By Ifeanyi Afuba
A grand conspiracy to abort the ongoing transformation of Anambra State?s economy and society under the Willie Obiano administration crashed on Saturday, April 11, 2015 with the crushing defeat of the PDP in the State Assembly election. The infamous plot hatched by few Abuja ? based politicians would have seen the removal of Governor Willie Obiano and his deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke before September this year to pave way for the installation of a pliant Governor who would carry out the biddings of these power speculators.
The well – funded plot had been necessitated by at least three factors. The first was driven by the mentality of being the largest party in Africa and the superciliousness that goes with easy access to the levers of state power. Since we control the police and other security agencies, why can?t we have our way in Anambra State? The second factor arose from the exaggerated importance the actors conferred on themselves.
Their posture as the spokesmen and stakeholders of Anambra?s politics had bred feelings of inadequacy in the face of APGA?s continued control of Anambra State. This produced an acute desire to impress Abuja that they were on ground and could turn things around for the party. A third factor was the qualification needed to continue to secure Abuja?s favours. As the Americans would say, there?s no free lunch.
There are so many others angling to peddle influence at Abuja; whose activities threatened to upstage those inside. Our purported stakeholders, themselves in search of federal government contracts and appointments, would thus spare nothing to cling on to their privileges. However, all these considerations were summed up in the Abuja actors? mortal fear of Governor Willie Obiano?s rising political profile. Obiano had demonstrated in less than six months of assuming office the resolve and capability to launch Anambra State to economic prosperity; and APGA into national reckoning.
With huge investment inflow; expansion and upgrade of infrastructures; mass transit schemes; security of lives and property and social welfare packages for the citizenry as the pillars of hisachievements, it was easy to see the making of a great leader in Obiano. Anyone who could ignite the phenomenal changes in governance as Obiano had done in so short a time was destined to emerge a strong leader with wide following in the course of time. And these were occurring simultaneously with the vibrancy his team leadership with Victor Umeh was generating for APGA. The party had not only been made cohesive once more, it was taking firm roots in states as far north as Zamfara and Kebbi; in the southwest of Ogun State and in the north ? central state of Nassarawa.
A focused Obiano standing on these two pedestals was bound to be a formidable political force and thus, a threat to the PDP?s fascist obsession with Anambra State and the south ? east. The more politically ambitious were alarmed that Obiano?s growing popularity threatened to dwarf their identities and diminish their political relevance. The man had to be stopped before it was too late. The pull him down project took off with frenzied attempts to distract the Governor from executing the laudable programmes mapped out to enrich the State and her citizens. It was considered that the most effective way to deflect the Governor and present him a failure in the eyes of the people was by tarnishing his image.
If the Governor was hurt severely with maligned reputation, he would at least spend some time trying to correct these impressions; doubts would be sown in the minds of the people about him and the supposedly performing State Government. Provoked further, Obiano was expected to lose his cool and in that sour mood, make costly mistakes. These would then serve as evidence of his misrule upon which his removal could be rationalized. And so, at the snap of a conspiracy finger, a torrent of negative stories broke on Governor Obiano?s private lifestyle and on the First Lady. When the malicious literature cut no ice with Anambra?s discerning public, the speculators bumbled down the path of Obiano?s banking career searching desperately for ammunition to feed their plot. Dazed and disappointed by the glowing records of Obiano?s investment banking, they washed up two trivial complaints that had been investigated and found to be of no merit; to compensate for their efforts.
The offensive shifted to the operations of the Government where again nothing incriminating could be established. Hapless and helpless, the schemers settled for orchestrating beer parlour gossips and marketplace rumours to discredit the administration. The impeachment script stumbled on a new opening with the campaign to re ? elect President Goodluck Jonathan.
In spite of APGA?s sacrificial decision not to present a presidential candidate and subsequent adoption of Jonathan as the party?s candidate, the impeachment plotters spent sleepless nights trying to sell the disinformation that Governor Willie Obiano was not supporting Jonathan. Their mindset was cast in iron. The more Obiano campaigned for Jonathan, the more they invented tales of how Obiano was working against Jonathan?s victory in the 2015 presidential election. It was an absurdist season in which the power speculators deployed series of newspaper advertorials and other communication channels towards sustaining this bare ? faced lie. From this illusion of consciousness, the cabal moved to the plane of delusions, and began to admonish the Governor for campaigning for APGA candidates against PDP candidates in the other elective positions! Yes, you heard right, the Governor was rebuked for campaigning for APGA candidates and working for PDP?s defeat!
This contempt for constituted authority; this intolerance for the third largest political party in Nigeria; this insolence on the dignity of Ndi Anambra who are overwhelmingly pro APGA, in retrospect, was probably intended as a warning not to test their will. The effrontery behind the declaration could be seen in the fact that it was expressed not in hushes and whispers but right on the mass media. The consuming desire to put the Governor on collision course with Jonathan could only mean one thing. The impeachment plot was gathering moment and the conspirators were about to seek approval for their deadly game.
To deceive Abuja into thinking that they have following in Anambra; that PDP has significant presence in the State and to water the ground for approval of their impeachment plot, the club of godfathers and kingmakers moved to ambush democracy on March 28, 2015. The story of the rape of democracy in Anambra State with regard to the national assembly election is now well known by Ndi Anambra.
Although the fraudulent results procured by the cabal were used to declare the winners of the election, the other motive behind the militarization of the poll boomeranged. The reign of terror unleashed at the collation centres was intended to cow the people into submission, thus, paving way for the selection of the mercenary ? legislators who will execute the impeachment proper. They were dead wrong.
Ndi Anambra was in unflinching solidarity with Governor Obiano and APGA. Obiano said enough was enough and the people roared yes in unison a thousand times. This state belongs to all of us and no group of weight ? throwing, fortune seekers will be allowed to neither usurp our rights nor impede the development strides being recorded by this administration. With that steely resolve, vigilance and collective strength, the people?s democratic will prevailed in the House of Assembly poll, sending the PDP?s impeachment boat smashing to smithereens against the rock of the times.