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Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State

Opinion: A word with politicians of Anambra North extraction By Roland Odegbo

Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra State

Perhaps there is no better time than now to appeal for understanding among disparate political interests in the state, especially the Anambra North senatorial zone. This appeal becomes necessary in the light of the current scramble for the 2017 governorship position among politicians from the zone.
It would doubtless be an unnecessary dissipation of energy (which the zone has in short supply) to allow such political struggle. However the political differences can be resolved. It will be most imprudent for politicians from the zone to deliberately cause their political advantage to come to naught. Posterity will certainly frown at such politics and will most likely condemn any who lends himself to it.
Unfortunately, a good number of aspirants from the zone are in deadly earnest to waste this advantage. And I have ample reason to believe they will honour no scruples in carrying it out. Should that happen, two things may chance. One, the votes of the zone would be divided and all the candidates outvoted by a contestant from a more politically astute zone. Two, the zone would go down in history as incapable of managing political office.
I feel squeamish about this development and think it should not be allowed to fester. I have since thought of a possible solution without much success. Each time I think about it I get discouraged by the resolve of some of the aspirants I have bounced off the idea. I have also thought of ignoring the development and, possibly, wait to give royal blessing to any who seeks it. But I get worried because such attitude is alien to my nature and what I represent. As an elder, I know not to sit and watch a goat undergo the pains of parturition in tether. I know, as well as others who are as concerned, that this development is unhealthy for a zone that is relatively weak in the highly competitive politics of Anambra state. The zone will surely lose to either of the more sophisticated zones of the South or Central.
It is already taken for granted that the zone should retain the governorship it won barely three years ago for the next term of four years. I admit of no fairer equity than that for the simple reason that it will augur for mutual respect for all the zones. However, the success of this enterprise rests squarely on how well the zone manages its politics in the run up to the election. At any rate, this involves a lot of understanding based on self-denial. But I am afraid, none of the aspirants I have spoken to on the issue showed any interest in reaching an understanding much less denying themselves.
Not even the orchestrated media attack against the government can cause the zone as much damage. So far there is no worse campaign against any government, especially in the online media. It even verges on conspiracy. No government since the state was created was denied honeymoon with the press shortly after it was enthroned. At least every new government enjoys — unless the one that willfully provokes hatred through extra-ordinary vice — some period of grace with the media. Even a particular government that performed badly in the state and nearly almost provoked mass discontent against itself did not suffer the kind of mindless attack as evident in the social media today.
Even with the threat posed by this, including the throwing of other vicious brickbats – compared with political infighting – the trouble will pale in insignificance. It is not to be forgotten how lack of unity has greatly denied ndi Igbo a good deal of political mileage since the dawn of this democracy. How the people’s chance at the presidency in 1999 was lost on account of vengeful politics. How subsequent attempts were also wasted by no better effort. And following closely, how the people nearly almost debased the office of the senate presidency by undue scramble. Virtually all the five states of the East had a go at the office with little or nothing to show for it. To this day, that impolitic action has become a sad commentary on the politics of the people.
Ndi Igbo may be respected today as very industrious; regarded perhaps as the most enterprising; feared as capable of independent existence, but they are seldom reckoned with as capable of any political achievement. They failed to bridle their individualism to sooth their competitive political environment. As a consequence they have continued to suffer unmitigated denial of opportunities by her more politically astute neighbours. Doubtless, it will take years of conscious effort and selfless exertions by the people to redress the situation and achieve equitable political footing with others.
The people of Anambra North senatorial zone owe themselves a duty to act differently. They should work closely enough in order to retain the office that was won barely three years ago. It will not speak well of the zone to split its votes. Every politician from the zone must not be governor.

Roland Odegbo,
Aborgu 11 na Nteje

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