By Tony Nwankwo

As the governorship race for Anambra State gathers momentum, many are just realising what an epic battle it promises to be. “An Ijele masquerade is about to be crowned,” said a local musician at Onitsha. But one thing is already decided: a great opportunity is being presented to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to hoist its flag at the Government House, Awka, in 2021. The state has almost always been ruled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, since the current political dispensation. Observers say the fortune of APGA is dwindling, following the departure of the haymaker in Anambra politics, the Okwute Ndigbo, Peter Obi, who has since adjusted the political landscape, having moved from APGA as governor to become a PDP chieftain, even contesting elections under the PDP as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2019.

A cursory look in the field shows a titanic battle of political bigwigs, moneybags, influential professionals and businessmen, people who had made their individual marks in their chosen fields, all aiming for Agu Awka, the seat of power in Anambra State. The field includes a revered internationally-acknowledged security expert, touted as the most trusted politician in Anambra State, Ambassador Vincent Oligbo. A philanthropist, who had since this Covid-19 pandemic, shown he could replicate his international standards here at home, Oligbo studied law at the University of East London, Longbridge Road, London. After his legal studies, he went into business, becoming chairman of Foxtons Security Limited; Emergency UK Security Ltd., Orchard Fries Fast Food Chain, and Amabel International. For the feat, he is a recipient of the Binney Memorial Awards (2007), Governor of Conway School (2008) and he is the United Nations Ambassador for Peace (2014).

At home, he is the Founder and Chairman of Hon. Amb. Ike Oligbo Foundation, created to give back to society through scholarship awards to the less privileged as well as financing his medical outreaches. At Umuoji, his home town, in Idemili North Local Government Area, Anambra State, he is Ichie Ike Edeke, from where he stretches his passion for community development as Founder and Chairman of Aba-Brought-Up Worldwide, a platform created to recognise and reward achievers in the Enyimba City in Abia State, where he grew up. Meanwhile, Ike Oligbo is not the only one governorship aspirant making waves in the state as the campaign for Awka moves to a feverish pitch.

However, his major advantage is that being a newcomer politically, at home, he comes with no adverse baggage, unlike some other contestants who have been knee-deep in controversies which, usually, are hard to escape in the politics of Nigeria. Other heavyweights in the race, particularly on the PDP side are notable names, like airline operator, Dr. Obinnah Okonkwo; a former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, who made his mark during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. There is the U.S-based surgeon, Dr. Godwin Maduka, whose philanthropy is well known in the state. There is a member, House of Representatives, Mr. Chris Azubogu, and Senator Uche Ekwunife. This lady of substance has always wanted to govern Anambra State, but has fallen short at each try.

There are also Emeka Etiaba, Dr. Ifedi Okenwa, Chuma Nzeribe and Ugochukwu Okeke. Observers say more are expected to join the race as Election Day approaches. Anambra has almost always raised the ante in political contests in the South-East, from the era of Dr. Chris Ngige to the Governor Willie Obiano era. Despite sticking with the APGA mantra, Anambra State has led the way in community development in the zone and beyond. It is hoped that as consultations expand, aspirants will release their manifestos to the people, and their agenda will be how to improve the lives and well-being of the Anambra people, beyond what the others have achieved so far. Whatever happens, the lives of the aspirants in the past will be dissected, from which the people will take their stands. Because, like they say in Anambra, “Whatever you do, the people will judge according to your character.”

Nwankwo wrote in from Lagos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: