With the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States over, all eyes have shifted to Anambra State.
For a state that has severally been referred to as an unusual state, one only needs to take up a chart detailing the leaders of each of the 36 states of Nigeria and their political party. The distribution is simple: when and where the governor is not from the leading All Progressives Congress (APC), then he is from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). But not for Anambra, a state where a certain political party, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), keeps a domineering hold for over a decade.
Ever since bursting significantly into the scene in 2007, reclaiming a lost mandate through the courts, instilling its torch-bearing governor, Peter Obi, the party has enjoyed an unbroken stint.
However, a real and true possibility arises for another party to take the reins in the state after those long years. The opportunity presents itself but with clear demands: the party must have had a structure and depth competitive to what already exists, the party must not open old wounds, and the party must offer a candidate devoid of a political past that could be detrimental.
It should be noted that it is not so clean a slate such that without substance, any comer could pass for victory. APGA, despite its muddied reputation and worn out influence, still wields enough power to clinch victory. For this, the PDP must work hard and the hard work begins with the choice of candidate to be presented to the ballot. In that regard, boasting an overwhelming number of aspirants, the party suffers not.
From Uche Ekwunife, the long-standing female senator from the state, to Chris Azubogu, the list is long and rich. It fields Godwin Mmaduka, Obiora Okonkwo, Godwin Ezeemo, and Valentine Chineto Ozigbo. But the complexity of Anambra politics, erecting multiple criteria, poses a hard question for whomever party that dreams gubernatorial victory. For the PDP, the enigma would be who, among this seeming long list, fulfills the many determining sentiments that qualify or eliminates a candidate.
For Chris Azubogu, the method appears to be a visible competence in office. Nicknamed Mr. Project, he is renowned to be a man of physical infrastructures and quite progressive initiatives. However, as a member of the National House of Representatives, his projects are limited to his constituency, his influence narrowed to the same geopolitical circumference. More is needed from a gubernatorial aspirant.
Valentine Chineto Ozigbo is the former CEO of the Transcorp Group. An accomplished professional who retired at age 50 and, following his own words and dispositions, now aims to pour his essence to the higher calling of community building and humanitarian services. Perhaps in pursuit of this ideal, his gubernatorial aspiration was born. But what is certain is that from this ideal, one that transcends the individual person, Valentine Ozigbo has pulled impactful initiatives and exerted himself in a manner and fashion that is commendable and that attracts interest.
While Azubogu can be said to be fulfilling his mandate as a politician voted by his constituency, Ozigbo’s exertion holds a beautiful mystery. Accomplished, his foray into politics defies the usual suspicion held of the group called ‘career politicians’; describing the youth as the livewire of his political ambition, one finds his ideology progressive and visionary; philanthropic, hence operating in the frontline of the pandemic interventions in the state, Ozigbo achieves a certain roundedness needed to deem a character complete and sufficient.