It is no longer news that the next governor of Anambra state after Chief Willie Obiano will come from Anambra south senatorial zone of the state. What may be news is the identity of the would-be governor and the party from which he will emerge.
It is important to state that the idea to have the governorship position go south of the state is in keeping with an unwritten political arrangement that seeks to give the three zones of Anambra fairly equal opportunity to govern.
And just barely fourteen months to the end of the All Progressives Grand Alliance government of Chief Willie Obiano, the south zone which consists of three distinct political blocks of old Aguata, Nnewi and Ihiala has begun in earnest to achieve that purpose. Already there is a preponderance of aspirants from the zone.
However, because of the peculiar nature of the south zone there is need to pay little attention to the three political blocks with the aim of ensuring that none of them takes undue advantage over the others. After all the whole idea of power rotation was to achieve equity and balance.
Though it is the right of every Anambra man or woman with requisite qualification to aspire to the number one position, but such right will not fail to lose value once abused to purpose. It is a fact that nothing negates the peace of a people like perceived injustice. At least, the peace in Anambra today and to some extent her development spread derive majorly from how she has managed her politics in the last couple of years.
How the parties conduct their primaries will determine the chances they have in winning the November 17 election. It will not be a surprise if the one that recognizes the distinct political blocks, appreciates and responds to the complexities goes ahead to win. It is right and just for an area within the political blocks which is yet to produce a governor to be allowed to do so.
Already all three blocks are presenting quality aspirants from which the parties can choose and make good their effort to win what may turn out to be the toughest election in the state. Some of the aspirants who have made known their interest to take over from Governor Obiano are Dr. Winston Udeh, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Hon. Nicholas Ukachukwu, Hon Chris Azubuogu, Chief Akachukwu Nwankpo, Dr. Godwin Maduka, Bar. Emeka Etiaba, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Chief Valentine Ozigbo, Hon Chuma Umeoji, Dr George Moghalu, Senator Andy Ubah, Senator Uche Ekwunife, Chief Barth Nwibe, Chief Obinna Uzor, among others.
Without prejudice to aspirants who had contested in previous elections in the state, the array of aspirants now on the stump is intimidating. They have the capacity to drive their campaigns to a conclusive end. Except in the case of one or two, every other person mentioned has the mental capacity as well as financial muscle to wend their way through the tortuous political route and take the trophy.
Barring any twist of fortune, what will set any of the aspirants apart and put him ahead of others should be his personal touch with the people. How well he had related with the people. How accessible and humble? His reach across the state. How well he appreciates issues and the ability to find answers to them.
The election will not be determined by factors extraneous to rare personal qualities. It cannot be about strong personality. It is also not going to be about being old in the game. Whoever is going to win must come clean with the people and should be able to appreciate them and cannot operate on a high horse.
And of the lot, Winston Udeh, a lawyer and an economist of note is prefigured for the job. Even as every one of the aspirants can be said to have the requisite education, experience, finance to do the job, Udeh has that and more. Though he may not curry publicity and can be self restraining, but a chat with him on Anambra politics will convince the worst doubter that he came prepared to lead the state to great height. He is without the vanity of an average Nigerian politician and has little patience with slyness of the good old folks. He shoots straight and does not shy away from speaking the truth. Above all, Udeh takes exceptional joy in playing down self.
He may not come to many as the Mr. Fix It, but his wealth of experience in legal practice and his many years on Wall Street would come handy in entrenching development in the state. Though one or two other contenders have as much experience as himself in the area of finance management, but Udeh has greater claim to economic management and the legal framework to deepen it. With over twenty years of practical experience that spanned over Wall Street, Main Street, the courts and the corporate world, he has what it takes to leverage on whatever successes the previous governors of the state have made.
There is no doubt that his experience would be useful in this era of pandemic and economic lockdown. He has advantage of cosmopolitan life, having traveled and lived in many developed cities of the world. Whatever he may lack in experience he compensates in his ability to play down self and allow people to prove themselves. He is not overbearing and knows when to assert authority. He claims no monopoly of knowledge and believes in ideas as the sine qua non in political and economic development.
As a lawyer, economist and a businessman, Udeh has seen virtually every shade of human needs and does not have to struggle to apply himself when in office.
All said, the November governorship election in Anambra will not be based on fantastic, but unimplementable manifestoes. It will be based on truth and less of money influence and manipulation of the electoral process. Anambra will be happy to put in office a hard working, accessible, humble and self effacing candidate as governor.
Writes from Ndikelionwu