Ahead of the November 6 election of the successor to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, the candidates of the various political parties have been making promises to win the hearts and votes of the people of the state.The race for the governorship seat of the only state in Nigeria not currently being run by either the All Progressives Congress (APC) or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been made even more intriguing by keenly contested primaries, serious security concerns compounded by the threats by secessionist groups such as the Indegenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the general politics of the state.
In addition to the judicial issues that arose from candidate selection by the parties, the outlawed group, IPOB, issued sit-at-home order which could have hindered a free and fair election. The group, which had used force to implement its previous sit-at-home orders, cancelled the latest one Thursday evening.
In May, Vanguard reported that ’50 per cent of non-sensitive materials for the election’ had been lost in attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state. But INEC said it has distributed most of the critical materials acoss the state and asserted its readiness to proceed with the election while the police have also doubled up in preparation.
A total of 18 political parties are jostling for the coveted seat. The Media in Nigeria Elections (MiNE) of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), which is covering the election with support from the European Union, has obtained and analysed the manifestoes of some of the political parties in Anambra. The exercise is geared towards MiNE’s effort at civic education towards the elections.
Based on public opinion and accessibility, the following seven parties were selected: Young Progressive Party (YPP), All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), Accord Party (AP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and African Democratic Party (ADC).
This analysis focuses on five key areas in their manifestoes: gender and inclusion; governance; security; economic growth and climate change. The choice of these focal areas is informed by current realities: the high levels of insecurity in the nation, the deficit of good leadership and the declining economy.
- Ifeanyi Ubah – Young Progressive Party (YPP)
Ifeanyi Ubah is the candidate of the YPP and its only elected official in the country. Born on September 3, 1971, the businessman, entrepreneur and CEO of Capital Oil is currently the senator for Anambra South District.On security, Mr Ubah has promised to improve security through modernised security systems and improved community policing.
Mr Ubah promised to expand the economy of the state by harnessing entrepreneurship. He also plans to improve governance and bring a sense of democracy to the grassroots. To do this, he plans to restore local government autonomy within six months of assuming office by removing the Joint Account Committee(JAC) and granting traditional leaders autonomy in finance.
Mr Ubah also has plans to improve human capital development of which improved inclusion would be a by-product.
But his manifesto did not mention plans to improve the quality of life of persons with disability. However, he promised to improve gender inclusion through women empowerment, girl child education and women in governance.
- Valentine Ozigbo – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
The PDP flag bearer is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria plc (Transcorp). Mr Ozigbo was born on July 20, 1970.
He has promised to allocate up to 25 per cent of his appointments to women, as against the 35 per cent recommended, starting in the first year of his administration. He plans to increase the percentage in subsequent years, according to the 40-page manifesto.
He promises an administration that is open and accountable through data-driven decision making, responsiveness, accessible governance and continuity of good initiatives.
Mr Ozigbo promises to address climate change in the state, tackle erosion problems and focus on opportunities in the waste management value chain. This solution, he hopes, would perform the dual function of solving a major problem and creating jobs in the process.
To tackle growing insecurity in the state, Mr Ozigbo promises to maintain and improve on the community-led vigilante activities in the state. Additionally, he promises to build consensus with traditional rulers, youth groups, and other key stakeholders to ensure speedy and effective conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Mr Ozigbo also promised to create economic growth and opportunities for all. This he hopes to do by boosting manufacturing; large-scale agricultural production; innovation; trade and commerce; all with a focus on empowering women and the youth. His promises include revitalising moribund industries; exploring new opportunities, running data-driven governance based on facts and economic development; and eventually building the most economically competitive subnational economy in Nigeria by 2025; and increasing Nominal GDP by over 100 per cent by 2025.
The PDP candidate, however, does not have in his manifesto tangible plans to improve the quality of life of PWD.
- Godwin Maduka – Accord Party
Born in 1959, the Accord Party flagbearer, Godwin Maduka, is a Nigerian-American doctor, businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder of Las Vegas Pain Institute and Medical Center.Mr Maduka, according to his 16-page manifesto, promises to improve gender inclusion by providing opportunities for women to get involved in agriculture and creating a women co-operative banking scheme. He promised that his administration will ensure that intimidation of the populace by political party holders is checked and that all promises are duly fulfilled within his stipulated tenure. However, he did not mention how he plans to do this.
On climate, he plans to adopt a renewable energy system to combat the effect of climate on the environment.
To strengthen the security in the state, the candidate promises to boost the remuneration and welfare packages of the security agencies, renovate and build new barracks for all the security agencies and build 21st century schools for their children. He proposes to institute regular professional development and training programmes for security agents so they can be up to date on new and modern ways and techniques of law enforcement.
- Akachukwu Nwankpo – African Democratic Congress
Mr Nwankpo was born in Ekwusigo Local Government of Anambra State in 1962. He was appointed as the Special Advisor on Technical Matters to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2007 and Secretary/Member of the Presidential Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P) Committee until 2013.
His 13-page manifesto gives issues of security high priority. He plans to build Anambra State End-to-End Security System, establish Anambra State Ministry Of Umunna Affairs, establish Office Of The Public Defender, Restore a modern, Disciplined and Professionally Protected Civil Service.
Mr Nwankpo also promises to hold local government elections and start financial independence for the state assembly and judiciary. He pledged special provision for the challenged and the vulnerable.
To help improve the economy, the ADC flagbearer plans to establish the Anambra State Economic Education and Awareness programme and establish the Ministry of Industrial Development. He also plans to establish the Anambra Initiative for Improving the Living Standards of the State, to create a Trade and Market Development bureau, to create Anambra Skilled Labour Development and Exportation programme and also to bring back family-owned businesses.
This candidate had no clear promises in the area of climate change, gender inclusivity and governance.
- Andy Uba – All Progressives Congress
Andy Uba was elected senator for the Anambra South Senatorial District in April 2011. Born on December 14, 1958, he is from Uga in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.Top on his list of promises in the 28-page manifesto is security. He plans to initiate an All-Hands-On-Deck (AHOD) Programme which would be a collaborative programme between the Anambra State Government, local communities and members of the Anambra Vigilante Services. This, he hopes, would create a close-knit information and intelligence gathering network between the relevant stakeholders.
He also plans to create inter-community conflict resolution centres for quick mediation of disputes before it escalates to communal violence. In addition, an emergency call centre in the state would be connected to a quick response police unit for quick reactions to crime and public disorder.
He plans to reform the criminal justice system in the state to ensure effective policing, while protecting the human rights of Anambra citizens and the dignity of its people, culture, and the timely prosecution of offenders. Mr Uba says the school curriculum would teach entrepreneurial skills relevant to today’s industry.
Further, he promises to revamp existing vocational centres and equip them to provide relevant skills, give tax incentives and rebates to companies willing to employ more workforce, provide a conducive and business-friendly environment to attract companies into Anambra.
He promises to eradicate the growing problems of the state by focusing on pre-erosion management and after erosion management. Pre-erosion management includes trees and covers crop planting, terracing etc and to map all erosion-prone areas and begin initiatives to stop erosion from occurring in that area. He also plans to commercialise solid waste collection, disposal and also create awareness on the 3R of waste management- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The candidate states that his administration will work closely with the State House of Assembly to pass legislation that will give women greater representation in elective and appointive positions. He plans to improve on female literacy by creating an adult programme for women and other female empowerment initiatives aimed at providing literacy for women in order to improve on their poverty rates.
Mr Uba says his government will embrace three basic principles which are inclusiveness, fairness towards all-males and females irrespective of religion and culture and justice for all. The intention of his administration is to create massive jobs across Anambra State and tackle inequality. He also believes that the causes of the security situation presently in the country and the rising agitations are due to the limited economic opportunities. So, his government will be all about the people, and his priority to provide massive jobs in the state by funding and supporting PPP (private public partnership) projects in the area of infrastructure and investment in ICT, agriculture and mining industries for the people and trigger the economic resurgence of Anambra State.
- All Progressive Grand Alliance – Chukwuma Soludo
Born on July 28, 1960, Charles Chukwuma Soludo is a professor of economics and former governor and chairman of the board of directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He is also a member of the British Department for International Development’s International Advisory Group. He hails from Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Mr Soludo’s plan in his 72-page manifesto is to change, develop, boost and transform Anambra State from a dominantly informal commercial state to a formal, productive, and competitive economy. This would be underpinned by rapid industrialisation, agriculture, commerce, entertainment/leisure and the creative industry, technology and innovation, solid minerals, and oil and gas.
He plans to work with the Federal Government on state security and provision of adequate logistics and material support to security agencies in the state, support law enforcement agencies in the state with infrastructure, surveillance, and communications tools to enhance their capacity to safeguard lives and property.
He pledges to reinforce the capability of the existing security system through employment and equipment of more personnel, training and retraining of vigilante officers to improve their effectiveness, partner with security agencies towards the eradication of violence, crimes, drug usage, fraud, and all deviant behaviours.
The candidate states that he will ensure more active participation of women at all levels of decision-making and governance at the community, local government, and state government levels. He hopes to strengthen MSME funding programmes through the Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) aimed at providing funding and capacity building assistance for vulnerable groups and women. Mr Soludo promises to create specific programmes to empower women-owned businesses and enterprises and also seek partnerships and funding from direct investments to support these businesses.
He also states that his administration will make deliberate efforts in all government programmes to ensure gender balance and also to sustain and improve upon the 30 per cent minimum representation to a gender-balanced representation across all programmes and projects implemented by his administration.
He has two plans to run equal governance in the state. These are: To reform processes, improve skills, reorientation, motivate and leverage technology to optimize the efficiency of service delivery; eliminate waste, capture and corruption. His target is to transit from manual operations to complete E-government in the medium term.
He plans to deploy a digitally enabled land administration process with a view to achieving land transfer of title within 72 hours; complete and operationalise the state’s integrated financial management system; review, amend, and operationalise the fiscal responsibility law for greater transparency and sustainability of the state’s finance; as well as continue and strengthen accountability initiatives such as publishing state accounts regularly.
He says his government will empower the community governments to deliver services to the people, including through matching grants schemes; and review and reform the framework for a succession plan for community leaderships such as Igwes, Presidents- General of town unions etc, to ensure sustainability and continuity in a seamless manner. However, he will make the flooding and erosion issue in the state a priority.
He says his administration will open and clear drainages and flood channels regularly to eliminate the annual flooding of roads, streets, communities and also to ensure zero tolerance for waste on the street, with the government reviewing and strengthening existing legal and regulatory frameworks and collaborating with capable private operators, local governments, and communities for the efficient and timely disposal of waste across the entire state.
7- Obiora Dikeora – Zenith Labour Party
He is a native of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government area of Anambra State. Obiora Okonkwo holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science from the Russian Academy of Science, Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Moscow; a Professional Fellowship Doctorate, from the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria; and Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and Mediators of Nigeria. He earned a Master of Science Degree in Economics, also from the Russian Peoples Friendship University, Moscow, and a First Class in Economics from the Russian Peoples Friendship University, also, in Moscow. Mr Okonkwo was born in Gombe, north-eastern Nigeria on December 5, 1965.
In the 21-page manifesto, Mr Okonkwo plans economic development for wealth creation and poverty eradication in the state which shall be pursued through sectors like agriculture, industry, arts, culture and tourism.
He says the state’s agriculture and manufacturing will be linked such that the output of one feeds the other seamlessly, with production and processing co-located. He says the arable lands in the three senatorial zones shall be mopped by the most promising crop or crops;
with a corresponding value-addition process located near the production centers. Further, he would broker transfer of knowledge from scientists and universities to the farms, use science to increase total factor productivity (closing the yield gap, promoting land use intensification, promote efficient fertilizer and farm equipment use), and support post-harvest technology and infrastructure. He plans to recreate and strengthen agricultural extension officers, create a state agriculture marketing board that shall be managed by the private sector under a Public Private Partnership arrangement. This is to ensure price stability, quality control, provision of post-harvest infrastructure and knowledge transfer to farmers, he said.
He will encourage Anambra Citizens to engage in commercial farming. Work with the international banks such as the World Bank, AFREXIM Bank, the African Development Bank, foreign embassies and the River Basin Authorities Research Institutes to provide critical funding, technical assistance, including knowledge and materials for Anambra State’s agricultural revolution. He also plans to partner with institutions and individuals in the establishment of the Songhai-model integrated (no waste) farm in each senatorial zone.
He plans to establish at least three world class Technology/Industrial Parks in the state with all the appropriate infrastructure (with possibility of using PPP) – the parks will target both domestic and foreign investors. Use of smart subsidies -insurance, guarantees, political cover, favourable tax policies, general improvement in the ease of doing business.
Support Independent Power Projects (IPPs) that may be embedded in the industrial parks and those that would be for general purpose.
He plans to promote and give visibility to the International Conference Center and attract a 5-Star hotel under a Public-Private-Partnership/International Bank Financing arrangement for rebranding the Conference Center. Revitalize and recreate old and new tourist sites. Work with the civil society to create a heroes park with a library and partner with town unions to create community/recreational centers.
Mr Okonkwo plans to boost the morale, productivity and ethics of the police and other security agencies posted to Anambra State, subsidize the educational cost for children of men and women of the police force in service within the state and rebuild police barracks. He pledges to create a strong interface between community vigilantes and the police, recreate the community vigilantes as a strong, well-funded Neighborhood Security Corps in the absence of state police, improve on the deployment of streetlights, support the creation of a citizen-focused anti-robbery and anti-kidnapping squad, sustain and improve the Security Trust Fund to be independently managed. He plans to create police appreciation day/awards to deserving policemen and officers with citizens and traditional rulers’ involvement. He also plans to encourage vigilance and the use of emergency response system that is linked to the telecom providers, deploy CCTV and other unmanned security vehicles (UAVs) in strategic public places, broker strong Diaspora involvement in security matters including funding. Support for improved intelligence gathering by providing modern security technology and using retired security personnel embedded in communities.
He will promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation among communities on an on-going basis using conflict resolution strategies that would involve the government, traditional rulers, the church, the academia, the security agencies and other institutions.
He also plans to collaborate with other South-east states in the creation of an effective regional security network.