Since the return of democracy in 1999, the February 6, 2010 Governorship election in Anambra can be said to be one occasion where in the words of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu as reported by The Sun Newspaper of January 1, 2010, that “Anambra people stayed awake and never allowed the Rats to chop their fish”. This was indeed in strict adherence to the clarion call made by the Elder statesman and Igbo leader in his New year message to the people of Anambra when he said “My dear brethren, my beloved Ndi-Anambra, let us by our firm actions show these tainted politicians who are relics of the hated period of garrison politics and electoral rape of Anambra State of the past, that yesterday when they inflicted pain on the people is gone. A new dawn has arrived in Anambra State . Enough, they say, is enough”.
On the 6th of February, Anambra people indeed hearkened to this clarion call by a respected leader and went out bravely to elect their Governor in violence – free manner, devoid of the thuggery which usually characterizes Nigerian politics and elections including that of Anambra. The election has been adjudged by local and international observers as the most peaceful and credible in the history of elections in Anambra and indeed in Nigeria since 1999.
All the 24 candidates including Dr. Andy Uba and Prof Soludo have send congratulatory messages to the winner of the election Mr Peter Obi for his victory in the election. However, Dr. Chris Ngige has threatening to challenge the result of the elections at the Election Petitions Tribunal on the grounds or claims that Obi did not win the statutory 25% votes in two Local Governments of Anambra East and Anambra West.
Be that as it may, my quarrel with Ngige is that I cannot understand why it should be only him out of 24 other contestants that will want to challenge Obi’s victory at the Tribunal. Anambra state has recorded the worst trend in election petitions since 1999. This time that Anambra has witnessed the most peaceful and credible election, why can’t Dr. Ngige congratulate his brother Mr. Obi like all other contestants, so that Anambra will move forward rather than go waste his money and that of AC his party pursuing a petition at the Elections tribunal? I quite appreciate the fact that Dr. Ngige can exercise his fundamental Human Right by seeking redress at the Election Petition Tribunal but he must not loose sight of the fact that the Progress and Development of Anambra is bigger than his personal ambition of becoming Governor. He should also not forget that he spent almost three year in Awka Government house entering though the back door. I love Dr. Ngige because he seemed to be the only man who had the big heart to demystify the Okija Shrine. Whatever were the reasons behind that, the fact is that Okija shrine was a source of sorrow to Ndi-Igbo where the bad men conclude their plans to hold us hostage by their evil machinations. It therefore takes bravery to walk into Okija Shrine and demystify it like Dr. Ngige did.
I am particularly happy with the way Anambrarians comported themselves during the election and the good organization by INEC shows that it can after all conduct credible elections, that is, if the Presidency grants INEC full independence to do their job.
Records have it however, that in Anambra East, out of 7212 valid votes cast, Mr. Obi scored 1889 votes (or 26.19%, while in Anambra West, out of 11,193 valid votes cast, Obi garnered 2941 vote or 26.28%. The problem with Dr. Ngige’s calculation, was simply mathematical as he seemed to be using the total votes cast, which is valid votes plus invalid (void) votes to compute his percentages forgetting that void or invalid votes means nothing or zero and therefore does not change the value of any mathematical calculation
To me Dr. Ngige’s protest is like going into a popularity contest with Dim Ojukwu, who in his New year message to Anambrarians, urged them to vote for the right candidate who will bring even development to Anambra and most importantly to resist the hostage – taking of Anambra by the Abuja boys. We all know who the Elder Statesman- supported during the election. Dr. Ngige should know that going into popularity contest with the Elder Statesman will amount to killing his political career in Anambra. A random opinion sampling among friends and Political analysts in Anambra and Lagos tend to portray a general disenchantment with Dr. Ngige’s disposition to the election result which is ultimately reducing his popularity.
It is therefore my humble advice to Dr. Ngige to keep his cool and re-strategize for the next election. He should stop making it look like he is desperate to go back to Awka Government House. If he sincerely wants to serve Anambra for the good of all Anambrarians, then should queue and wait for another opportunity because he has bright chances of becoming Anambra Governor in future. The fact that his party, AC, is doing well in the two states where they are in -charges, coupled with his good Political Associations will give him edge come 2016.
Note: This article was published in the City Mail Newspaper of March 17, 2010