The battle for Anambra south senatorial seat


The battle is hot, complicated and largely unpredictable.  It is hot because the personalities involved are all accomplished in their various fields.  It is complicated because the turf is still hazy and no one seems to be cock-sure of anything done.  It is also unpredictable because, though the battle is on, many veterans of war are still not geared up.  No one is sure which of the Generals would make it to the war front. The proximity of February 14, the date for the polls, accentuates the pervading confusion.

Of all the major parties, it is only the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) which has conclusively produced its own gladiator, in the person of Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, erstwhile executive Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).  The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the election is still largely unknown.  Various names are being touted but the common truth is that the party does not yet have a candidate to contest in the zone or, if it has,  the party may have given its ticket to an unknown wayfarer.

The confusion in the Peoples Democratic Party is more pronounced as its ticket is oscillating between Sen. Andy Uba (MFR) and his younger brother, Chief Chris Uba.  The younger Uba is enjoying a lifeline provided by the court through an ex parte application.  While the court order subsists, the pendulum oscillates in his favour.  However, many political watchers and pundits believe that the order is an extraneous hogwash surviving on borrowed time.  Whether this is true or false would be settled in the days ahead especially as the distraction had not slowed down the momentum of Sen. Andy Uba’s campaign.

Sen. Uba’s presence in the race is giving sleepless nights to other parties and their candidates because it is a herculean task to run against him in a zone where for years now, he has become the peoples benefactor; the reason why so many families are still surviving; the reason why so many young people have thriving businesses they call their own.  Sen. Andy Uba’s life outside politics revolves round touching lives, empowering people and restoring hope.  He does this consistently, not caring what season it is and when, fortunately, it turns out to be the season of politics, Sen. Uba often reaps a bountiful harvest of goodwill from people, who are only too eager to pay him back – one good turn for another.

However, as February 14 approaches and as the people wait with bated breath to know if common sense would prevail in PDP, candidates of other political parties should have taken up the gauntlet to make in-roads into the Senatorial zone.  This has not become possible because it will take more than strength, resources and political engineering to upstage Sen. Andy Uba’s political structure in the seven Local Governments which make up the zone.

The battle for Anambra South Senatorial seat has just become a straight fight between APGA and PDP.  Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, APGA’S candidate, is a professional telecommunications engineer who has had a very distinguished career spanning over 35years.  He is a recipient of the national award honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic and presently, the chairman of Open media Communications Ltd. Ndukwe had sat on the board of many blue chip companies and therefore, it is correct to call him a boardroom guru.

It is also correct to call him a greenhorn in politics, especially in the politics of Anambra South Senatorial district.  If he runs against Chief Chris Uba, he may have the advantage of exploiting the various controversies that trails the multiple Chief’s political career.  If, however, fate becomes cruel and he has to run against Sen. Uba, he must understand that he will also be running against popular sentiments and facts of history which have turned the Senator into a cult figure, not only in the zone but in Anambra State.

The sentiments are thick and the facts indisputable.  Many of the voters are constant beneficiaries of Andy Uba’s philanthropy, which began so many years before now and is overwhelmingly rewarded in every election season.  For these people, the Senator is a success story and wisdom frowns when a winning team is unnecessarily disrupted.  To run against Sen. Anady Uba, this is the first obstacle.

The second obstacle is a direct descendant of the present uncommon sophistication of Anambra State voters.  They now see the National Assembly as the abattoir where the Nigerian cow is butchered and shared out and there is now a huge interest in the personality and clout of their representative.  They now know that avalanche of certificates do not ensure a good chunk of beef.  They have become also aware of the huge disparity between boardroom expertise and parliamentary lobby.  Technocracy suffices in the boardroom but what get things done in the Senate are clout and influence.

Voters are aware that Sen. Uba has built a robust network in the Senate using his clout and influence and the result was that in his first-term as a senator, he became chairman of an a-list committee.  If Sen. Uba gets to the Senate again, he will become a ranking Senator, an elite position from where Principal officers of the Senate are chosen.

A vote for a greenhorn would tantamount to throwing away this enviable position and going to stand at the back of the queue again.  The truth is that many voters in the zone do not want to throw away the bird in their hand for a mere promise of twenty in the bush.

The fourth obstacle is Sen. Andy Uba’s cognate experience in the dynamics of Nigeria politics.  Since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999, the Senator has become exposed to major players in Nigerian politics.  Having served the President of the Federal Republic in close proximity for eight years, having contested and won the governorship of Anambra State and having served for four years as a Senator, Sen. Dr. Andy Uba understands more than any other person in the race, the politics of Nigeria and the philosophy and semantics of persuasion.  Anybody who means well for Anambra South Senatorial zone must understand and appreciate that it will pay the zone better to go to the Nigerian abattoir with its best man.

Finally, it is open knowledge that Sen. Uba enjoys a very warm friendship with President Jonathan and maintains a robust comradeship with Principal officers of the Senate.  These are rare opportunities that voters do not want to pass up in the name of politics.  Anambra South Senatorial zone has come this far in the Senate and many voters believe that with Sen. Andy Uba, it can only get better.

 

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