By Victor Afam Ogene
That democracy is a game of numbers has never been a subject of debate. It is an obvious fact, both in principle and in practice. In deed, in this universally preferred form of government, the people are rightly the vital engine that powers democratic processes and its actualisation.
Therefore, from this foundational framework, there is no gainsaying that the higher the numbers, the brighter the collective fortunes of groups or individuals that populate a given political party. This, succinctly, is in sync with a popular African adage, ‘a tree does not make a forest’. Or, perhaps, another that says, ‘when a collective urinates in a spot, it conjures a foam!’
These aptly capture the ongoing political and social engineering currently unfolding in Anambra State by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the November 6, 2021 governorship election draws near. In recent times, the fortunes of the APC in the state, as well as the whole of the South East, have continued to receive unprecedented boost, going by the number and calibre of politicians and supporters that continue to embrace the party in a gale of defections from rival political parties.
The phenomenon is so befuddling that today, an APC that only a few months ago grappled with monumental challenges of acceptance in Anambra and the South East region in general, is now the beautiful bride, not only recognized by many as a true national party, but one in which they desire to fellowship together. Eureka! the people appear to have, finally, discovered the political vehicle most suitable to launch themselves back into national limelight and secure a more promising future.
Previously, other opposing parties in the zone had almost succeeded in casting the APC in the ignominious image of an unwanted enemy of the people – a pariah entity and hater of the Igbo race. Deploying a combination of devious post civil war propaganda and modern rejection rhetorics, it was quite easy setting up the APC, as the author and finisher of whatever ill fate that confronted the Igbo, whether at home or in the diaspora.
For a people so renown in their republican disposition, this was certainly a new philosophy – one unbeknownst to them, forged in the furnace of pure partisanship and crave for personal advancement.
Were it not so, how come almost two decades after, the lyrical muezzin, nkea bu nke anyi (this is our own), has refused to be internalised, and accepted as a rallying anthem in the four other Southeast states of Enugu, Abia, Imo and Ebonyi?
Besides Anambra, why has it been difficult to spread and plant this seemingly good seed in any of the aforementioned states?
How come too, those who promoted the concept, almost to the point of being a religion, upon having a ‘Damascus’ experience left the orchestra for their choir boys?
In deed, how comprehensible is it that the new altar boys continue to desecrate the sanctuary, leaving the Prophetess bewildered as the ship irretrievably heads for the rocks?
The answers to these posers lie in the realisation that it only takes one day of truth to overtake many years of lies.
For the new political consciousness that has suddenly enveloped our landscape, reversing previously held wrong and unfathomable philosophical notions, the maxim that time and truth exonerate victims of falsehood appear to be at work.
Many have attributed this new lease of life for the APC in the South East to many factors. But could it be a mere coincidence that this drastic reinvention of the party in Anambra, particularly, is taking place since the emergence of Senator Andy Uba, as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state? I don’t think so.
Propelled by his Igwebuike philosophy, Senator Uba’s popular Igbo moniker, which when translated, means: ‘Strength in numbers,’ the unfolding scenario in Anambra is the product of a well thought out political re-engineering meant to wean the people off a belligerent disposition hitherto unknown to their forebears.
How come a people famed for their courage in battles, convivial spirit, sense of adventure, voyages, good neighbourliness, technical competences and creative ingenuity in the face of challenges and difficulties now be the very ones to seek answers in ethnic cocoons? Tufiakwa!
Put succinctly, Igwebuike means democracy! Simpliciter! And Senator Uba is not only leading the charge, he lives the full expression of the tag in his efforts to build the APC into a formidable force in Anambra State. He is strategic and deliberate in feeding the fuel of unison and purpose to the vehicle of collective progress and betterment of ndi Anambra and Ndi Igbo in general by widening the doors and coast of the party in the state.
And rather than a desperate, selfish quest to be a lone hugger of the podium, Igwebuike is deploying positive energy to ensure that he attracts quality ndi Anambra, with remarkable leadership, organizational and governance skills, to the APC fold. This, to me, is a commendable leadership and social engineering foresight for the good of Anambra and its precious people. He appreciates the fact that no one knows it all, but in togetherness, a winning team of leaders that would put the interest of the people first, will emerge.
The APC as a brand is benefiting from Senator Andy Uba’s Igwebuike ‘live and let’s live’ political ideology. And the harvest is vividly outstanding, both in quality and quantity.
The obvious sting of ‘how did we get here’ tormenting the hearts of leaders and faithful of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), by the defection to the APC and subsequent reception of Dr. Nkem Okeke, deputy governor of Anambra State, by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, is not lost on political observers. Essentially, it underscores not only the current pleasant allure of the party in the state, but also the swift and steady movement on the pathway to victory.
It is on record, however, that before this stunning development, APC had also attracted several top politicians, including serving and past Senators, past and current House of Representatives members, serving and former state legislators and many others from prominent political parties. And we say, Igwebuike!
Only few days ago, the deputy governorship candidate of the Accord Party in the coming November 6 election, Chief Kenneth Obi, also got enthralled by the APC alurring populist dispositions and dumped his party to join in the spirit of Igwebuike ( Strength in numbers), in the overall interest of Anambra State!
And since democracy is a game of numbers, we are cocksure that with the ceaseless influx of new members and the expected impact of grassroots mobilisation and realignments, APC and ndi Anambra will on November 6, 2021, and beyond, echo a resounding Igwebuike! Surely, Igwebuike wins and wins again. Like in 2007, he will win again in a landslide swell!
• Hon. Ogene, a former member and deputy chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, is the Director, Media and Publicity, Senator Andy Uba Governorship Campaign Organisation (SAUGCO).