Dateline Wednesday October 16. The venue was All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha and the event was the grand rally of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) for the forthcoming November 16 gubernatorial election. For the people of Anambra state, women, men, traders, indeed people from all walks of life, it was an auspicious moment to show their solidarity and support for the party and it’s flag bearer, Chief Willie Obiano.
And the reason for their massive show of solidarity was understandable. Never in the history of the state have they witnessed such tremendous level of transformational activities going on across all sectors of the state. They are resolute in their determination that the good work of outgoing governor Peter Obi’is administration is doing must continue.
Obi epitomises the dreams and aspirations of Igbo people as conceived by their hero and father, Dim Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu.
It becomes understandable that the Anambrarians are paying more than a cursory attention at who takes over the mantle of leadership from Obi whose tenure winds down in March next year. For them, it was either another Obi if they cannot get a better Obi. And so, despite the scotching sun, the commercial town, practically came to a halt as residents most of whom are traders locked up their shops to be part of a repeat of history.
For there is the general belief that whoever the leadership of the party endorsed would live up to the tenets of the party as enunciated by Ikemba.
Besides the unprecedented crowd of Anambra people, the Hausa and Yoruba communities living in the state were ably represented. Even the spirit world was roused as they were ably represented by three different Ijele masquerades, the biggest and most colourful in Igbo land and Izaga masquerade, another wonder, who bore witness to the great occasion.
And like every APGA occasion, the spirit of Ikemba expectedly came alive not only when a minute silence was observed in his honour but also when members of Ikemba Solidarity Front stormed the event bearing banners heralding their hero.
If there was any doubt left in the minds of the expectant but very excited crowd as to whether Obiano would live up to expectations, such doubt was soon to be erased.
Introductions over, Obiano got the crowd cheering all the way as he offloaded a basket full of goodies for Anambra if he is voted into power.
Hear him. Riding on what he called the four Cs: Continue, complete, commission and commencement of new projects, Obiano vowed to deliver quality service to his people. He promised to equip selected hospitals and provide free medical care for those above 70, provide free education in primary and secondary schools, eradicate kidnapping by improving on security, beautify the areas already worked on by Governor Obi, provide low housing projects for civil servants, free vocational education and free ante-natal clinics. He wasn’t done yet. Making Anambra a tourist destination, construction of projects such as Ndiukwuenu, Ebenebe, Atani and Ozubulu roads, as well as bridges, malls and water projects and other priority areas touch the daily lives of the masses are also close to his heart.
He capped his promises on a heart-warming note “I will surpass Obi’s achievements.” For those who know this “nwa teacher” his words are his bond. With him, Anambra people are indeed in good hands and Ikembas soul would continue in his peaceful rest. And given his remarkable achievements at Texaco and Fidelity bank and his impressive credentials there is no doubt that if the people keep their promise and give APGA the mandate come November 16, that Chief Obiano will keep the flag of delivering Anambra and nay Igbo land to the much desired paths of prosperity and greatness flying.
While he spoke, Obi stood with hands akimbo nodding approval with a smile of inner satisfaction playing on his cheeks while Umeh on his part, with a head slightly bent forward listened with rapt attention and occasionally nodding an approval, an indication that the party will throw its might to ensure they continue to deliver good governance to the masses.
Earlier, APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, introduced stakeholders who attended the campaign. Chief among them were the gubernatorial candidates who slugged it out with Obiano during the primary election. All of them but Prof. Charles Soludo, the former CBN governor were present.
One by one they pledged their support to Obianos candidacy. The climax was the introduction of the gubernatorial candidate to the crowd by Chief Umeh and governor Obi which received a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
Addressing the crowd Umeh told the gathering that Igbos have liberated themselves from the clutches of operation and backwardness and therefore have the freedom to chose their leaders.
He said those peddling rumours against APGA are on a moonlight game. Umeh who described the campaign as “Operation Osmosis” continued “Anambra is the head of Igbo. If we mislead Igbos we are doomed. We have agreed that Willie will lead Anambra. No more slaughtering of people on the streets. Don’t promise us heaven when we are alive. Only APGA candidate can develop the state. Nobody can deceive us again.” he charged them to take the message to the masses in the villages to ensure that the mandate remains with the masses.
Also speaking, Obi calling on Anambra people to vote Obiano enmass as the candidate that represents their collective aspirations, punctured Ngiges claim of providing security in the state. “How can a man who could not secure himself provide security for others? He queried. He traced the history of kidnapping to Ngige and his estranged godfathers, “Those he played wayo.” Obi assured that security measures are in place to secure lives and properties of Anambra people and that a lot more is being done especially in the area of community policing which had already started bearing fruits.” It is on record that Obis government ended the rain of terror, impunity and arson in Anambra state.
Many others took turn to endorse the candidacy of Willie Obiano. Chris Anyanwu, the only APGA senator in the National Assembly from Imo state described Obiano as the only strong and credible candidate in Anambra in the race. “ I am Proud of APGA for bringing a golden man as aspirant. He will continue where Peter Obi has stopped. No shaking. Let us match forward. The whole world is watching you. If Anambra misses the road the whole Igbo will miss the way. We are watching you. Please don’t let us down.” she pleaded.
Uche Ekwunife leader of Anambra state caucus in the National Assembly and former gubernatorial aspirant Led other members of the assembly members from the state to lend their support to Obiano.
Addressing the mammoth crowd, she said “Today is a day we are making a bold statement, today we have endorsed our candidate, not just endorsing a candidate but one that will in turn endorse other candidates, Peter Obi has done great work in Anambra.
Peter Obi. We expect him to build on what Obi has done, in development, in growing the party and in delivering democratic dividend to our people. I look forward to a day that APGA will take over the whole of the East, a day APGA will take over the presidency. We don’t want a party for only the state but who will grow the party with the support of all of you ( the supporters).”
After the days event, in your homes omit d party into Gods hands.
We remind him that we have a compassionate govnor. Pray God to I’ve us d best govnor. Emeka Ojukwu jnr, son of Ikemba said “ I represent my father Ezeigbo Gburugburu. When he was alive he gave Anambra a very strong candidate, a man who I’ll make it well for our people. Than man is Peter Obi. That same line of succession from my father is today being passed on from Obi to Willie Obiano. By grace of God come November 16 our new governor will be Willie Obiano.”
Bob-Manuel Udokwuled, who is personal assistant on creative media, led a Nollywood delegation to storm the rally to push for the candidacy of Chief Willie Obiano.
The team made up of marketers, producers, script writers and actors including Amechi Muonagor and some key directors, writers and producers implored Onitsha residents to queue behind Obiano in the coming election. They performed a dramatic knocking the recent deportation of Igbos from Lagos state by the APC led government and the forced exit of Senator Chris Ngige, the APC candidate, as Anambra state governor.
The representative of Hausa community said their “spiritual and temporal leaders” had decreed that APGA will rule Anambra. He thanked APGA for d gift of Willie Obiano adding that Anybody who betrays APGA has betrayed Ojukwu and the entire Igbo nation.
Others who endorsed Obianos candidacy include Governors wife, Mrs. Margaret Peter Obi, Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Princess Chinwe Nwaebiri, Oby Nwosu, Nigerian ambassador to Burundi, Deputy governor Mr. Sibeudu, NANS Anambra leader, Keneth Okeke among many others.
The successful outing of the day could be traced to the royal blessings by the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty Alfred Achebe, to the team led by governor Obi and APGA national Chairman, Chief Umeh and their ever supportive wives before arriving the campaign arena. Though he was said to be on overseas trip, his entire cabinet chiefs who represented him offered prayers on his behalf. Governor Obi who was earlier informed about the Obis absence insisted it was expedient they pay their respects to the royal father even in his absence before carrying out the campaign in his domain.