It was Theodore Roosevelt that was credited with the quote, “the credit belongs to those who are in the arenas, who strive fearlessly and who at worst, if they fail, fail while daring greatly. The quote above illustrates exactly what played out last Saturday in the Anambra governorship election. The credit exactly goes to the good people of Anambra State; they stood and fought for what they believed in and against all odds were able to conquer. The last Saturday’s governorship election would be adjudged as one of the freest and fairest election the APC led federal government had conducted, the way and manner the election was conducted has also deepened our democracy.
The last Saturday’s victory was not for Obiano alone, it was a victory to all the candidates, victory to everyone who participated in the election and victory in the manner the election was conducted. Against all odds, people of Anambra stood and resisted imposition, not even the threat by the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) could stop the election. It took the intervention of the army through the “Operation Python Dance” in the South east to suppress IPOB and their secessionist agitation.
The election fever and the heated debate on who among the 3 major candidates, the incumbent, Governor Obiano of APGA, Chief Osaloka Obaeze of PDP and Dr Tony Nwoye of APC was a major concern to the good people of Anambra State, if election were to be determined by the number of crowd one pulls during campaign, APC candidate, Dr Tony Nwoye would have emerged the winner, if it were to be based on connection and godfatherism, Osaloka Obaeze would have had a field day. The good people of Anambra wear the shoes and know where it hurts the most. The people of Anambra chose a trusted and performing governor over godfatherism.
Prof. Charles Soludo, during the electioneering reechoed the maxim, “if trust is not broken, don’t mend it” and the people heeded to the call not to mend a trust that has not be broken.
Against all odds, including a former god father of governor Obiano who wanted him ousted by every means possible and an Inspector General of police who chose eye service to professionalism by withdrawing the governor’s security details.
It took the president of Nigeria to call the IG of police to order and ordered the governor’s security details to be restored immediately. The president also ensured there was a level playing field to all the candidates which resulted to a free and credible poll.
The outcome of the election is still a surprise to many, especially the APC fold. They campaigned vigorously in the nooks and crannies of the state, muscled all APC governors, president and vice president inclusive to Anambra state for Dr. Tony Nwoye. Dr. Tony Nwoye also had the blessings of the who is who in Anambra state, money was never a problem, he had everything he needed to emerge winner. As a former president of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) he was a youth mobilizer, present and past presidents of NANS across the federation were on ground to show solidarity to one of their comrades. APC camp in Anambra state had started jubilating of his victory until the people decided through the ballot.
Governor Obiano’s victory would be a litmus test to other governors, especially in the APC fold, what gave Obiano victory was not because he shared more money nor campaigned more than others, it was simply because he had a clear vision which enabled him performed creditably well. One area he performed so much was in the prompt payment of salaries, even when other governors were using recession as an excuse not to pay salaries, he was up to date in payment of salaries and other motivations. The state civil servants argued why would they vote out an “alert governor” that is regular in payment of salaries and vote a party the governors are reputed in owing salaries? Pensioners were also not left out in the question; the welfare of the workers and pensioners was the governor’s priority.
The secret that gave governor Obiano victory was not incumbency factor, it was because APGA as a party did their homework very well and the people did not disappoint when he needed them most.
While I congratulate Obiano for the victory, I will also call on governors who are not up to date in the payment of salaries and pension to have a rethink, the people you play with their major source of lively hood would be the ones that will determine who governs them, it is no longer business as usual, ballot box snatching and rigging are no longer determinant factors, performance does.