Anambra Decides: Gladiators to Watch out for
By Kabir Akintayo
By the time you are reading this, the much- talked-about Anambra Gubernatorial Poll is already underway, in defiance of the political tension, security issues, logistic challenges and secessionist crises that threatened to scuttle it.
The Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) thugs who had allegedly been fomenting trouble seem to have been adequately taken care of by both the Police and the Army.
The Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Alkali, had on October 14 deployed about 34,587 officers with additional 98 senior officers which included two Deputy Inspectors General of Police, five Assistant Inspectors General, fourteen commissioners, 31 deputy commissioners and 48 assistant commissioners of Police with detachment of marine police and 3 combat helicopters.
Aside the police, the Military who already are engaged in anOperation tagged “Exercise Golden Dawn” flagged off by the Army Chief, Lt General Yahaya Faruk, has the presence of heavily armed soldiers on ground.
However, IPOB had on Thursday bowed to pressure to cancel the sit-at-home order and urged the people to go out enmasse to vote the candidate of their choice.
The group stated that the involvement of traditional leaders, stakeholders and elders from the region made them to drop the plan to frustrate the election.
According to the spokesman Emma powerful, “Following the genuine intervention of our elders, esteemed traditional institutions/rulers and religious leaders, and after due consideration of the positive impacts of their engagement, and sequel to the fact that our elders have spoken in our terms, the leadership of IPOB ably led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby and immediately call off the one-week sit-at-home earlier declared to commence tomorrow, November 5 to November 10, 2021.”
He continued “We have equally considered several appeals by our mothers who earn their living based on their daily economic activities which will obviously be affected if Biafraland is locked down for one whole week. It’s never our intention to add to the pains of our people, hence our decision to suspend the sit-at-home.”
“Anambrarians should vote and standby to protect their votes. No rigging of any kind will be tolerated on the Anambra State governorship election. It must be transparent, free and fair to all,” the statement added.
While the above development was thought to be the end of anxiety ahead of the elections, most of the streets were still found empty on Friday, fueling speculations that voter apathy may still be a problem since it looks like aside ESN and IPOB extremists, there is another unknown group of people who have been on rampage for months.
For those who will defy the odds and come out to vote, they have a list of few contenders, who dominated the campaigns, to choose from.
Out of the 18 candidates vying to succeed Governor Willie Obiano, below are the 7 gladiators whose name will dominate the social media and news headlines, and also the streets of Anambra in the coming hours:
Ifeanyi Uba, YPP
Dr Ifeanyi Uba is a serving Senator representing Anambra South and he is the candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
He is the CEO of Capital Oil who promised to improve the economy and security. He also vowed to address gender imbalance and empower women with education and appointments.
He is a long-term contestant for the position who will be relying on block votes from the Southernern senatorial district in order to stand a chance.
Valentine Ozigbo, PDP
Valentine Ozigbo, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is also a business mogul and the immediate past President/Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria PLC (Transcorp).
He is said to have the backing of prominent party stalwarts like former governor, Peter Obi, and Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe.
His supporters say he is relatively young with a vast business acumen needed to expand the state’s economy and create jobs.
Godwin Maduka, Accord
The Accord Party flagbearer is a Nigerian- American medical doctor. He is the founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Center.
He has promised women inclusion and empowerment, and to strengthen security in the state, to boost the remuneration and welfare packages of the security agents, movate and build new barracks for all the security agencies and build modern schools for their children.
He also proposed to institute regular professional development and training programmes for security agents so they can be up to date on new ways and techniques of law enforcement.
Akachukwu Nwankpo, ADC
Akachukwu Nwankpo, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), was the Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Technical matters and also the then Secretary of the Presidential Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment program (SURE-P) Committee.
In his manifesto, Akachukwu promised to build Anambra State End-to-End Security System, establish Anambra State Ministry Of Umunna Affairs, establish Office Of The Public Defender, and restore a modern, Disciplined and Professionally Protected Civil Service.
He also plans to establish the Anambra Initiative for Improving the Living Standards of the State, to create a Trade and Market Development Bureau, to create Anambra Skilled Labour Development and Exportation programme and also to bring back family-owned businesses.
Andy Uba, APC
Senator Emmanuel Andy Uba is a very famous former Governor of Anambra state. He was elected on the platform of PDP in 2007 but his election was nullified by Court following a suit filed by Peter Obi.
Uba later ran for governor under Labour Party but came 3rd, hence his return to PDP to contest for the Senate.
He joined the APC in 2017 and is now the party’s candidates in today’s election.
With the growing acceptance of APC in the southeast, Uba is said to stand a very good chance of emerging Governor-elect by the end of today. A US-based agency’s opinion poll also tipped him as the winner that will emerge from the election.
In his manifesto, Uba said his government will embrace three basic principles which are inclusiveness, fairness towards all males and females irrespective of religion and culture, and justice for all.
The intention of his administration is to create massive jobs across Anambra State and tackle inequality. He also believes that the major cause of the insecurity and agitations is limited economic opportunities which the said he would address if elected governor.
He also promised to embrace PPP (private public partnership) projects in the area of infrastructure, ICT, agriculture and mining industries.
Charles Soludo, APGA
Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo is the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
He is another strong challenger who has the support of the ruling political establishment in the state.
A former CBN Governor, he is also a member of the British Department for International Advisory Group. He is very knowledgeable and very versed in economics and public finance. His supporters believe he is the right man for the job because he can put the state economy on a sound footin with his experience at national and international levels.
In his manifesto, he promised to change, develop, boost and transform Anambra state from a dominantly informal commercial state to a formal, productive, and competitive economy. This he said would be underpinned by rapid industrialisation, agriculture, commerce, entertainment/leisure and the creative industry, technology and innovation, solid minerals and oil and gas.
The professor also plan to work with the Federal Government on the state security, provide adequate logistics and material support to security agencies in the state, support law enforcement agencies in the state with infrastructure, surveillance, and communications tools to enhance their capacity to safeguard lives and property.
Obiora Dikeora, ZLP
Dr Obiora Dikeora of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), is a native of Ogidi, inIdemili North local government area of the state.
A doctor of Philosophy holder from the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow; a Professional Fellowship doctorate holder from the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria; he is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and Mediators of Nigeria.
According to his manifesto, Dr Obiora plans economic development for wealth creation and poverty eradication in the state which shall be pursued through sectors like agriculture, arts, culture and tourism.
He further stated that state’s agriculture and manufacturing will be linked such that the output of one feeds the other seamlessly, with production and processing co-located. He says the arable lands in the three senatorial zones shall be mopped by the most promising crop or crops, with a corresponding value-addition process located near the production centers.
Also, he would broker transfer of knowledge from scientists and universities to the farms, use science to increase total factor productivity (closing the yield gap, promoting land use intensification, promote efficient fertilizer and farm equipment use), and support post-harvest technology and infrastructure. He plans to recreate and strengthen agricultural extension officers, create a state agriculture marketing board that shall be managed by the private sector under a Public Private Partnership arrangement. This is to ensure price stability, quality control, provision of post-harvest infrastructure and knowledge transfer to farmers.