes. In market places, Obaze will also breech the advice of his security detail to interact with people, most of whom are elderly and whose phone calls he picks in order to identify with them.
Though former Governor Peter Obi is not in the race, the opponents of the PDP see him as their major challenger. They have as such not spared him in the campaign propaganda as he has been accused of supporting a candidate with the hope of playing the godfather role when his godson emerges.
The acceptability of the former governor may be the reason for the headache of the opposition, but one thing is clear, if Obaze wins the election, he owes his victory not just to Obi, but also to experience and credibility. But Obi has shown a good understanding of politicsa of the state and has been taking him around to get his other friends support his candidature.
Chidoka Deploys Technology
The candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Osita Chidoka, has brought innovations into the state’s electioneering. The Obosi-born high chief is deploying technology and scientific means to woo voters for the election. Already, Chidoka has set up a call centre in his native Obosi, where over 100 young ladies sit everyday and make calls to voters across the state, and persuade them to vote for him, outlining his manifesto and his capacity to deliver the state.
Many voters including journalists have confirmed that they received calls from smooth talking young girls, who regale them with the personality of Chidoka and end up soliciting for votes from them. Not done, Chidoka has also inaugurated about 26,000 workers, who canvass for votes for him in all the nook and cranny of the state. The canvassers, THISDAY learnt, go from house to house convincing people on why they should vote for Chidoka.
The candidate confirmed this to journalists in a press conference to unveil his manifesto, where he claimed to be running a data-driven campaign that would not expend energy on people, who do not have their permanent voters cards, just as his campaign organisation has analysed and come up with the number of people that had the cards in various areas and are concentrating on wooing them.
Ezeemo Banks on His Social Contract
Penultimate Saturday, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo officially kicked off his campaign at the All Saints Cathedral field, Onitsha. The event was attended by a large crowd of supporters, whom he boosted were not the usual hired crowd as other parties had done. Though the event came late, Ezeemo has toured almost all the 181 communities in the state soliciting for votes from them.
In what seemed like a new idea in politicking in the state, Ezeemo signed a social contract with groups in the state, which consisted of the plans he hoped to achieve in the various sectors of the state. He then read out the social contracts with definite actions he would take to address infrastructural, policy and social justice issues that militate against the smooth and optimal functioning of the various groups in the state. He signed them and asked for a representative of the various demographics to sign on their column.
Ezeemo also introduced his running mate, 39-year old Stanley Nkwoka, whom he referred to as “one who has distinguished himself as an environmentalist and a consultant and therefore deserves a chance in governance.” He said his administration was poised to give everyone equal chance to exercise his or her potential regardless of age or background.
The rally afforded Ezeemo the opportunity of feeling the people’s love for him as several groups including market, youths and professional groups took time to march past, singing his support, and expressing their confidence in his power to redeem the state.
Nwoye Takes His Chances
One thing is surely working for the 42-year-old governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that thing is his youthfulness. He has attracted to himself, young people in hordes, and has so far used them to wage a social media war with the incumbent government in the state.
It is not certain what the Tony Nwoye campaign organisation has done since it kicked off campaigns in Onitsha, because not much of activities have been seen in the camp. Though THISDAY gathered that the young medical doctor had held a rally in Anambra East, where he and Obiano both hail from, boasting at the rally that he would beat the governor silly in the election.
A source said the paucity of activities in the APC camp may be related to complaints of unavailability of funds. The party, however, held a recent rally in Awka South local government area, during which Nwoye pledged to remain resolute to serve and justify the trust reposed in him by the people. He assured that he would work tirelessly to deliver good governance for the collective good of all Anambra people.
He said his manifesto would stand on a tripod of security, infrastructure development and job creation for the youths. He also said he was fully aware that a safer Anambra would attract more investments from local and foreign investors hence his fidelity to his promise in the first quarter as governor is to improve on the security in the state with an investment that would pave the way for free flow of investors within and outside the state.