Opinion: Before APC makes a mistake in Anambra state

By Arinze Okamelu

As the gubernatorial election in Anambra State approaches; expectedly, the political chase game has become interesting with the calibre of gladiators seeking to get the tickets of the political parties. The battle of wits and resources is already in top gear, as well as the scheming and strategizing by the aspirants, becoming fiercer, by day. Apart from the current governor, Chief Willy Obiano, whose ticket as the gubernatorial flag-bearer for APGA, is certain; other political parties are still contending with the challenges of selecting/nominating their flag-bearers for the November 18, 2017, election; and the way and manner they (will) go about it, and whoever eventually becomes the flag-bearer would form part of the determinants of the parties’ chances in the November poll.

However, let’s make no pretence about it (without being dismissive of the chances of the other political parties),  the next gubernatorial election in Anambra State, as it stands today, will be a straight contest between the incumbent governor’s party- APGA and APC.

While APGA’s choice is already made with Chief Obiano, APC’s house is still very much full with distinguished aspirants including Chief Bart Nwibe (Ugo Igbo), Chief George Moghalu, Senator Andy Uba, Paul Chukwuma, and Dr. Tony Nwoye. Others are Chike Obidigbo, Johnbosco Onunkwo, Patrick Nwike, Adeobi Uchegbu and Obinna Uzoh. They have all picked and submitted the party’s required N5.5million naira forms and the intrigues towards getting the party’s ticket have started.

However, knowing that the incumbency factor, among other variables, may favour APGA, APC must take the coming election very serious if it must make inroads, and have a second state in South East.
For me, one of the deliberate things for the party to do so as to be appreciated by the electorates is to look at the character of the aspirants, especially, in relation to their loyalty and consistency with the party-This is against the backdrop that most of the aspirants in the party are obviously, interlopers; perpetual party switchers who consider the party as an easy platform to achieve their long nurtured political ambitions.

It would be unfair, (very unfair), and it may portray the party in bad light, if for whatever reason, they scheme out aspirants who have been with the party, through thick and thin, even when the party was seemingly unattractive; so chastised, and called all sorts of names, including “an anti-Igbo party”, by opposition politicians who ordinarily would deploy any means in order to win election.

Though APC parades aspirants that could be considered as political gladiators in their own rights, the party must deliberately, this time, zero in on the characters of these aspirants, like I said earlier, as this would go a long way in encouraging other party faithful that “party loyalty pays”, even as it would position the party as a disciplined and genuine one in the eyes of the electorates.

Perhaps for membership and fundraising reasons, I wonder why APC didn’t shut its doors to some persons who are “incorrigible party switchers” when they already have aspirants that have been with the party and are marketable; and have what it takes to win the forthcoming election.
Yes, the party has Chief Bart Nwibe and Chief George Muoghalu as potent forces that can challenge the incumbent governor and wrestle power from APGA in the state. While Chief Bart Nwibe has been consistent with, and loyal to the party from its days as Action Congress (AC), to Action Congress of Nigeria and subsequently, All Progressives Congress (APC); Chief George Muoghalu, was with the All Peoples Party (APP) arm of the party that fused to form APC.

Though it would be in the huge interest of the party for either of these men to become its flag-bearer; Chief Bart Nwibe, however, stands taller with intimidating credentials and contemporary ideas and pragmatism that can revolutionalize the socio-economic and political situation of Anambra State, and bring the state out of the woods. Chief Bart Nwibe represents a better alternative to the present “cut and paste” approach to governance in the state by APGA. Chief Bart Nwibe’s leadership would address the yearnings of majority of Ndi Anambra who are longing for the return of the good days of Dr Chris Ngige as governor.

As Chief Nwibe moves to sell his candidature and programmes to the people of Anambra State, especially, the voting delegates of APC, it is instructive to know that his acceptance has grown beyond APC as a party, as he is seen as the face of good governance to Ndi Anambra. I think APC should, as a matter of strategy, leverage on his growing popularity to present him as its flag bearer so as not to make any mistake.

For the youths; Bart Nwibe represents a better future for them.
For the elderly; Bart Nwibe is their son in whom they are well pleased.
For the women; Bart Nwibe represents the better and best choice.
For the men; Bart Nwibe is the governor that the state needs for industrialization, security and development.
For the disabled; Bart Nwibe is the one that will give them sense of belonging.
For the students; Bart Nwibe signifies uninterrupted quality education.
For the farmers; Bart Nwibe represents a prosperous agriculture industry
For the unemployed; Bart Nwibe is the one to turn their fortune around, among others.
Indeed, Chief Bart Nwibe represents many things to different people, being a consummate philanthropist and a progressive of many years.

An oil and gas expert and one of the few directional drilling engineers in Nigeria, Engr. Bart Nwibe is the Group Managing Director of SEGOFS ENERGY GROUP; one of the leading indigenous players in the Nigerian oil and gas industry. A good manager of men and resources, Chief Nwibe holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil/Structural Engineering from University of Nigeria and has attended leadership and management courses, both within and outside Nigeria. He is a corporate member of Nigerian Society of Engineers; member, Society of Petroleum Engineers and member, International Association of Directional Drilling.

Therefore, before APC makes the mistake of presenting one of the interlopers as its flag-bearer, let the party not make the mistake of not presenting Chief Bart Nwibe ( Ugo Igbo) as its flag-bearer.

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

Arinze Okamelu is Media Entrepreneur and Strategic Communication Consultant. He writes in from Lagos

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