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BETWEEN THE EKITI AND ANAMBRA GUBER POLLS






By: Egbuna Amuta


Even though the much awaited staggered gubernatorial election in Ekiti state, Southwest Nigeria has come and gone, its echoes are still reverberating across the Nigerian Federation. The Ekiti poll was obviously conducted under so much political tension and anxiety, to the extent that many persons thought that hell would be let loose during and immediately after the exercise. This apparently explained why an unprecedented number of thirty thousands police men were deployed from across the country to the state, to prevent breakdown of law and order. Happily, the anticipated Armageddon in Ekiti did not occur. 

Putting things into perspective, the gubernatorial poll in Anambra state which was held on Saturday, November 18, 2017, was the last staggered governorship election in Nigeria before the one held on Saturday, July 14, 2018 in Ekiti state. As usual, the Anambra Guber poll attracted much interest and excitment as the Ekiti election. However, one of the glaring differences between the two exercises is in the fact that unlike in Ekiti, the ruling political party in Anambra, comfortably won the election and retained the governorship seat. In fact, the victory of the incumbent governor of Anambra state, Governor Willie Obiano, was not just overwhelming, it was also unparalleled in the history of election victories in Nigeria. Obiano won in virtually all the one hundred and seventy nine autonomous communities and the entire twenty one local government areas of the state. Obiano is today commonly referred to as the twenty one over twenty one governor.

Notwithstanding that the present governor of Ekiti state was not a contestant in the July 14, 2018, poll contrary to the November 18, 2018, gubernatorial election in Anambra, the ruling parties in both states had the present ruling party at the federal level as their major rivals. Although Governor Ayo Fayose was not the standard bearer of his party, he supported his party's candidate, Professor Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, who is also the deputy governor of Ekiti state to the hilt, and with utmost enthusiasm. Irrespective of allegations of electoral malpractices in the Ekiti governorship poll, there are glaring differences in the the methodologies and approaches to governance and partisan  politics by the governors and ruling parties in control of the Awka and Ado-Ekiti Government Houses.

Undoubtedly, the occupants of the Awka seat of power from March 17, 2006 till date have consistently paid more attention to good governance than their counterparts at Ado-Ekiti. Since the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA took over the reins of government over twelve years ago, Anambra helmsmen have without doubt placed higher premium on delivery of democracy dividends to the citizenry than paying undue attention to partisan politics and engaging in crass propaganda. This attitude to governance and politics have clearly endeared them and APGA to the electorate. Today, Obiano is popularly known throughout Nigeria as the "Alert Governor." This is because of his ability to pay the salaries and other entitlements of workers and pensioners with ease. This is obviously  not the case in many other states of the federation, including Ekiti.

If the truth must be told it is usually very difficult or almost impossible for elections to be successfully rigged against a performing incumbent government and party by opposition parties no matter the amount of cash in their war chest or power of coercion at their disposal. This explains why in spite of allegations of monetary inducements associated with recent elections in the country, the Anambra electorate voted massively for Governor Willie Obiano and APGA in the last gubernatorial poll in the state. Probably, some of the voters in Anambra collected money from unscrupulous politicians and still went ahead to vote according to the dictates of their conscience.They equally guarded their votes and resisted all heinous  attempts to thwart the outcome of the election. Today, the vast majority of Ndi Anambra are very happy with the Obiano administration and proud of themselves for making the right choice during the November 17, 2017 gubernatorial poll in their state. 

Besides, it is on record that since the advent of APGA administrations in Anambra state, neither the governments nor the party had engaged in unnecessary confrontations with governments or parties in control of the levers of power at the federal level of government. APGA governments have consciously, deliberately and wisely avoided unnecessary stand off with the powers that be at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja. The party and its governors have been diplomatically doing this without losing their independence, honour and integrity in the country's political milieu. Indeed, this is the hallmark of political pragmatism as championed and promoted by the first Ceremonial President of Nigeria, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. It is probably for this reason that Anambra, since 2006, is faring better than most states in the country, in terms of socioeconomic well being and delivery of democracy dividends to the masses.

The plain truth is that undue radicalism, unrestrained diatribes and grandstanding on the part of some state governors against helmsmen of the federal government are counterproductive and not beneficial to the masses. 
It is therefore wise for state governors to shun tendencies capable of bringing them into avoidable Cold Wars and clashes with the Presidency which under the present distorted federal system of government in the country is imbued with so much power by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended). This argument may seem pacifist but political realities and the principles of pragmatism require good politicians to, more often than not, wear their thinking caps in order to safely navigate the murky waters of Realpolitick.

In the past twelve years, Anambra governments have adopted this Solomonic disposition to the delight and benefit of the state. This is unlike was the case between 1999 and 2006, before APGA took over the mantle of leadership of the state. Before APGA governments came on board, previous administrations in the state, enthroned by the Peoples Democratic Party were ironically always at loggerhead with the federal government also controlled by the same party. Anambra was worse for it, until APGA began to salvage the very bad situation a dozen year ago.
With Anambra's fifty years development plan initiated and unfolded in Obiano's second term in office, the state has been placed on an irretrievably path of unprecedented socioeconomic development and growth.

With the political style and independent mindedness adopted by APGA and her pioneer governments in Anambra state since 2006, the party has undoubtedly proved to be genuinely people oriented. Consequently, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, has become the darling of other Nigerian citizens, especially the people of the Southeast geopolitical zone, who would in a free and fair polls vote massively vote for the party and its candidates in the 2019 general elections in the country. In the final analysis, the real difference between the outcomes of the recent Ekiti and Anambra is apparently in the rascally and pragmatic methodologies embraced respectively by the political leadership of both states#


EGBUNA AMUTA is the Senior Special Assistant on 
Grassroots Media Mobilisation to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
Friday, July 20, 2018.

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