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OPINION: How Anambra Governorship Electoral Victory is Determined by Elites

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In all, these elites have enormous sums of money which they are willing to deploy on Election Day to ensure that their preferred candidate wins in their locality.

Anambra elections have always been elections in which stakeholders’ influence practically decide who wins. Anambra elites explicitly and subtly influence the choice of voters and their loyalty is not tied to any political party. Admittedly, their influence is not all required to win an election because in truth, to be able to win a political contest, there is usually a combination of factors at play. Even political financiers, for instance, cannot put their money into getting an unviable candidate elected. Nobody finances a bad idea, the same way nobody finances a bad political ambition. Be that as it may, in Anambra politics, electoral victory turns out often as the verdict of elites and stakeholders across the zones of the state.

In 2010 when Governor Peter Obi was seeking reelection as Anambra governor, Dr. Chris Ngige whose tenure was squashed by court in 2006, was as formidable as a likely winner of any election could be. Considering the circumstances surrounding his time in office and how he rose to the occasion, Dr. Ngige was arguably the most popular politician in the whole of South East at the time. Ngige was a movement and a bold symbol of the people’s aspiration. But because Dr. Ngige committed what can be described as class suicide, following his fallout with Chris Uba, his godfather, he in collateral consequence, lost the confidence of elites and corollary, he has not been able to return to Anambra Government House ever since.

As of today, his popularity has equally significantly diminished much so that his reputation is now in question to the extent that he is seen as an enemy by many, but Ngige used to be the symbol of hope, that our government can actually work for the masses. Looking at it, apparently, Ngige mismanaged the love people had for him and wasted same in pursuit of personal ambitions when he could have led a fearsome charge; one that is better, more organized, and more ideological than Tinubu did in the South West. After he left the PDP, and joined AC, then ACN, and finally APC, Dr. Ngige always want to remain not only the figurehead but also the body components. And so he failed to strategically allow his foot soldiers to grow, become leaders themselves, profit from his large following and cult-like persona as a means of reinventing and extending his relevance, which eventually diminished and altogether disappeared. The major problem really was that many Anambra elites do not like him after his first outing; he is a combination of traits that kingmakers fear terribly.

Before Ngige was Mbadinuju. Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, then popularly called “Odera” could not secure PDP return ticket in 2003 because of his problem with Sir. Emeka Offor, his acclaimed godfather. He went on to secure the AD’s ticket but could not win the election. Although Mbadinuju in his autobiography recalled that people like Dr. ABC Ojiakor, a distinguished surgeon and first-class oil mogul, gave him more money in support of his election in 1999 than Sir Emeka Offor. The import of Mbadinuju’s argument is that Offor was not his godfather. In fact, Mbadinuju specifically observed that if anyone should take the coveted position as his godfather, then, it has to be Dr. ABC Ojiakor.

And so it happened that before 2010, Anambra State had never reelected anyone to serve for a second term in office. Governor Peter Obi was the first to be elected to serve for a second term in office and that was in 2010 when he defeated Dr. Ngige whom many thought was better positioned to win the election. Then fast-forward to 2014 when Obi and a few others championed Governor Obiano’s campaign, and finally in 2017 when Obiano championed his own campaign for reelection.

In all of these experiences, the constant denominator is the overwhelming influence of elites in who becomes the governor. Mbadinuju could not secure reelection because of the war that was waged against him by the elites. Ngige could not return to the Government House because after his initial class suicide the first time, the elites could no longer trust him with that position. In 2017, Governor Obiano and his wife, when it dawned on them that they could serve for just one term, moved swiftly. They embarked on a kind of campaign that except in 2014 during which time Peter Obi went around begging for support for Obiano, has not been seen before. They went from house to house, meeting elites, and begging for support. Then eventually, it was a consensus for Governor Obiano in 2017. In 2010, Peter Obi’s advantage was running against a very popular Dr. Ngige posed to win, but was not trusted by the elites, this, among other factors was the deciding feature of that election.

In 2021, the signs are there again that whoever has the blessings of the elites, is going to win the election. Election is often a payback time for Anambra elites. It is during election seasons like this that they take their own pound of flesh because, they are consulted and their support is courted. A handful of these elites provide stupendous amounts of money to grease the campaign and election proper. In an election season such as we have now, candidates are assessed on the basis of their relationship with elites and how, if they have been in power before, they have managed their newfound fame and privileges. Indeed, it is not so much about good governance more than it is about the character of the politician. And this is what is going to happen again in November 2021.

In the end, such criteria as readiness to govern, applicability or relevance of a candidates’ manifesto, etc, most times, in reality, do not matter at all.

Without any equivocation, less than thirty days to the election, we can clearly see that the November gubernatorial contest is squarely between Prof. Charles Soludo of the APGA and Sen. Andy Uba of the APC, both of whom are elites themselves. Andy Uba especially has been a factor in Anambra election since 1999. The PDP is at a distant third place. Between Soludo and Uba, whoever has the support of most elites in the state will win the election. This is because it is the elites that determine who wins an election in their own domain where they deploy the full measure of their capabilities. In many instances, these elites already have goodwill built over the years through their community service, generosity, and vast wealth. Some of them control certain segments of the election machinery. During elections, they deploy all those in support of their own preferred candidate. Any elite committed to helping any candidate running for governor usually commit to “deliver” his local government or zone to the candidate. Many of them already have hundreds of everyday people under their influence who naturally look up to them for political direction. Some also have other wealthy people in their locality or zone, under their influence.

In all, these elites have enormous sums of money which they are willing to deploy on Election Day to ensure that their preferred candidate wins in their locality. In short, form, what happens is that candidates hand over their election victory in whole or in part, to elites or stakeholders supporting them at various local governments depending on how the candidate and his party plan their victory. Therefore, the farther the spread of elite support one gets the better chances of winning. There is not a single governorship election that has been won in Anambra state that was not a win for the candidate most preferred by the elites.

With much of the structures enabling the preponderance of elites’ influence in Anambra’s electoral victory or defeat still very much in place, it is very unlikely that the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state will be won by a candidate who is not supported by most of these stakeholders. In the end, such criteria as readiness to govern, applicability or relevance of a candidates’ manifesto, etc, most times, in reality, do not matter at all. Matter of fact, thousands of voters will vote someone linked to a ‘big man in their village or area, told them to vote for, while a thousand others sell their votes and are bought by willing buyers with enough money to buy as many as it is possible. The percentage of informed and enlightened voters who vote based on clear-cut potential performance analysis are few and very insignificant to make any difference in the election turnout.

♦ Ebuka Onyekwelu, strategic governance exponent,  is a columnist with the WAP

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Nigeria

45 Million Women Lack Access To Family Planning In Nigeria

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The Country Director of an international non-governmental organisation, Marie Stopes Nigeria, has expressed concerns that about 45 million active women of childbearing age lack access to family planning and sexual reproductive health services in the country.

Effiom  Effiom, made the revelation in Abuja Monday during a two-day sexual reproductive health workshop his organization, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, organised for traditional and religious leaders.

He said lack of access to facilities for family planning and sexual reproductive health services, lack of commodities at health facilities, coupled with other traditional and religious barriers has contributed to the high maternal mortality rates in the country.

Effiom said the workshop was organised to engage traditional and religious leaders to appreciate critical issues affecting provision and uptake of quality reproductive health services.

Mamman Mahmuda, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, believed that traditional and religious leaders have a role to play towards promoting advocacy and supporting demand generation for sexual reproductive health services and rights to reduce maternal and infant mortalities in Nigeria.

 

 

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Nigeria

Orji Kalu Visits Nnamdi Kanu In DSS Custody, Promises To Keep Counseling Him

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The Chief Whip of the Nigeria Senate and former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has visited the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the custody of the Department of State Services on Monday afternoon.

Kalu, in a statement personally signed by him and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, said the IPOB leader was in good health and under proper care.

The former governor of Abia State added that he spoke with Kanu as a brother and told him the need to consider the consequences of certain actions that he would be taking.

Kalu said, “This afternoon, I visited my brother, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, Abuja.

“I met him in good health and care and we discussed as ‘Umunne’.

“In 2001 when I was Governor, I made his father Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, the traditional ruler of Akwara Ukwu and since then the family has been very close to me.

” I understand that Nnamdi has an insane amount of people rooting for his back home and I encouraged him to consider the consequences of certain actions and utterances for the sake of the same people.

“Even though my ideology and his ideology are totally different, God has made us brothers and we can’t run away from each other.

“I owe him and Nigerians good counselling whether he and his family listen to me or not.

“I will continue to counsel him as I have always done in the past. What we need most is a peaceful and secured society.”

 

 

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Nigeria

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, Steps Down After 16 Years

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The Chief Executive Officer of microblogging platform Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has resigned.

He announced his resignation on Monday, after 16 years of co-founding the social media company.

“I resigned from Twitter,” he wrote and posted a screenshot of his resignation letter sent to Twitter.

He also announced Parag Agrawal as his successor.

Dorsey has not been in the good books of the Nigerian government since October 2020, over an allegation that he was complicit in the promotion of the EndSARS protests that ended in the destruction of lives and billions of property in Nigeria.

In June 2021, the administration of Muhammadu Buhari (retd), suspended Twitter, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The Federal Government’s action followed a deletion of a controversial civil war post by the President.

Buhari had since come under fire for what many termed as a restriction of the right of expression. The international community including the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, amongst others had since knocked the Buhari regime for the action but the Federal Government had been unyielding in its stance insisting that the sovereignty of the West African nation must be respected by the San Francisco tech giant.

Millions of content creators in Nigeria, who earn their living from the microblogging site, have been affected as they are forbidden from using Twitter. Some of them have since embarked on a journey of diversification while exploring other social media platforms.

Nigeria, with over 200 million people, had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. Also according to Statista, about 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.

Read The Full Resignation Letter Below

Hello Team.

After almost 16 years of having a role at our company…..from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO…I decided it’s finally time for me to leave. Why?

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led.’ Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.

The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep.

The second is Bret Taylor agreeing to become our board chair, I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way. He understands entrepreneurship, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s an engineer. All of the things the board and the company deserve right now. Having Bret in this leadership role gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!

The third is all of you. We have a lot of ambition and potential on this team. Consider this: Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!). This alone makes me proud. I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes. All of you have the potential to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!

Parag is CEO starting today. I’m going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that…I’ll leave the board. Why not stay or become chair? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.

I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company…and all of you so much. I’m really sad……yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.

We’ll have an all-hands meeting tomorrow at 9:05 AM Pacific to discuss it all. Until then, thank you all for the trust you’ve placed in me, and for the openness to build that trust in Parag and yourselves. I love you all.

 

 

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