in Anambra will go down as one of the most anticipated governorship elections in the history of Nigeria.
Already, it has set a record of being the governorship election with the highest number of candidates (37) in Nigeria’s electoral history.
Godfatherism, zoning, political vendetta and IPOB threat to boycott are some of the indices observers are expecting to play out in today’s polls with over 2.1 million registered voters.
The reason this election is holding today and not in 2019 with those of most other states is rooted in the controversial nature of Anambra politics.
In the 2003 Anambra governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under former President Olusegun Obasanjo hatched the perfect heist that snatched the mandate of the then winner, Peter Obi, who contested under the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, then under the leadership of Chekwas Okorie.
The then PDP flagbearer, Chris Ngige, emerged winner against the people’s mandate. It took three years of titanic court battles for Mr. Obi to win back his mandate. Mr. Ngige was sacked by the Court of Appeal in March 2006 and Mr. Obi was sworn in two days later.
Interestingly today, almost all the characters that played a role in the 2003 controversy realigned under different parties to continue the unending battle for power.
Peter Obi is leading PDP to the polls, a party that denied him his mandate for three years. He is believed to be the godfather of the party’s flagbearer, Oseloka Obaze. Mr. Obaze meanwhile served as Secretary to the State Government under Mr. Obi and incumbent Governor Willie Obiano.
Mr. Obiano is still flying APGA’s flag after a scuffle with Mr. Obi. Meanwhile, Chekwas Okorie, APGA’s founding leader, is now in the same boat with Osita Chidoka in the United Progressives Party.
To complete the circle of realignment, Mr. Ngige who was once abducted as a sitting PDP governor, is now a member of the All Progressives Congress and is backing its candidate, Tony Nwoye. Both are former PDP stalwarts.
Another popular name apart from the major candidates, as today’s polls open, is Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). His group has vowed that the election will not hold until the federal government gives a date for a referendum for a separate state for Igbos of South-east Nigeria.
PREMIUM TIMES in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, brings you live updates of the election.