Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has admonished political parties and their candidates participating in the forthcoming general election to conduct their campaigns peacefully or face humiliation by the people at the polls.
“Anambra State has gone far beyond the stage of violent politics and any person or group that attempts to bring back violence into the electioneering campaign or the body politic will be rejected outright by Ndi Anambra,” Obiano stated in an interview with the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, on his prognosis for 2019.
“Of course, one of the biggest challenges facing our state in the new year is to conduct a free, fair and transparent election, even though there will be no gubernatorial vote in Anambra State because we held ours last November 17 and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) swept the polls in each of the 21 local government areas in the state in an unprecedented manner.
“Ndi Anambra rose like one person against one or two candidates in the November 17 gubernatorial election who tried to introduce thuggery and violence in the campaign and they were consequently defeated right in their wards.
“Even a particular political party which threatened to destroy the three beautiful flyovers we built in Awka, instead of pledging to help build our beloved state if elected, infuriated our people by its utterances and they voted massively against it.
“Our people desire messages of hope and optimism rather than threats of destructions.
“Ndi Anambra truly abhor violent conduct by the political class”.
Analysts regard last year’s gubernatorial election in the state as the freest, the most peaceful and the most transparent ever conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
“There was no incident of violence before or during the election, nor was there any controversy after the result had been announced,” the governor recalled.
“The candidates who ran against me were compelled to accept, together with their parties, the outcome of the historic vote.
“They congratulated me in writing and at press conferences, and some were present at my second inauguration last March 18”.
Describing the sportsmanship exhibited by his political rivals as a remarkable departure from tradition, Obiano noted that in the past that elections in the state were the most intractable in the country’s courts and even culminated in the kidnapping of the state governor and mayhem lasting three days in the state by members of even the same party.
The governor revealed that the peaceful campaign for last year’s gubernatorial election was part of his strategy to make Anambra the first state for consideration by investors.
“Finance is a coward, and it goes to only places it is not likely to be threatened,” he declared, adding “as the state governor it was incumbent on me to lead by personal example, as the great Professor Chinua Achebe advised Nigerian leaders in 1983 when he published his famous political treatise entitled The Trouble with Nigeria”.
He said that even though he is not a candidate in the 2019 general election, he is “obliged morally and legally to ensure that Anambra remains very peaceful and stable.
“Our reputation as Nigeria’s safest state, Nigeria’s most peaceful state and the state with the highest level of social cohesion has rekindled investor confidence in Anambra,” Obiano observed.
“The result is the unprecedented investments in the state running into billions of dollars in the last four years.
“Therefore, any attempt to thwart the social harmony in the state will be resisted by our people who will fight the anti-social forces with every drop of blood they have, including mobilizing electorally against the offenders and ostracizing them politically and eternally”.