By James Eze (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The opposition camp was thrown aghast on Tuesday in Anambra State as images of Governor Willie Obiano’s colourful procession to the party Head Office in Abuja to pick his expression of interest and party nomination form for the November 18, 2017 gubernatorial election in the state floated into the social media space.
Although he is still in the mourning mood following the Ozubulu church mafia style killings last Sunday, the governor’s numerous diehard followers were able to dredge up enough cheerfulness to give him a rousing welcome at the party head office. Life has to go on. As would be expected, the opposition did not miss the obvious show of strength put up by the party which has made it abundantly clear that Anambra cannot be ceded to any other party at this moment in time. It was evidently in a bid to reinforce this statement of intent that the entire party hierarchy emptied itself into Abuja on Tuesday to show just how ready their platform is for the coming challenge.
Indeed, it was important to demonstrate a high degree of organization and a capacity to stand up for each other. APGA has been enmeshed in a seething crisis that has created illusions of disunity in recent times. Not many people watching the court drama that has played out like a tasteless soap opera for weeks now are actually aware that the conflict is between only three disillusioned members of the party and the rest of the organization. Not many people are even aware that what is playing out is induced by Fifth columnists whose sole intent is to thwart Governor Obiano’s second term bid. Neither do many people know that APGA is peaceful as ever, united as ever and massively loved in Anambra State as ever. But because it is in the inherent nature of man to believe bad news, many people erroneously believe that the party is troubled. But that is a lie. APGA is solid as ever. The breakaway faction led by Martin Agbaso only exists in courtrooms and on the social media. It has no followers and no membership.
Indeed, the symbolism of Obiano’s triumphant entry into the party head-office cannot be lost on the shadowy strategists who saw in Agbaso, a possible opportunity to stage a judicial coup of sorts in APGA. Obiano’s power entry into the party office after slamming the dissident camp with a barrage of court reliefs is a bold way of saying, “I am firmly in charge here. Please, show some respect.” Egged on by a misguided advise from his financiers, Agbaso had staged a half-hearted takeover of the party head-office in Abuja last week to induce a fleeting panic across the party line. It was a poorly contemplated move which revealed that the crisis may in fact, have meant nothing more than a show-off to the splinter group. Breaking into the party office without following due process is an exercise in tomfoolery which cost Agbaso and his camp a great deal in public image. It cast a pall of lawlessness on them and whittled the degree of seriousness with which they were hitherto treated by the law enforcement agents and various democratic institutions. Instructively therefore, while Agbaso camp was plunging downwards in public reckoning, Obiano is reaching for the stars. And this is why.
Just a day before he picked up the nomination form, a very noteworthy thing had happened in Awka. Anambra youths had gathered under the aegis of the United Anambra Youths Assembly to present a cheque for the sum of N12m to Governor Obiano as a gesture of solidarity and assurance of their solid presence behind his second term quest. The youths had urged him to step out and pick up the expression of interest and party nomination form because they were solidly behind him. It was a smart strategic move that sent ripples through the political landscape and forced many aspirants to rethink their aspiration. The thinking is if Anambra youths could be so decisive in their support for Obiano, who could be against him? And coming against the backdrop of so many endorsements from the organised labour, town unions, traders associations, women groups, Anambra farmers and of the youths, which other constituency is left standing by the Obiano cyclone?
Beside the massive support of the Anambra youths, Obiano is also the clear favourite of the international community. This much was in evidence at the Development Partners Summit which took place in Amawbia last week. The Country Director of the United Nations Dr Edward Karllon and several other representatives of the various development agencies in the country unanimously expressed their satisfaction with the great work that Obiano is doing in Anambra. They assured him of the support of their various organizations and expressed the hope that he would be allowed to continue his impressive efforts in the state. Since these development agencies are not known for doublespeak, it is clear that they would naturally support any effort that would ensure that the man they have found competent is allowed to continue his work. In fact, the unanimous message of support and approval that the development partners gave to Obiano last week must have knocked the opposition’s confidence harder than anything else in recent times. It is as though the race is over long before most of them could muster enough courage to fill the nomination form.
From all indication therefore, Governor Willie Obiano has effectively commenced his return journey to Amawbia Governor’s Lodge with his fear-inspiring outing in Abuja on Tuesday.
Interestingly, he took that massive step on the day he turned 62.
Could this be fate? Time will tell!