Anambra is one state where political analysts have concluded is still free for any presidential candidate to work hard to take, as it is deemed to be still free. The above submission may stem from the fact that while the party is known to be predominately an All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA) State, its presidential candidate can best be described as a featherweight candidate. The running mate of the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Mr Peter Obi who is also a former governor of the state and known to be popular hails from the state.
Beyond these two, a presidential candidate, Prof Kingsley Muoghalu of the Young Peoples Party(YPP) also hails from Anambra, just as some political heavyweights in the state are members of the All Progressives Congress, and have been working for the victory of the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari. One may be right to say that the votes of Anambra people, which stands at about N2million may be divided across political parties.
Be that as it may, two parties have been known to be those who will make the greatest impact in Saturday’s election, and the factors that would propel where votes go are not more than two basically. They are the Governor Willie Obiano factor and the former Governor Peter Obi factor.
Governor Willie Obiano Factor
Anambra State governor, Chief Willie Obiano is of the All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), and he is the leader and chairman board of trustees of the party. His party has a presidential candidate, Gen John Gbor, who hails from Benue State.
Despite fielding a presidential candidate, the leaders of the APGA have never hidden their preference for President Buhari above other candidates in the coming election. Three months to the election, a group of people known as One-on-One Nigeria, who are known to be predominantly members of APGA, including two aides of Governor Obiano visited President Muhammadu Buhari, pledging their support to him, while saying that they would deploy the advantage of their nearness to people at the grassroots to campaign from doorstep to doorstep to ensure that Buhari wins the election. The group was headed by Chido Obidiegwu, an aide of governor Obiano.
Shortly after the visit, words went round that the visit was on the behest of the governor, as many said that he was not confident of being seen to be supporting Buhari, since his party also has a presidential candidate, therefore, he decided to send surrogates and representatives. Another version even stated that Obiano, through the group had sent financial contribution to President as his commitment to his reelection.
All these were, however, denied by the governor, who in a press statement signed on his behalf by the state commissioner for Information Strategy and Public Enlightenment, C.Don Adinuba, stated clearly that Obiano was of APGA, and not willing to support any other political party. In another occasion, Obiano was quoted to have told the people of Anambra State to kill if they must, if only to stop the PDP presidential candidate and his running mate from winning in Anambra. Again, the governor has denied this, but all these are pointers to the fact that the governor has a soft spot for the incumbent president as against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi.
The preference of Buhari over Atiku by the governor may likely sway votes the side of the APC, but one big snag about it is the unwillingness of the governor to be bold in his campaign for Buhari. Nevertheless, no matter the level of following the governor may have in the state, he may still find it difficult to convince the people in an election that is known to be a secret ballot to vote against Atiku, and Obi, who for eight years impacted on the people of the state as a governor, and more so for Buhari who has been widely acknowledged by the people of the state as not being fair to Igbos.
The Peter Obi Factor
It does not matter if anyone accepts or not, Mr Peter Obi remains one of the most popular politicians in Anambra State. No doubt, his selection as the running mate of the PDP candidate is a masterstroke that may possibly deliver Anambra and the four other southeastern states to the PDP.
Though APGA can boast that Anambra is their state, having been able to win all the 21 local government areas of the state in the 2017 general election, but political analysts believe that a lot of things came to play, including the unacceptability of some of the candidates and the double standard played by some members of other political parties to give Obiano victory.
The unity among members of PDP this time around, and the traditional orientation of the average Anambra man which is that while APC is a party for the northerners, Buhari is believed to have been unfair to the Igbo nation, may all contribute to sway votes to the side of the PDP.
As for Prof Kingsley Muoghalu hailing from Anambra State and being a presidential candidate too, one can only say that as good and sound as he may, it would be hard for him to win even Anambra State, where he hails as people believe that voting for anyone else besides the two main candidates may amount to boosting the chances of the wrong candidate as it would have been a vote away, to a right candidate who would not win.
In all, one can comfortably say that despite the presence of some APC stalwarts in Anambra State, who have been working assiduously for the party’s candidate, Buhari, it would only take a miracle for Buhari to win Anambra State. At best, Buhari may garner more votes than he did in Anambra in 2015, where he was totally rejected, but it would be impossible for the incumbent to win Anambra State.
In the 21 local governments of Anambra State, one can say that in Nnewi North local government where Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah is standing election as the YPP candidate of the party, where Muoghalu also hails, a good number of people may vote for YPP for senate and president because of the dominance of Ubah in the area.
Buhari may also register a significant number of votes in Anambra through Idemili South local government area where the minister of Labour and Employment hails, and maybe in Aguata local government area because of the influence of the senator representing the area, Senator Andy Uba, who is also the chairman of President Buhari Campaign Council in the state.
The acceptability of the PDP as against APC, the acceptability of Atiku as against Buhari who is deemed to be nepotistic and unpopular and the addition of Obi who is widely known for his uprightness in governance will give Anambra to PDP overwhelmingly.