There are two basic assumptions in politics. First is that all politics is local. The second is that you win with your best and most capable and credible candidate. With these assumptions, there is the feeling that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will make huge impact in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State only with its best and most capable, credible candidate, irrespective of his or her zone. Within this context, therefore, the politics of Anambra, like all others, is strictly, and directly connected to the development and progress of the state and its relationship with the power centre, Abuja. It, therefore, goes beyond sectional sentiments.
Anambra people crave progress. For them, the craving stems from the reality of the differences made in the life of the state by, first, Peter Obi and, secondly, Willie Obiano. Between these two, Obi remains outstanding. Many people in Anambra will readily confess that the state had its best romance with governance under Obi.
What they have experienced between when Obi handed over to Obiano and today is a total departure from governance and enthronement of mediocrity. Mediocrity is one thing the average Anambrarian abhors. He/she strives for excellence and works hard to be at the top. That is why most people in the state are disappointed with Obiano.
Obiano was not the most capable candidate at the time he was picked. However, he became possible on the back of an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) internal policy of zoning the governorship. For most Anambra people, that policy ought not to have been adopted by APGA because, they argue, it has robbed the state of eight years, ending January 2022.
The majority of the people now believe, argue and insist that emphasis, henceforth, must be on a candidate’s ability to lead, credibility and integrity in politics and business, and also leadership credentials. Somehow, even aspirants to the governorship of the state, also, believe that these are the most essential qualities that the next governor must possess. Only a few of the aspirants are therefore seeking to gain support of the people on the grounds of zoning.
As it is, APGA, which is still struggling to regain balance, and acceptance, due to the fiasco that was Obiano’s leadership, has zoned its governorship ticket to Anambra South. In doing so, it hopes to take advantage of the sentiments of its remaining supporters in the zone. Of a right, Anambra South deserves the APGA ticket.
It has previously been through Anambra Central (Peter Obi) and Anambra North (Willie Obiano). But an internal policy of APGA, cannot, and ought not to become gospel for all political parties interested in snatching power from APGA. Doing so would be suicidal. I will tell you why.
As it is, APGA will pick its candidate from Anambra South which is represented in the Senate presently by YPP. The YPP, a relatively unknown party, dusted all the big names including APGA to pick the Senate seat. So, APGA is literally fighting to regain balance in the south with YPP holding forte. Besides, there is also the possibility of APC following the APGA policy and going south to pick its flagbearer. This means APGA, YPP and APC will tear the south scavenging votes and support. This reality does not end with the three political parties. Others are likely to build on APGA sentiments and also go south to pick their candidates. The outcome is best imagined.
This is why I said it will be suicidal for PDP to also go south to hunt for a candidate. It could also be a trap set for it by APGA. As it is, PDP comes clear as the strongest political party in Anambra at the moment. Its best bet, in the face of the emerging reality, therefore, is to steer clear of any pressure to zone its ticket to any particular zone, and insist on its no-zoning policy, but emphasize more on the integrity, credibility, capacity of its candidate. Most people believe that doing so would win more hearts for PDP going into the election. Now, if you analyze the Anambra political environment critically, it will be observed that PDP will easily take the baton from APGA if it allows its internal democracy processes to pick a most qualified and generally accepted candidate.
However, most politically conscious Anambra people argue, and insist, that PDP is strongest in Anambra central. This, they say, is proven by the fact that PDP defeated APGA in the last senatorial election in the zone. They also argue that all members of the House of Representatives from Anambra central were PDP until the election tribunal snatched the Dunukofia/Anaocha/Njikoka seat and handed same over to APGA; not on account of fact that APGA actually won the election but as a consequence of an internal infraction within PDP. Implication of this is that PDP is still firmly rooted in Anambra central like it is in Anambra north and parts of the south.
Therefore, for political pundits, PDP must look beyond the southern part of the state if it actually intends to wrest power from PDP. Also, of 11 persons representing Anambra in the House of Representatives, six are of the PDP while five are from APGA. This evidently shows the strength of PDP in Anambra, which the leadership of PDP must harvest for victory in the next election. Already, it is said that many APGA and APC followers in the central and northern districts of the state are flocking PDP in anticipation.
Doing so is squarely rooted in the party fighting from its strongest point. It is poor strategy to fight from ones weakest point. Therefore, Anambra South will be a disaster if PDP falls for the bait and is lured into an APGA trap. So, the localization of politics for Anambra state indicates that the people are in search of a way forward for their state.
That way forward is now being built on the foundations of competence and ability to translate leadership into deliverables that would lift the living standard of the people and also change the narrative on the state. It is for this reason that majority of the people of the state believe that PDP cannot be coerced, or blackmailed, by interested aspirants to shut its door against the aspiration of people from other zones of the state to vie for the top job.
As it is, the majority of people in Anambra state are determined to even vote in a most competent and capable hand even if he/she is from Anambra north. This shows how thirsty the people are for a change in their leadership narrative. This is a change they crave and are willing to give their all to achieve it.
Pundits believe also that, if PDP gets it right with Anambra, it would have successfully signalled its readiness to regain its place in the South-East’s political leadership and, by extrapolation, national leadership in 2023. The dice is now PDP’s to throw. However, to effectively throw it and score, the party must be wary of the tendencies of its members to play the black sheep.
This is one reality that has consistently worked against the party’s quest to reclaim power in Anambra in the past 15 years. Most political leaders in the state argue that PDP failed in the past because its members trade the party to the ruling party for momentary comfort. They also believe that if such tendencies are curtailed, Government House, Awka, is a reality for the PDP.