From the look of things, APC is on its way to winning the November 6th gubernatorial election in Anambra State, long before the arrival of the day in which the ballot is billed to be cast.
Although the election is scheduled for next month, where contestants from all the major political parties are expected to slug it out, the exodus of prominent politicians, particularly from the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressives Congress (APC), is making it look preeminently like a walkover for the APC. Victory for the party is simply looking glaring or even a fait accompli.
The defection hurricane, which started shortly after Governor Mai Mala had taken Senator Andy Uba, the APC candidate in the election to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, penultimate month, was stimulated by the distinctive leadership style of the national caretaker chairman of the APC, who seem distinctively superb in the art of political stratagem. His plans of action since assumption of office, have been scheming in favour of the kind of party unity that is outwitting the opponents.
With Mai Mala’s style, APC is daily waxing stronger and stronger. And according to him, the defection is an indication of the APC’s grassroots approach in the quest to win the Anambra Governorship election.
As if pre-arranged, the defectors keep coming with a pledge to support the candidate of the APC, who seem matchless, in the person of Senator Andy Uba.
Since the inauguration of the APC campaign council, under the chairmanship of the indefatigable Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Hope Uzodinma, the gale of defection to the APC from all directions have taken an unprecedented dimension.
The former Speaker of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Barrister Rita Maduagwu had defected from APGA to the APC. The former minister of State for transportation, Mr John Emeka had defected from PDP to the APC.
Also, the Anambra State PDP master of ceremony, Mr Chris Chikwelu, former PDP Governorship Aspirant, Mr Chuma Nzeribe and scores of PDP members from Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ayamelum and Anambra East Local Government Areas (LGAs), of the state, as well as some Hausa and Yoruba communities in Onitsha, have all joined the APC.
The exodus was accompanied by the announcement of the exit of six members of the Anambra State House of Assembly penultimate week, from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmakers in question include Nonso Okafor, representing Nnewi North, Timothy Ifedioramma, representing Njikoka one, Cater D. N Umeoduagu, representing Aguata one, Lawrence Ezeudu, representing Dumekofia, Arthur Chiekwu, representing Idemmih North and Edward Ibuzo, representing Onisha North two.
Early last months, the senator representing Anambra north, Senator Stella Odua, a former minister of Aviation, also defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
While receiving the powerful senator, at a reception that had in attendance the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Atiku Bagudu, chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), and Hope Uzodimma, Imo Governor, His Excellency Mai Mala Buni, the chairman, caretaker and extraordinary convention planning committee of the APC, CECPC, promised the senator that she would be granted all the privileges accorded to APC members. “You will enjoy the privileges enjoyed by all members of the party because you will have a waiver,” Buni said.
In appreciation, and in giving reasons for her defection, senator Oduah said she joined the ruling party because she wants to change the political narrative in the southeast region of the country, emphasizing that her supporters in Anambra are jubilating that she joined the APC.
This is a big boost for the APC in the countdown to the election that is coming up in less than a month.
Victory started vacating the camp of APGA, the party in control of the state from the time the Jude Okeke led faction of the party blamed the gale of defections by members of the party to the APC on the emergence of Professor Chukwuma Soludo as the governorship candidate for the election, saying that if care is not taken, the party would be doomed.
I watched yesterday on TV, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambrah, when asked whether he is worried by the massive defections from his party APGA to the APC, just a few weeks to the election?
In his characteristic style of talking, the Governor said the defectors are just scammers, that are collecting money from the APC in the day and spying for APGA at night.
It sounded laughable to many, because shortly after that interview, news began to filter in, that his Deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke, had also defected from the same APGA to the APC.
The question begging for answer now is, with almost everyone joining the APC, with whom is the party slugging it out on the 6th of next month?
With all the opponents vanquished, indeed the Anambra election is looking more like a case of victory before voting.
Bala Ibrahim is a public affairs analyst.
Anambra: PMB, Buni, APC pre-eminence of victory, by Bala Ibrahim