Ifeanyi Ubah Vs Chris Ngige: Ubah’s Chances Get Brighter As Ngige Faces Set Of Intergrity Questions
SHARED POLITICAL STRENGTHS: This article is intended as a short comparative analysis of the chances of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party of Nigeria relative to that of Dr. Christopher Ngige of the APC. I have chosen to focus only on these two gubernatorial flag-bearers because they actually share a lot of personal characteristics in common with respect to this
electioneering campaign. Chris Ngige comes to seek the administration of Anambra State with a wealth of experience drawn from the public service sector, from where he not only served and retired as a Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health, but, also, was the governor of the state from 2003-2006. In contrast to Ngige, Ifeanyi Ubah desires to administer the same state with a rich background of being a successful and wealthy businessman with international reputation for global business experience and achievements. Both Ifeanyi Ubah and Chris Ngige share common personality attributes of courage to drive their political will; charisma to anchor the power of love of the electorate which they naturally enjoy as a gift from God; and independent mindedness as to how to manage the resources of the state that each one of them wishes to govern. They are, also, both politically aware and discerning enough as to know what the electorate expects of each of them as his political vision for Anambra State. Hence, similarities on issues that their different manifestoes addressed have put the electorate in confusion as to whose blueprint to follow as a better roadmap for the glorious future of the state.
DEPARTURE WITH THE PAST: With a growing active participation of the people of Anambra State through proactive political party-based campaigns, civil society groups political pressure, and protection of the fundamental political rights of the citizenry by democratic institutions like the Judiciary, the Anambra electorate is becoming more politically enlightened every other day, and, therefore, ready to rise up above sectional sentiments in the act of choosing a leader that they can hold accountable for the administration of the state. This represents a great departure with the past inclination to either show political passivity over the choice of a new governor for the state or simply embrace the line of action of godfathers to foist a governor on the state.
NGIGE’S DROP IN POPULARITY: The growing drop in the popularity of Chris Ngige is attributable to the recent change in the perception of his personality by the people of the Anambra State, as a fallout of his utterances in the election debates, revelations from online and print media publications about his past records of service as a Governor of the State, and the reassessment of his personal character with respect to the critical issues of sincerity and integrity; all of which have led to the following consequences upon which his drop in popularity is rooted:
(A) PENCHANT FOR BREAKING PROMISES: Chris Ngige has become specifically isolated as one political heavyweight who, while soliciting for campaign help, makes promises to godfathers, political party leaders and campaign success facilitators, but brazenly breaks the same at the end of his successful run. This observation has made his political sponsors in the APC and Anambra State to see him as an insincere and untrustworthy politician.
(B) ZONING IN ANAMBRA STATE: Chris Ngige is from Anambra Central, a senatorial zone which has not only produced a good number of past governors for the state, but has in the recent past eleven (11) years been holding the seat of governance (Chris Nigige 2003-2006, Peter Obi 2006-20014). This means that putting forward the candidacy of Chris Ngige for election as the next governor from 2014-20018; and a possible re-election for 2018-2022, would be tantamount to offering the Anambra Central a total of 19 years in the governance of the state to the exclusion of other senatorial zones; especially Anambra South, which has been the major financial backbone for political sponsorship in the state. This scenario did not go down well with people like the Late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu (The Ikemba of Nnewi and Eze gburugburu of Igbo Land) in the 2010 re-election of Mr. Peter Obi, where the later promised Ojukwu to pass the baton of governance to Anambra South in the 2013 election. And the current Labour Party flag-bearer, Ifeanyi Ubah, has taken up this campaign issue from where the Late Ikemba stopped; asking Mr. Peter Obi to fulfill his past campaign promises to the Late Odimegwu Ojukwu as a mark of his own sincerity and integrity.
(C) NON-LGA ELECTION, PETITIONS AND EFCC REPORT: The people of Anambra State are still fuming in anger that the government of Chris Ngige, in 2003-2006, refused to conduct Local Government Elections, during which time he is alleged to have held-up Federally Allocated Local Government Funds that eventually suffered corrupt practices in his hands by way of misappropriation of these funds. To unravel this matter, petitions were forwarded to the EFFC by Anambra Democratic Vanguard, Socio-Economic Rights Initiative, and eleven (11) members of the State House of Assembly. As a consequence, a recent report released by the Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) in the EFCC who headed investigations into these petitions has uncovered the sum of N47, 116, 297, 177 as the amount of local government funds misappropriated by the government of Chris Ngige from 2003-2006. It is also alleged that the $349, 974 laundered into the USA account of a sister relation of Chris Nigige came from these misappropriated local government funds.
(D) CORRUPT PRACTICE: As a fall-out of the several debate sessions, the character composition of Chris Ngige has come under serious scrutiny following his own answers to some incisive questions during the Channels Television Debate in the Anambra State Capital, Awka. The ensuing reactions of Anambrarians to his unacceptable answers to certain questions have led to a reassessment of his character as fraudulent and corrupt laden. This followed his revelation in answer to a given question during the said debate session that he expended about N250M ‘of public funds’, which he received as Constituency Funds as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on behalf of his communities, for the building of two (2) ventilated improved toilets. This amount is considered outrageous to be spent on such a micro-project. Therefore, the conduct of the Senator is adjudged by all Anmbrarians as a corrupt practice, for which strident calls are being made to commence his “Recall Process” from the Senate.
‘This integrity question’ which bedevils the chances of election of Chris Ngige as the Governor of Anambra State in the November 16, 2013, gubernatorial election, has become the ‘electoral gains’ of Ifeanyi Ubah in terms of switching of the mind and potential votes of the electorate. Ubah is the only other flag-bearer in this governorship contest who has been truly campaigning shoulder-to-shoulder with Ngige, and both of them were seen as the two major contenders that can clinch the governorship seat in a free and fair election.
Article written by: Nwosu Chukwuemeka (Submitted for online publication on 14/11/2013).
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