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Why obiano won: The Ojukwu factor, politics and intrigues

By Ayobami Adedinni

It is no longer news that the electoral body in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has officially declared the incumbent governor of Anambra State and candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) Willie Obiano, winner of the governorship election held on Saturday.

Obiano had a landslide  in all 21 local government areas with a total of 234, 071 votes and returned for his second tenure of four years.

The All Progressives Congress’s candidate Tony Nwoye came a distant second after garnering 98, 752. The candidate of the People’s Democratic Party Oseloka Obaze polled 70, 293.t

Political pundits had with the benefit of hindsight, said that APGA, the ‘resident’ political party in Anambra, will win the election “not because of the charisma of the incumbent governor but because of the cultural and historical affiliation the citizens have with the founder of the party, late Dim, Odumegwu Ojukwu. Ojukwu was the leader of the Biafran war between 1967 to 1970”.

Until his death on 26 November 2011, Ojukwu was still seen as the leader of the Igbo race, South-East Nigeria and the citizens, especially in his home state, Anambra, have developed that umbilical relationship with Ojukwu’s party, APGA.

 Governor Willie Obiano’s political campaigns have hinted on this historical relationship while he asked the citizens to vote for APGA to “preserve the vision, tradition and ideals of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Ikemba Nnewi” so that the “ofo” (symbol of innocence) of the Igbo people that was handed over to him would not be destroyed or taken away by strangers.

 According to political pundits on Sunday, the determination of Anambra electorate to ensure continuity of power shift, which gives the Senatorial districts of the state the opportunity of producing a governor, was a major reason Governor Obiano got preponderance of votes cast in the Saturday’s election.

 They said before the election, the view was expressed in many quarters that the only way to ensure peace in the political equation of Anambra was to follow power shift which brought Obiano to power.

 Sources said this caused Anambra political bigwigs to queue behind Obiano especially towards the close of campaigns.

 Again, they said, Obiano gained sympathy of Anambra people who were not happy with his predecessor, Peter Obi, who refused to forgive the governor for unknown offence. Both Obi and Obiano are Catholics and the Catholics were not happy that Obi was unforgiving. They clearly campaigned for Obiano among their members.

 Obiano also got added advantage when Obi presented Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Oseloka Henry Obaze, to continue from where Obiano would have stopped.

 Anambra people felt Obi was taking them for a ride by abandoning Obiano who he now claimed was introduced by former national chairman of APGA, Victor Umeh.

 Business people in Anambra said they voted for Obiano following his performance in securing the state.

 Although Peter Obi, his predecessor, introduced security measures to safeguard lives and properties, they said Obiano reaffirmed it and gave citizens much to cheer.

 Obiano, in his acceptance speech titled, ‘Time to Build a New World’, in Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government on Sunday, declared that “this sweet victory belongs to Ndi Anambra”.

 “It belongs to the wheelbarrow pushers and the ‘okada’ riders who have clearly seen in our recent political experience, a glimmer of light in the horizon.

 “It belongs to the farmers in Ayamelum, Onono, Ogbaru, Omasi, Omor and Ufuma who have now realised that agriculture is the future of Nigeria.

 “It belongs to the teachers and civil servants who have seen that a motivated workforce is the greatest asset of any government.

 “It belongs to the illustrious sons and daughters of Anambra State who have seen the star of this great state rise in the Eastern skies and have answered our call to bring home their naira and dollars to put our dear state on the investment map.

“This victory belongs to all of us. My dear people, this victory is not a winner takes it all.”

Obiano said “in the New Anambra of my dream, everyone is a winner.”

He urged other governorship candidates to join in building the new Anambra that the citizens would be proud of.

“I say to you; my brothers, we have all fought a good fight, but Anambra State is the winner.

“The interest of Anambra State is bigger than the private ambitions of anyone of us.

“Our beloved state needs our talent and our time. The time to build a better place is now.”

Meanwhile, Oseloka Obaze, the candidate of PDP, has rejected the result of Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra.

Obaze, in a statement on Sunday, said the result as released by INEC did not reflect what happened in the field.

Obaze said there were cases of inconsistency and over voting when compared with the records from the electronic card reader.

He also said it was an aberration that APGA could win all the 21 local government areas.

“The Anambra governorship election results just released by INEC does not reflect the realities of the votes cast on November 18 by the Anambra electorate.

“The over voting and inconsistencies between the counted ballots and card reader data remain exceedingly worrisome.

“The uniformity of the incumbent governor wining  21 local governments is a political aberration in the context of Anambra politics.

“The election result as reported, shows that nothing matters to the Anambra electorate.

“The people have spoken, they have taken a cursory long term view of what they wish for Anambra State.”

A breakdown of the result is as follow: Anambra West: APGA, 8,152; APC, 4,261; PDP, 1,578; Nnewi South: APGA, 10,465; APC, 2,765; PDP, 3,255; Nnewi North:

 APGA, 10,845; APC, 3,616; PDP, 4,157; Idemili South: APGA, 12,180; APC, 4,632; PDP, 2,767; Ogbaru: APGA, 6,615; APC, 3,415; PDP, 4,416; Idemili South: APGA, 5,742; APC, 4,063; PDP, 2,629; Orumba North: APGA, 8,766; APC, 3,551; PDP, 3,865; Awka North: APGA, 7,164; APC, 3,727; PDP, 3,347; Onitsha South: APGA, 7,082; APC, 2,012; PDP, 3,423; Oyi: APGA, 11,840; APC, 5,085; PDP, 1,296; Ihiala: APGA, 14,379; APC, 7,894; PDP, 4,706; Anambra East: APGA, 20,510; APC, 5,248; PDP, 1,132; Awka South: APGA, 18,957; APC, 6,167: PDP, 5,354.

 Others are Njikoka LGA: APGA, 16,944; APC, 5,756; PDP, 3,477: Dunukofia LGA: APGA, 8,575; APC, 7,016; PDP, 1,530; Anyamelum LGA: APGA, 14,593; APC, 5,413; PDP, 2,323; Anaocha Local Government: APGA, 11,237; APC, 5,297; PDP, 6,544; Orumba South Local Government Area: APGA, 8,125; APC, 3,802;

 PDP, 2,412; Ekwusigo Local Government Area: APGA, 8,595; APC, 5, 412; PDP, 3,856; Aguata Local Government Area: APGA, 13,167; APC, 5,807; PDP, 4,073; Onitsha North Local Government Area: APGA, 10,138; APC, 3,802; and PDP 4,143.

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