Collins Uma: #AnambraElections – APC was taught a lesson on strongholds

by Collins Uma

anambra_elections_2010_1_20100206_1839424281One of the most obvious lessons we learnt from the recent governorship election in Anambra is that the guys who make up the All Progressives Congress (APC) are bad losers. This is not news, though. The legacy parties that make up the APC, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),  have always demonstrated this whenever they lost elections. From Katsina to Kano to Akure.

One of the most obvious lessons we learnt from the recent governorship election in Anambra is that the guys who make up the All Progressives Congress (APC) are bad losers. This is not news, though. The legacy parties that make up the APC, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),  have always demonstrated this whenever they lost elections. From Katsina to Kano to Akure.

In partisan politics it is normal for a party to have certain areas as its strongholds. Lagos, for example, is an APC stronghold and this has been so since the days of Alliance for Democracy (AD) which gave birth to the ACN. It would therefore be utterly laughable, therefore, if the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) lost a governorship election in Lagos and went to court claiming it lost because the elections were rigged in favour of the APC. In Lagos. This is how the APC’s recent vituperations about the Anambra elections make them seem. Laughable.

The jealous guarding of strongholds isn’t peculiar to Nigeria, though. A few examples from some democracies will suffice here.

For very long the states that make up the United States of America, known as the world’s greatest democracy, have been identified loosely as either red or blue to describe the voting patterns in the states, with the colours interchangeably used to represent the Republicans or the Democrats, depending on what election it was. Since the 2000 elections however, there has been more specificity regarding what party each colour represented, with the overwhelmingly Republican states now permanently known as red states and the states with Democratic bias known as blue states. Each of these parties knows its strongholds and they are not ashamed to say this. The Republicans expect to win in places like Arkansas, North Carolina and Virginia and everyone understands this. One interesting feature, though, is that a red state may vote Republican in state and local elections but choose to go blue in national elections. Arkansas and West Virginia, for example, were won by Republican George W Bush in 2004 but Democrats hold three of the four US Senate seats from those states. Tennessee also voted massively for Bush in 2004 even though its Governor was a Democrat and both chambers of the state legislature was controlled by Democrats. Maine, another red state, voted Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential elections. This is why it was not surprising to me that Nigeria’s South-West voted massively for ACN in the state and local elections in 2011 but went with the PDP in the Presidential elections.

Then there are purple states referred to as ‘battleground states’ where Democrats and Republican candidates receive strong support without an overwhelming support for either party. Anambra is not a purple state. At least not for APGA. It may be a battleground for PDP and APC, judging by the margin that separated both after the just concluded governorship election in the state, but it is a stronghold for APGA where state and local elections are concerned and this is what other parties must realise. For the next Presidential elections, the state will go to either the APC or the PDP irrespective of how they have voted in this governorship elections. From the indicators, however, if the PDP is red and the APC is blue, I dare say that the state will go red in 2015.

In South Africa, Kwamashu and Ntuzuma regions are African National Congress (ANC) strongholds, as are KwaZulu-Natal Province and Eastern Cape which produced notable leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki and where the ANC controls 44 of the 45 municipalities. The main opposition, Democratic Alliance (DA), has Western Cape as its stronghold.

In Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) controls Volta Region as its stronghold while the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has Ashanti and Eastern Region as its strongholds.

A political party having a state as its stronghold is therefore not just a Nigerian phenomenon. As I have stated in other fora, if the governorship elections in Anambra state are cancelled and repeated ten times, free and fair, APGA will still defeat the APC and the PDP. The call by the APC candidate and his party leadership for a total cancellation of the results is therefore an ill-advised attempt to waste time and other valuable resources. Instead of this belly-aching, they should be channeling their resources into preparing for the next elections. Protests to Abuja or wherever will not help. Boycotting elections will not help. This is APGA territory, besides the fact that the APC had the worst campaign of all the major political parties that contested the Anambra governorship elections.

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Collins Uma tweets from @CollinUma

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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