By Vincent Egunyanga
Baring any last minute change occasioned by the supplementary election coming up on Tuesday in Ihiala local government Area, it can be conveniently concluded that Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo has won the governorship election in Anambra state.
According to the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended to be a governor of a state the candidate must have at least one third of the votes casts in at least two third of the number of Local government Areas of the state.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance ( APGA) candidate Chukwuma Soludo already won in 15 local government Areas. He needed just 14 local governments.
While waiting for the final results and eventual winner from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) we say congratulations to the people of Anambra state for a successful election.
More importantly, however, the Anambra election will continue to be discussed by political pundits and analysts in the days and weeks ahead as we await for the Ekiti governorship election next year and the general election in 2023.
As to whether the elections was credible, free and fair depends on the standard one want to set for himself. But as for whether the outcome reflects the wishes of the Anambra people, the answer is YES. The reason is that any winner outside the All Progressives Congress ( APC) is okay for the people of Anambra state and by extension the South East.
How did APGA win the election. It is important to note that it is in the interest of APGA that the election must be conducted with the party going into the election as incumbent. It would have been disastrous for them to have to postponed the election for whatever reason as that would mean going into the election as opposition. Because whatever happened the governor Willy Obianor must vacate government house by March next year.
There was a massive deployment of resources in this election. Massive vote buying by both the APGA and the APC. APGA was said to have paid as much as ten thousand naira in some places to get the peoples vote. APC also paid money but INEC knew better that it would be disastrous for them to have declared Andy Uba the candidate of APC as the winner.
The Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) on the other hand was not involved in vote buying. The Media and other Civil Society Organisations could investigate this. The candidate of the PDP VAL Ozigbo was purely on his own. No support from the governors on the platform of the party and the Leader of the party in the state Peter Obi was never in the habit of using money to buy votes.
A lot of PDP supporters in Anambra state are already calling on him to quit the party or drop his Presidential Ambition for 2023. There is no way any body will be successful politically in Nigeria today without vote buying. He has no excuse whatsoever not to spend money. The Pandora papers expose has revealed that he is a very rich man.
Most of the political bigwigs in Anambra state like Chief Ben Obi, Josephine Anenih etc are in PDP but they don’t vote. It’s the youths that vote. These youths need money to survive.
It is no longer tenable to claim that if you collect money to vote for a political party you have sold your rights and the party will not perform if finally elected. That is no longer true in Nigeria of today. I remember the last governorship election in Ekiti state in 2018. The APC spent a lot of money to buy votes to win that election. I remember the slogan ‘e dibo, e sebe’ meaning ‘vote and cook soup. Kayode Fayemi of APC eventually won that election and you can’t tell me he is not performing.
The political class has made Nigerians poorer and the only way to show their displeasure is to ask them for money in exchange for votes. No more deceit.
Infact that was one of the things that affected the PDP in the 2015 Presidential elections. The South East where the PDP expected the huge chunk of its votes returned low turn out. They were not mobilized. Most of the people that collected money to mobilize the people pocketed the money. Olisa Metu is still in court.
So henceforth if you must need votes from the South East and South South in future elections be prepared to buy votes. That is why the APC will continue to win elections in Lagos state. Most the PDP leaders in Lagos state like Chief Bode George, Jimmy Agbaje etc are very stingy people and they want to take over Lagos from Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is reputed to be very generous in vote buying and bullion van democracy. Its not possible.
Still on Anambra governorship election, how was the outcome of the election a victory for Buhari. It must be noted that there are two or three factions of APC in Nigeria. This is unknown to many people. Buhari is still holding tight to his Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) group while Bola Tinubu is holding onto his ACN .
The ACN produced Andy Uba as the candidate of the APC. But the leader of the APC in Anambra state Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour, is against his candidacy. This is because the Uba family kidnapped him when he was governor and made him lose his governorship position to Peter Obi. Over his dead body to allow any member of that family to rule Anambra state. So his faction of APC was able to assure President Muhammadu Buhari of the support of Anambra people if Chukwuma Soludo of APGA won the election as against allowing PDP to win. Don’t also forget that Prof. Soludo is one of the Economic Advisers to President Buhari.
The same reason was used to secure Willy Obianor reelection in 2017. A faction of APC produced Tony Nwoye as the candidate of the party. Tony Nwoye as the President of the National Association of Nigerian students (NANS) then used students to kidnap Ngige when he was the governor. Tony Nwoye worked with the Ubas then.
Ngige was able to assure Buhari that if Obianor won his re election he will work for his re election too in 2019. Buhari secured more than 25 percent of the votes in Anambra state in 2019 despite the fact that Peter Obi the Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP is from the state.