In every contest there are heavyweights and there are light weights. Last month (September), the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) published the names of the candidates running for the November 18 Anambra gubernatorial election and their affiliate political parties. A total of 37 candidates were on the list. However, only few of them are showing the requisite body language matching for such a contest with due respect to the other contestants in the race.
The candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and People Democratic Party (PDP) by the virtue of the political structure under their control are the leading candidates.
The PDP Candidate
Oseloka Obaze (62), the candidate of the PDP is a former United Nations diplomat who has served across Europe and Africa, an international civil servant.
Obaze’s wide experience in international affairs and conflict resolution distinguishes him from the rest. Obaze, a former Secretary to the State Government in Anambra state (2012 – 2015) hinges his campaign on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). He believes that the incumbent governor has failed in sustaining the developmental strides of his predecessor in education and infrastructural development and is offering to revisit and revive those sectors if elected.
Obaze will face a number of challenges on the road to the government house. Spending the greener part of his life as an international civil servant puts him at a political disadvantage when compared to his major opponents who on paper have a better understanding of the political grassroot structure of the state. However, he appears to be banking on the support of the former governor of the state, Mr Peter Obi who many believe is his godfather.
To realize his dream of being elected, the PDP candidate will have to rely on the prowess of more politically grounded entities such as Peter Obi, Joe Martin Uzodike and a host of others. He will have to work towards gaining the attention and support of the aggrieved members of APGA, particularly those who feel they did not benefit from the current APGA led government.
The APC Candidate
Tony Nwoye (43) is a medical doctor by training but his background is more political than medical. Nwoye, a former National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) President, a member of house of representatives and the youngest ever PDP state chairman has spent the better part of his youth in grassroot mobilization. He has, against all odds risen to political relevance at a younger age. In fact, he is two decades younger than his two major opponents.
Nwoye’s strength lies on his core knowledge of the business of politics – this gives him the privilege to break the middle men barrier often placed between the electorate and the politician. On paper, Nwoye has a better understanding of the state’s political terrain and the dynamics therein.
His campaign is centered on youth transformation and financial prudence. He accuses the incumbent governor of crippling the local government economy and offers to revive the local economy through a functional local government system. Nwoye believes that being a younger candidate puts him in a better position to understand the needs of young people than his opponents.
Tony Nwoye’s ambition to be governor has seen him naturally step on the toes of many political heavyweights. He will face the challenge of gaining acceptability among the political elites, who may consider him too ambitious and may have fears that his emergence as governor will bring about the rise of a new generation of politicians in the state – which may force the heavyweights of today into political retirement.
Another major challenge of Dr Nwoye is the platform on which he vies – the All Progressives Congress (APC) hasn’t quite enjoyed huge acceptability in the state when compared to that of their two major opponents (APGA and PDP).
The APGA Candidate
The APGA candidate also happens to be the incumbent governor of the state. Willie Obiano (62), the governor of Anambra state whose seat is up for grabs is a former Executive Director of Fidelity Bank with a very sound background in banking and institutional financial management. Obiano believes he has done well and deserves reelection. His strength is his ability to sustain the prompt payment of civil servants salaries since assuming as governor – even in the time of recession when over 20 states of the federation could not pay salaries. He believes that no governor before him has made the kind of investment he made in commerce and industries and quite frankly, during his tenure, a number of shopping malls has become operational in the state. Notable among them are: ROBAN stores Awka, Stanel World Awka and Shoprite Onitsha.
Obiano’s campaign is driven by Continuity. He believes that he can only consolidate what he has done during his first term in second term and offers to continue on the path of providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Being the incumbent governor, Obiano is the major target. He occupies the seat wanted by 36 other candidates. His fallout with his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi who practically installed him as governor is one of his major challenge. Obi believes that Obiano did not sustain his developmental strides as planned. He (Obi) is of the belief that Obiano has not efficiently managed the resources he handed over to him and hence does not deserve to be returned as governor.
*Kingsley Ubani is a political enthusiast and the Editor-in-chief Eyewitness.ng