POL SNIPES: Anambra: Home for all oddities

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor

The political oddities that have shadowed Anambra State since the advent of democratic rule in 1999 without doubt exceed the political cranks that may have erupted in any of the other states of the federation.

Under the tenure of its first fourth republic governor, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, the state became a battle field for the many godfathers in the state.  Chief Emeka Offor pitched against Chief Arthur Eze were the leading power brokers in the state until the emergence of the ultimate political godfather, Chief Chris Uba.

Senator Andy Uba

Uba who was allegedly before his advent on tutelage to a godfather was helped in his ascendancy by his elder brother and presidential assistant, Dr. Andy Uba.

By some accounts, President Olusegun Obasanjo so trusted this aide that he could close his eyes, open his mouth and allow this assistant drop anything inside.

Anambra was to draw attention to itself when just before the 2003 election, Mbadinuju became the only incumbent that was refused the nomination form by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

With Mbadinuju out, the Ubas adopted a quiet party apparatchik and former medical doctor, Dr. Chris Ngige who was expected to play along with their script for political dominance in the state.

Besides the gubernatorial ticket, Chris Uba also allegedly wrote down a shortlist of his candidates for the National Assembly, all of whom were announced as winners of the National Assembly election, albeit after some drama.

But that was only the beginning of the problems that would engulf the Uba brothers. Some PDP members who won the party primaries to represent the party in the National Assembly elections alleged that they were shoved aside after the election and allegedly replaced by the nominees of the Ubas. After all, the Ubas with the support of Obasanjo were in full control of the party.

It was as such not surprising that the judicial principle that political parties and not candidates win elections emerged from the judicial maze created by the National Assembly elections in Anambra in 2003.

Within three months of the inauguration of the Uba’s handpicked governor, the state projected its political infamy to a nauseating height when the incumbent governor, Dr. Ngige was kidnapped by a horde of policemen allegedly acting the script of his political godfather. That act was, however, the action that liberated Ngige and set him on towards a legacy of good governance in the state.

But whatever he did was based on a hijacked mandate and so the Court of Appeal ruled leading to the inauguration of Mr. Peter Obi, the candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance as governor in 2006. That inevitably upset the schedule of inaugurations removing May 29 as a landmark for gubernatorial inaugurations in the State. That too was another unhelpful first from Anambra.

Akunyili and Ngige

An attempt by Dr. Uba to return inaugurations to May 29 after he won the April 2007 gubernatorial elections turned into a pyrrhic victory for him as he was removed from office by the Supreme Court after only 17 days in office as governor. That too is another Anambra record.

Before then the duo of Senator Joy Emodi and Senator Ben Obi in 2005 successfully dislodged the pair of Emma Anosike and Sir Ikechukwu Abana from the senate after they proved at the Court of Appeal that they were the legitimate candidates of the PDP in the 2003 senatorial election.

The pair of Mrs. Emodi and Chief Obi were to temporarily  put Anambra on the bright side of history with the sparkling performance they exhibited in the Senate that rekindled the razzmatazz and verbal pomposity that was the hallmark of one of the first Anambra senators in 1999, the Oyi of Oyi, Senator Chuba Okadigbo.

While Emodi through decorous dignity and panache put forth a legacy in her chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Obi was to serve as one of the principal resource centres that derailed the third term agenda allegedly powered by yet, another Anambra son, Dr. Andy Uba.

The oddities from  Anambra it seems are not ending anytime soon. By next Tuesday Anambra State would have established another notorious record. It would be one year that the Anambra North Senate seat would have been unoccupied.

Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, dubbed as the politician who gets political offices through the courts and not through elections, is again at the centre of the squabble.  After obtaining a controversial court judgment that displaced Senator Emodi from the senate in 2010, Igbeke got another court judgment to declare himself as the PDP flag bearer in the 2011 senate election.

*Gov Peter Obi

The court pronouncement was allegedly obtained through affidavits that the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF alleged were procured fraudulently. Based on that the Senate refused to swear him in. Before Igbeke got the court judgment, the major contenders for the senate seat were erstwhile Minister of State for FCT, John Chukwuemeka and Okadigbo’s widow, Margery.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC which had upon Igbeke’s court order issued him, Igbeke the certificate of return subsequently withdrew the certificate alleging it had been issued in error.

Now, one of the PDP senatorial aspirants, Andrew Okoye worried about the non-representation of the constituency in the senate wants INEC to declare any one of the aspirants on the platform of the PDP as the winner and allow others to contend with him. After all, legal contention is the norm in Anambra.

Among other oddities, Anambra is also the only State in the country not to have conducted a local government election since 1999. Fittingly, no one can establish the correct identity of the chairman of the state chairman of the PDP. Not less than five contenders claim the office!

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POL SNIPES: Anambra: Home for all oddities