Strategies and pitfalls: Anambra 2021 elections in focus
In my last submission, I dwelt on the strategies adopted by APC to beat PDP in the just concluded Bayelsa and Kogi elections, and briefly went into how that might play out in Anambra state in the 2021 governorship election.
By Gbenga Adesanya
Already, Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress have started stoking political fires to ensure either win the 2021 elections. For instance, the former Minister of Health, Prof. ABC Nwosu, openly declared he would quit politics if PDP loses the governorship seat of Anambra State in 2021, while the APC shouted from the mountain top that other political parties should prepare for war in the 2021 governorship election.
Having tasted the bitter pills of defeat since the creation of Anambra State, both parties want to put an end to their perennial loss, and if the last elections in Bayelsa and Kogi were anything to go by, a keen observer would know that the formulae to win elections in Anambra State have already
been devised, or ignorantly created.
Every political actor knows that conflict is a gold mine for political parties, and they are always brutally mined. No doubt, every political has internal conflict, but a party that wants to win elections will do everything to end the conflicts in its rank and file, while helping to deepen those in other parties, or create one where there is none. In Bayelsa and Kogi, the conflicts in PDP were well mined by APC.
Without doubt, that would be the ace that will win the 2021 gubernatorial election in Anambra State. APGA is a powerful force in Anambra state, but that may be the reason it may lose the 2021 elections by believing incumbency and popularity are on their side. Anambra is not short of intellectuals, power brokers and deep pockets, hence they exist in abundance across all the political parties in Anambra State. Anambra is also not short of controversy and conflicts. Let us remember that this is the only state that has had 4 governors sworn in 6 times within a single term of 4 years in Nigeria’s political history.
At the moment, the political landmine of ‘zoning’ that APGA created is rocking Peoples Democratic Party. After the South east zonal, working committee meeting that took place in Enugu, the zonal chairman of PDP, Chief Austin Umahi told journalists that part of their strategy is to give opportunities, and eventually the party ticket, to the best candidates irrespective of their zones in the state. A declaration which Obinna Okafor, a past member of the caretaker committee dealt a huge blow when he said zoning, equity and fairness do not run in Umahi’s DNA. He pointedly accused Umahi as being the reason PDP performed woefully in the last National Assembly elections.
Similarly, while Anambra State APGA looked intact, the leadership crisis rocking the party at the national level between Chief Edozie Njoku and Victor Oye, is causing the state massive distraction. Incumbent governor, Willie Obiano is also not removed from this problem as he has been fingered for not allowing members of the party from other states to lead the party. An argument that was countered by a source within the party that it is improper to allow party members of states that have not produced good results in local and national elections to run the affairs of the party at the national level.
Perhaps, a clearer omen of what might be coming for APGA in 2021 was the painful loss of National Assembly election of the Anambra Central Senatorial seat by the former National chairman of APGA and incumbent, Victor Umeh, to Uche Ekwunife of PDP. Instead of looking at the root cause(s) of this loss, Ifeatu Obi-Okoye, APGA’s National Publicity Secretary excused the loss as a characteristic outcome because APGA has never done well in the National Assembly elections. This is good music to APC which knows very well it doesn’t have a foothold in Anambra.
Also of note is Ike Uzozie’s defection to APC earlier this year. Uzozie, a former member of Anambra’s house of assembly, defected to APC, starting a gradual erosion of APGA from inside as he promised to help move more APGA members into APC. The money machinery is within the grasp of APC, and they are also recruiting brains in Anambra. Regardless of the leadership problem surrounding its national chairman, Adams Oshiomole and some party members, the president and party executives understand and agree to the singular purpose of taking over as many states as possible in Nigeria.
After all, the business of a political party is winning elections. Hence, Zoning is not a problem for APC, at least for now. The angry APGA members who feel undermined will also be targeted to undermine the party if APGA does not put its house in order before 2021, and what should have been an impossible task might just be a walk in the park as was the case in Bayelsa and Kogi.