By Simon Utsu
I’ve kept telling those who care to listen that trivial sentiments should be kept out of modern day electioneering. In the same vein, I’ve been of the opinion that Anambra state is a model state in Nigeria for politics and even governance. Reason why over a year ago, after sampling opinion coupled with my understanding of how the average Anambra man reasons, I gave this election to Obiano.
Even after that, I kept insisting and reiterating that Obiano would win convincingly but several of those I thought would know better felt otherwise. The results of yesterday’s election are out and Obiano sailed to victory with so much ease, even humiliating his rivals and his former benefactor Peter Obi by trouncing them in their local governments. To put this into perspective, let me remind those reading that Anambra has the highest number of (Naira) billionaires in Nigeria, in my estimate- the number of Naira billionaires in Anambra is double that of the closest state. Arthur Eze who is the godfather of the APC candidate is (arguably) the richest amongst those billionaires.
Arthur is also well known for his benevolence. An Asian friend of mine who has worked closely with him told me of how the very generous Arthur 1000 on a good day, can spoil you with cash gifts till you break down and cry or even pass out. He told me of how Arthur once instructed his aides to load the car boot of someone who came to solicit for help from him, with 1000 Naira bundles till the man started crying. There is a video of him spraying dollar bundles at wedding events on the Internet. At events, he doesn’t spray bills, he sprays bundles and stacks! I’m going into these details to make people understand the financial warchest the APC candidate had at his disposal yet lost to Obiano. This should also explain why Tony Nwoye beat PDP’s Obaze to 2nd place.
Let other people learn from Anambra! In future, collect the financial inducements but still vote according to your conscience and convictions. Anambra people love and respect Peter Obi a lot but yet, didn’t vote Obaze because they weren’t convinced that Obaze wasn’t going to be puppeteered by him and that he(Obi) wasn’t out on a personal vendetta against Obiano, who was once his protégé and who hadn’t performed badly.
The outcome also proved my insistence that Osita Chidoka’s campaign was utopian, right. After the 2015 APC change experience, Nigerians have now learnt to tread carefully and treat lofty and sophisticated campaigns with a bit of skeptism especially when the person in question doesn’t have antecedents that match his/her campaign promises. If Chukwuma Soludo deployed such a campaign in the same UPP, he could have fared much better than Osita Chidoka or even Obaze did.
On to the ugly part of the election: I was quite dismayed with the turnout which was just above 400,000. The IPOBians claim that by this, the sit-at-home was an outright success but I beg to disagree! During the 2015 presidential election when IPOB wasn’t even popular, the number of those who voted in Anambra was just above 600,000. So that figure going down by a-third doesn’t outrightly prove the sit-at-home was an outstanding success.
That doesn’t mean that the figure isn’t disturbing. If we extrapolate this so we could make 2019 projections, it means voters turn out in the southeast would be relatively insignificant. This takes us back to the political argument I started exactly a week ago on my facebook page, where I opined that the PDP might be better off picking a southwestern(or even south-southern) Vice Presidential candidate as against a southeastern one. With the southeast sitting at home hence, poised to give you less than 2 million votes(less than what Kano alone can deliver), is it politically wise to chose a vice from there? A ruthless political tactician would rather go for an Akinwumi Adesina(southwest) or Donald Duke(southsouth) unless Peter Obi who is equally a great choice can guarantee massive voter turnout in his region(which Idoubt).
All things being said, let’s watch as events unfold.
Utsu is a trained engineer and a prolific public analyst based in Lagos