Posted by Emeka Ozumba | 25 December 2013 | 4,452 times
‘The Biggest Loser’ is an American television show that debuted on NBC on October 19, 2004. The show features obese people competing to win a cash prize by losing the highest percentage of weight relative to their initial weight. But unlike the scenario in this American sitcom, the biggest loser in the recently concluded Anambra gubernatorial election, Senator Chris Ngige, did not compete relative to his real weight but on an assumed strength derived from a false sense of popular appeal among the Anambra electorate which not only confused and misled many people outside the state but also confounded his sponsors and coterie of ‘town criers’ unleashed by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Obviously, the reputation of Anambra State as a political hot bed with tested gladiators and a retinue of money men who spare no effort to get and hold power or determine how the power is wielded fuelled the hype and hoopla that characterised the campaign rallies preceding the November 16, 2013 governorship election. Whereas this may be true of the state seven years ago, facts on ground and the overwhelming acceptance of the urbane leadership style and development strides of Governor Peter Obi across the state bears testimony to the incontrovertible outcome of the polls which saw the erudite Chief Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), who ran on the theme of “continuity” with futuristic plans for the growth of Anambra State, trounce all other contenders.
Thus, with 180,178 votes and 25% in 19 of the 21 Local Governments of Anambra, Chief Obiano is now Governor-elect while the much vaunted competition expected from Senator Ngige was non-existent since he came a distant third with 95,963 votes, winning just two local governments out of 21 with 25 percent in seven LGAs out of the requisite 14. Ngige’s lacklustre performance therefore exposed the ruse that is the over estimation of his popularity and chances in the election by some sections of the media which had tagged it a straight contest between Chief Obiano of APGA, and Senator Ngige of APC.
Chris Ngige is the biggest loser because he has come to the nadir of his political adventurism in Anambra. It is on record that he was rigged into office in 2003 following a violent tango with his godfathers that brought the state to its knees, and was subsequently booted out by the courts after three years. He left a legacy of 187 kilometres of roads built mostly in the Idemmili area of the state, but assumed a messianic toga with “I am the only one” air. He has tried to come back as governor three times and thrice he lost; twice to Peter Obi and now to Willie Obiano, whose credentials resonated with the electorate across Anambra. Even the Anambra Central Senatorial election contest of 2011 was a close shave for him; many swore that it was the Idemmili North Election Day abracadabra that forced a rerun which eventually gave him victory with just 600 votes against Prof. Dora Akunyili. Instructively, when the case went to the Election Tribunal Ngige, knowing deep down in him that he did not win and could be sacked by the tribunal, employed delay tactics to ensure that the case was thrown out, haven not been concluded within the 180 days stipulated in the Electoral Act.
Ngige is the biggest loser because he could not re-enact the usual Election Day abracadabra in his Idemmili stronghold to boost his chances of total votes cast. Even the famous Idemmili North LGA large voter population is reported to be a product of a 2004 voter registration exercise which had never lived up to the numbers in terms of actual voter turn-out at elections. Often, cases of missing result sheets and padding of figures are reported in the area during elections. But this time around, the lessons from previous elections must have informed the vigilance which prevented the usual manipulation in the area. No wonder Ngige and APC have resorted to ludicrous charges and unfounded allegations of collusion against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chris Ngige is the biggest loser because the recent election has afforded Ndi Anambra the opportunity to psychoanalyse the man Ngige and interrogate his usual outlandish claims as the only saviour Anambra needs. For once the people saw that his road construction mantra cannot suffice where Mr. Peter Obi is hitting 1,000 kilometres of roads with shoulder-to-shoulder drainage without neglecting other sectors. Even a searchlight on Ngige’s senatorial scorecard revealed a below average performance to the dismay of many who thought that he should have put his boisterous presence to good use where it mattered rather than his penchant for dismissing the giant strides recorded in Anambra State since his unfortunate sojourn as governor.
Ngige is the biggest loser for not recognising the signs on ground in Anambra and for allowing himself to be so openly disrobed by the electorate. Now that the myth is broken, he is clutching at straws, playing the blame game just to save face instead of accepting the obvious – that Anambra has changed for good, and that many times over, he cannot win any state-wide election. Chris Ngige is the biggest loser because the vociferous Lagos media cannot save him. They cannot change the course of history nor alter the wish of Ndi Anambra.
The fact that Ngige, Tony Nwoye of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Ifeanyi Uba of Labour Party banded together to throw tantrums and refuse to accept the referendum on their popularity amongst Ndi Anambra cannot change the course of history, nor would the feeble attempt at approaching the Tribunal unearth anything but their complicity in trying to subvert the wishes of the electorate. As the saying goes amongst the Igbos, the lion has broken through, what you see is the leaf shaking in its wake. Ndi Anambra have spoken!
All told, Anambra’s trend of low voter turnout did not start today. Records show that the 2007 governorship election produced just over 300,000 voters from the 2.2 million registered. Therefore, the recent election is actually an improvement with over 400,000 recorded turnout of the 1.8 million registered. The blame for poor voter education should be borne by all the players not just INEC which conducted the best ever election in Anambra State devoid of any form of violence, no matter how loud Ngige and APC shout. Ngige is not just the biggest loser; he is the worst loser because he stands on the verge of losing the Senate seat he presently occupies.
•Ozumba, a Public Relations Consultant, writes from Abuja. Photo shows Senator Chris Ngige, described by Ozumba as the biggest loser in the November 16 Anambra guber election.
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