Dr. Chris Ngige proved to be the cat with many lives when as governor of the state between 2003 and 2006 he fought within the PDP against the establishment as dictated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
As governor, Ngige was humiliated and hounded out of the PDP, but there was no other party that took him in and he remained like a political orphan until he was finally removed from office by the courts in March 2006.
Though Ngige came into the contest with the perception of a strong presence on the ground, he was, however, to be underemined by serious factors, some of his making and some external to him.
It is claimed that if Ngige had used any other platform apart from APC, he would have put in a more challenging battle in the election. APC in the opinion of some Ibos is a Yoruba cum Hausa party with a culture that is alien to Ndigbo.
It was thus no surprise that in the run up to the election that some APGA partisans went on internet blogs to paint the APC as a Muslim party with many giving a breakdown of senior officials of the party all being Muslims.
Many Igbo irredentists were also quick to recall that the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe after winning election in the Southwest in colonial Nigeria was denied opportunity of service and wondered why a “Yoruba” party should be so honoured on Azikiwe’s birthday which incidentally was November 16.
The APC candidate was despite his fame as a grassroots man is known to have fallen out with many opinion leaders in the state. The candidate is described by some to be cantankerous especially to the elites many of whom ganged up against him.
The friends that came to help Ngige may not have in the end not have helped him. Prominent among them are Governor Rauf Aregbesola of OsunState and Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
Governor Aregbesola has recently won to himself the label of a Muslim fundamentalist through his ongoing policy of school reclassification upon which has inflamed the Christian community in that state.
Mallam El-Rufai, the former minister of the FederalCapitalTerritory who is now a chieftain of the APC was in AnambraState to lend support to the APC candidate. But his presence would only have inflamed the emotion of many Igbos when it is recalled that Ndigbo were the worst losers from El-Rufai’s demolition policy as Minister of FCT.
Anambra Geopolitical Balance
The outgoing governor, Mr. Peter Obi is from Anambra Central senatorial zone, the same zone where Senator Ngige comes from. When Obi came to power in 2006, Anambra Central through Ngige had spent three years in office as governor. Hence it was considered in some quarters in Anambra that with a combined span of 11 years, that it would be illogical to allow Anambra Central to again retain the governorship and hence the momentum for Anambra North where the winner, Obiano comes from.
What Anambra 2013 means for PDP, others in 2015
The quick endorsement of the outcome of a victory for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA by senior officials of the PDP even before the election result was declared underpinned one fact: The PDP as a party is willing to concede the victory when the small pies are in contention.
By conceding victory to APGA, the PDP it is argued, would be preparing itself to defray suggestions of rigging in 2015 when the party seeks to retain its flag in the presidential villa.
Before Anambra, the PDP had proved itself as a party willing to concede victory to opposition elements in states including Ondo where it came second to Labour Party, and before then in Edo State where the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN prevailed.
“If the PDP through the instrumentality of the same process has conceded victory to opposition parties, why should anyone doubt when the same process throws up the PDP as the winner of the 2015 presidential election,” one political commentator observed yesterday.
The seeming determination of the PDP to acknowledge the APGA victory was also a reflection of the PDP to deflate whatever plans the opposition APC had made to use the Anambra election as its entry point into the Southeast in the prelude to the 2015 presidential election.
The APC had envisaged that the Anambra polls would be a stepping step for the party to enter into the Southeast, a region where the party’s presence is relatively seen as not too widespread.