Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that Chief George Moghalu, a leading candidate in next year’s Anambra State governorship race wants the conversation to go beyond good governance to include what part of national politics Anambra should occupy: Centre or the periphery?
Clearly, the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State is an opportunity for politicians and political parties to achieve a political goal. To be sure, those aspiring to succeed the incumbent Governor of the State Chief Willie Obiano are already making moves and strategizing towards the election. For their part, the leading political parties, which must field credible candidates if they hope to win the Anambra governorship election come next year, are already playing hosts to a number of aspirants desirous to take over from Obiano.
For the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the ruling party in Anambra, for instance, next year’s governorship election in the State presents a golden opportunity for it to consolidate its grip on power in a State where it has been ruling since 2006. For the All Progressives Congress (APC) the national ruling party, the 2021 poll is an opportunity to move Anambra to the centre and grab a greater share of the political power equation in the South East where it already controls one State (Imo) to PDP’s three (Abia, Ebonyi and Enugu) and APGA’s one (Anambra).
As for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the poll is an opportunity to regain the State it lost in 2006 and consolidate its grip on the South East, where, as already pointed out, it controls three of the five States in the zone. And, for all the other parties, including Young People’s Party (YPP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party (AP) and Labour Party (LP), amongst others, the election offers an opportunity for them to test their power and might. However, unless the expected happens, the election is a three-horse race among APGA, APC and PDP.
Yet, even for these three, success in any electoral contest would also depend, to a large extent, on the quality of candidates chosen to fly their flags in the polls. But not to worry because each of the big three could boast aspirants with the level of popularity and acceptability needed to win an election in the State The Light Of The Nation.
Consider APC. With Imo State firmly in its grip, the ruling party at the national level is looking to add Anambra to its haul in order to expand its power base in the South East. And to be able to do that effectively, the party is lining up a number of heavy weights from among whom it hopes to choose the best to fly its flag in Anambra 2021. One of such aspirants with his eyes on the Government House at Agu Awka, is the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu.
No one stands a better chance to clinch the APC ticket for Anambra 2021 than Moghalu for several reasons. According to an Awka-based current affairs analyst, Dr Ejike Nwangwu, Moghalu is ever green and definitely among the political first eleven in Anambra at the moment. Nwangwu opines that from the point of those who have been groomed via the political process to lead Anambra State, Moghalu stands taller than any other aspirant on the APC platform. Moghalu, the current affairs analyst argues, is amongst the few politicians in Anambra State that have been actively involved in politics at the national level since the return of democracy in 1999.
The other reason, which derives from the above, is that Moghalu, who hails from Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Government Area of Anambra State, is a man of integrity with a long history of loyalty to party and country.
Starting out in 1999 at the return of democratic governance in the country, Moghalu served as the National Secretary of the defunct All Peoples Party, (APP), which later became All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). He was the governorship candidate of the ANPP in the 2003 governorship election in Anambra State. As governorship candidate of ANPP in 2003, the Nnewi-born politician had the opportunity to work closely with the late Senator Chuba Okadigbo, who was the running mate to Muhammadu Buhari in the 2003 presidential election.
After that, Moghalu remained in ANPP until the party joined forces with other political parties such as Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form APC in 2015. At the birth of APC, he emerged as the National Auditor of the party, a position to which he was re-elected last year shortly before his appointment as the DG of NIWA by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The truth, according to a political analyst, Professor Joe Nnadirinwa, Moghalu’s political profile depicts consistency and loyalty, which are lacking in the system. In a country where politicians cross from one party to another with effortless ease and few or no legal consequences, Moghalu has distinguished himself from the crowd as a party loyalist without compare. His politics of consistency and loyalty, Professor Nnadirinwa says, is needed in a place like Anambra State.
“Yes, Ndi Anambra need someone like Moghalu who will be consistent in his decisions not the type that will make promises and renege on them almost the next day, not the type that will betray people’s trust in him and not the type that will tell lies when he speaks,” Nnadirinwa stressed. “Again, I am sure he will be loyal to relevant stakeholders. To be loyal means to be available and accessible, to have an open door and listen to someone or the people who want to talk to you, hear them out and do what they ask you to do for them. That is the kind of a leader the people wish to have at the Government House.”
In addition to consistency and loyalty, Moghalu has also gained the exposure and experience needed to run a State like Anambra. He is one politician from Anambra who has had the privilege of working with Nigerians from different walks of life and from different parts of the country. The NIWA boss boasts extensive national political contacts and goodwill that would make it easy for him to connect Anambra to the centre if he is given the mandate to be Governor of State. This is an advantage that other aspirants eyeing Agu Awka may not have.
Even more interesting about Moghalu is that he is from Anambra South Senatorial District, which is expected to produce the next Governor of Anambra State in line with the power rotation formula in force in the State. With Peter Obi from Anambra Central having ruled for eight years, the current Governor Willie Obiano set to complete his own eight years next year, the lot naturally falls on Anambra South to produce the next Governor of the State.
Indeed, the imperative of continuing with rotation as a leadership recruitment process that has served Anambra well, has been widely canvassed by relevant stakeholders like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Anambra State, traditional rulers and Civil Society organizations.
President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Anambra State Chapter, Chief Damian Afam Ogene, in a statement issued in Awka, called on all the political parties to choose their candidates from Anambra South as, according to him, it is the tum of South to produce the next Governor of Anambra based on what is on the zoning formula on ground in the State.
Similarly, the Intersociety, an Onitsha-based civil society organisation, has stressed that the issue of zoning and rotation of power in Anambra State is not negotiable.
In a statement signed by its Board of Trustees Chairman Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, Intersociety pointed out that it is the time for Anambra South to produce the next Governor of Anambra State, emphasizing that nobody should do anything to scuttle that formula. and nobody can change it.
Going by the above analysis, the onus now lies on the leaders and members of APC in Anambra to use their tongue to count their teeth on who to field as candidate to fly the party’s flag in the Anambra governorship election next year, in the hope of winning it and taking Anambra to the centre of Nigerian politics.
However, considering the situation of things in Nigeria at the moment, especially as it affects security under an APC-controlled government at the centre, the party has to put in a lot of effort to win the governorship. It happens that George Moghalu’s good name, exposure, experience and strong connections with people that matter may well stand APC in a stead to make such an effort a successful one.
Starting out in 1999 at the return of democratic governance in the country, Moghalu served as the National Secretary of the defunct All Peoples Party, (APP), which later became All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). He was the governorship candidate of the ANPP in the 2003 governorship election in Anambra State. As governorship candidate of ANPP in 2003, the Nnewi-born politician had the opportunity to work closely with the late Senator Chuba Okadigbo, who was the running mate to Muhammadu Buhari in the 2003 presidential election. After that, Moghalu remained in ANPP until the party joined forces with other political parties such as Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form APC in 2015. At the birth of APC, he emerged as the National Auditor of the party, a position to which he was re-elected last year shortly before his appointment as the DG of NIWA