Anambra 2013: Ngige Stands Taller Than The Rest

by Peter Claver Oparah

The political ante in Anambra State is gradually inching to a climax with the fast approaching governorship election in the state coming up on November 16. The battle to elect who succeeds Governor Peter Obi is picking tempo as candidates emerge for the slug fest from diverse political parties. The election should be a significant milestone in the history of a state noted for its raw, acerbic and primitive politics. Again, the quest for a credible successor to Governor Obi is predicated on the need to pursue a continuity of the positive governance that suddenly dawned in the state with the coming of former Governor Chris Ngige and which was pursued by Governor Obi. This is remarkable given that before Ngige, Anambra was the best instance of a leviathan, where crude warlords, ill trained money bags, godfathers and political speculators held sway with tons of cash and little brains. Suffice it to state that in the sequel, the state suffered inexorably from the debilitating scale-down governance underwent during the pre-Ngige era as it became one bland process of rendering account to the fiendish godfather and to him alone was loyalty of a governor and governance vested.

Perhaps, the circumstances that brought forth Ngige played a role in the salvific role he was to kick start in the governance and politics of Anambra. Here was a man that was trusted to continue the rule of fiends, who rather became a rebel to the quest to cannibalize Anambra. Yes, Ngige was handpicked among a motley crowd of contestants by the PDP overlords to continue the culture of free loading the wares of Anambra to the insatiable pouch of godfathers. He was deigned pliable enough to service the expansive gluttony of the Anambra warlords. He was moulded for a scripted role that never departed from the enduring template of ensuring maximum satiation to the greed of the godfathers. Having met the arcane requirements of the godfathers, he chose to become his own man and that was where the applecart got tumbled in Anambra. Eleven years later, Anambra is the better for it, as it has banished the ghosts of over-reaching godfathers and recovered a credible mileage in its bitter history. Ngige damned the godfathers in what was a tacky and epic battle that nearly consumed him. The rage of the godfathers and their elephantine greed was not too strong to consume him and he triumphed in the long run and with his triumph, Anambra State triumphed. He there and then freed Anambra purse from the clutches of the godfathers and ensured that resources accruable to the state were invested in the pursuit of dividends for the famished people of the state. It was then that bold moves were made to arrest the drift in the infrastructural sector of the state. Roads were paved and built, schools, hospitals, social amenities, were built, employment created and the people mobilised to invest faith and trust in governance. Ngige and his government were bold and creative in investing the money that would otherwise have been trucked into the barns of godfathers to the pursuit of the critical ends of development, which had hitherto never been the case. The imprimatur of Ngige’s indelible works still remain in Anambra today and provide fillip to his current election campaign.

But the process of Ngige’s emergence had k-leg, as the oft-repeated Nigerian lingo would capture it. He was seen to power by the strong but primitive hands of the godfathers who maintained a luxuriant reign in his then PDP, for the single purpose of watching their hefty back while in power. Having reneged on that and having decided to be his own man, it was only predictable that the sulking and badly bruised hounds will pay anything to see his back from the seat of power. Again, it was obvious that in the election that brought Ngige to power, Peter Obi was the preferred choice of Anambra people so it was easy to latch unto the the electoral misdemeanors that trailed the 2003 election to see off the recalcitrant Ngige from power. This is even as the legions of other governors and elected public officers seen to power by similar sleight of hands by the obtrusive PDP suffered no similar fate. Also, and true to prediction, the PDP, with a power credo that deifies the obscene interests of the godfathers, quickly rallied round the hounds and fed Ngige to the ravines for not pandering to the desires of its favoured sons. Uncharacteristic of the Nigerian politician, Ngige did not look back but courted the warm embrace of the progressives who came to his aide and he has remained a faithful and committed progressive ever since then. But given the glorious harvest from his barely three years in power, it would suffice to say that Ngige was the liberator that freed Anambra and its politics from the vice grips of godfathersm, set the pace for the reversal of the path of perdition Anambra was threading and broke the ground for the progress seen in Anambra from 2003 till date..

Obi was to continue the paths charted by Ngige as he was not beholden to any godfather. Because the people were the mainstay of his ascension to power, he only tapped into the independent course Ngige charted to avail Anambra people of the use of their resources in pursuing the ends of development. With a simple and prudent template of contract financing, Obi continued the paths of development Ngige started and eleven years later, Anambra is the better for that. But Obi is a horrendous political player for he shied away from building APGA to grow beyond Anambra State. If this was pardonable, the subservient role he played to the PDP in the twilight years of his regime where he displayed open subservience to the PDP high command, sounded the death knell of APGA, whittled down its little strength and set it on the paths of disharmony and internal implosion it is threading today.

So, for the search for a credible, tested, independent and competent hand to steer Anambra out of perdition to safety, consolidate the gains made since the historical rustication of the odious godfathers, Chris Ngige, the very man that led that fight is the best suited to take Anambra to the next level. What more, the cyclical crises that have hit both the PDP and what remains of APGA who are in an unholy matrimony in their quest to present common platforms to challenge for the soon-to-be-vacant stool has further reified the suitability of the Ngige candidacy to steer the Anambra ship to development glory and sustainable stability.

Fiesty, highly charismatic, very likable and eccentrically witty, Ngige is by every standard a political superstar. He is a lodestar in the dour political firmament of Anambra and draws the masses with a megnetic pull no politician in Anambra State today possesses. He exudes such confidence and ignites such passion among the masses that no other politician in the state today is capable of doing. What more, he knows the game, the variables, the intricacies and prospects such that he stands to enrich Anambra governance beyond the modest level it is operating on at present. Going into the race, Ngige is the most experienced, the most courageous, the most independent minded. He comes with the added incentive of having the most coherent, formidable party and campaign machinery behind him. With him, Anambra will not be taking the risk of testing another pliable neophyte for the job. Ngige has been passed through the crucible of governance and politics and he has passed with flying colours. He has ridden the tempest and has emerged unscatched. He has only value to add to Anambra unlike the many other co-contestants who are prospecting for the Anambra governorship job as their first job in politics and governance. Ngige, though diminutive in frame, stands tallest among the bevy of contestants for the Anambra stool. Let November 16, 2013 be his crowning date with history and an assurance to Anambra people that the days of the locusts are gone forever.

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