Anambra Gubernatorial Election – A Referendum on Biafra

by Chika Okpalike

I had a rude awakening this morning to realize that “Biafra Referendum” took place and all those who have been agitating for the sovereignty of our pet nation were feasting on “Ofe Nsala”. I had a rude awakening because as I took an intellectual journey into the fascinating universe of good governance otherwise known as OHOnization; thinking that since Biafra is taking time in coming, let us consolidate the dividends of democracy, my folks were mired in the pool of the blood of our compatriots who have been brutally murdered at various times of our history and were cashing in on what seemed a legal and constitutional forum to vote Biafra referendum. As I awake this morning, I saw Biafra. All hail Biafra; the Land of the Rising Sun! Let me also thank Ndi Anambra for a job well done on Nov 18, 2017.

I have written on this platform to laud the gubernatorial election that was just concluded in Anambra state, but the lessons of it will continue to generate and regenerate as days go by. One of my brother priests and Aguata brother in a public engagement on this forum told me that this election will be a referendum on Peter Obi. At the Channels gubernatorial debate, someone had also said it will be a referendum on the future of Anambra and yet another said it will be a referendum on Willie Obiano’s four years administration. I was focusing on all these opinions, only to wake up to the realization that the Anambra gubernatorial poll was a referendum on Biafra.

I have already written that APGA won this election with identity and protest votes; identity with Anambra (Nke a bu nke anyi); protest against APC, i.e. federal might.

In the first place, the average Onyeigbo believes he has no place in Nigeria and more so in the APC government. Consequently, “Nke a bu nke anyi” resonated with Onyeigbo who needed a sense of belonging; as it were, Anambra State was the place of the moment to belong. It was amazing for me to realize that every concerned Onyeigbo, irrespective of state of origin, was emotionally connected to the Anambra State politics; understanding it as the last bastion for Ndiigbo. APGA was the safe haven in this fortress. This APGA is not the establishment or leadership of a political party; it is the spirit of Ndiigbo rising again as a political movement.

In the second place, the dynamics of Anambra politics changed with APC grand-finale rally; a rally that sounded like a war cry to dispossess Ndi Anambra of their own by force. The utterances of Buhari as to making little of the bloodshed during Operation “Python Dance” II and the demand of Rochas Okorocha for Buhari to give Ndi Anambra Tony Nwoye were the climax of that rally; speeches which any average Onyeigbo would understand as denigration and threat. As a result, they unknowingly alerted Ndi Anambra to defend their home front before they will be overcome by federal might. To cap it all, PDP rallied the next day to pitch their tent at the other end of the divide poised for the war to begin. The posture of these two national political giants was enough to threaten the last stronghold of Ndiigbo and Ndi Anambra saw it as a bounden duty they owe to Ndiigbo to save the day. APGA became the safest haven to hibernate and avert that looming danger.

I had opined that this was not a vote for Willie Obiano. Now, I say this is a referendum on Biafra with a fiat handed over to Chief William Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano. I had also averred that Ndi Anambra had conjured Ijele; Willie Obiano has become “Mmanwu Ndi Anambra”. Mmanwu is made by initiates; it does not make itself. “Mmanwu na-eti onwe ya” is a misnomer. Mmanwu is a corporate identity of the community. It is in this understanding that I advocate again, those who can should let him know:

  1. Anambra is the only state in Nigeria where APC and PDP are not in power; and I am afraid, may not be in power very soon. Anambra is, therefore, the example of a state that can be governed from home without much dependence on Abuja. Anambra State is totally isolated in the political map of Nigeria and even the wooing of APC could not change the will of Ndi Anambra to be so isolated. It is a landmark decision!

It could also be said that Anambra is an independent state; this consistent isolation is an emphasis. Obiano should expect frustration from Abuja and Oha-Ndi-Anambra should rally round to build the consciousness and structure of a federating unit that can function on its own. Let us look beyond the frenzy and euphoria of this victory and brace up to speed with the decision we have made. 

Gov. Obiano of Abiano of Anambra state (front right) talking to President Buhari (front left) during the latter’s visit to the Southeast to campaign for the losing APC candidate for Nov. 18th Anambra governorship election.

  1. Willie Obiano should understand that he has inadvertently become the designated Igbo leader. Under his leadership, the Anambra APGA consciousness should spread to other Southeast states to reclaim them. Imo State, especially, should be an APGA state by 2019, for example. He should already begin to look beyond Anambra State; begin to design rails and bridges to connect the whole of Southeast.

  2. Willie Obiano is no longer a candidate once foisted on Anambra State by anyone; he has become the popular choice of Ndi Anambra by that singular allegiance to APGA. I am sure Willie Obiano was not very confident he was going to win this election; even if he was positioning himself to win this election, he had no idea it will be to this magnitude. Even the APGA faithful and all those working for the Obiano re-election bid were overwhelmed by the turnout of this election. This is part of how I identify God’s work. Whenever God works, He makes it clear that human efforts were naught. This governor, therefore, has been laden with responsibility beyond politics; it’s a socio-spiritual responsibility. He should gather the best brains of Ndi Anambra to help design a robust superstructure for the state and Southeast. He has the chance to be our hero. In this second term, he should rid himself already of all those who perch on government for sordid gains, those who muscle their way through by praise singing him into sleep; those whose idea of good governance is availability and appropriation of benefits, especially the ones that revert to them and those who should have no business with governance if they were not from certain places.

This is the time to begin the journey to sovereignty. Peter Obi’s APGA was a strong PDP ally and therefore, connected to the center, Obiano’s APGA is a stand-alone party and has proven to be integrally Igbo.

Now that the election is over, we should get focused and set the agenda going forward. Sitting back to taunt, blame, agitate, complain, smear or even drink champagne, is a distraction. The governor should hit the ground running. No time.