Ahead of the November 18 Anambra governorship election, five of the leading candidates were Sunday engaged in an intense and substantive televised debate.
The contenders were candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and incumbent governor, Willie Obiano; Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Tony Nwoye; candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oseloka Obaze; candidate of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Godwin Ezimo, and the United Progressives Party (UPP) candidate, Osita Chidoka.
A few highlights from the debate are as follows:
During opening statements at the debate, the UPP candidate, Chidoka described his planned approach to governance, thus, “I will apply the principle of ‘úche’.
He added, “We need to change the bearing, the infrastructure of our state.
“Anambra state ranks 37 out of 37 in terms of corruption. So, we will apply vision, execution and sustainability. We will apply the concepts of Uche (Consciousness).”
APC’s Nwoye said “one of the greatest zeal why I want to contest Anambra election is to block leakages in government.”
On his part, APGA’s Obiano said, “I am here to ask for my reelection to enable me complete my project. The greatest thing I have brought to Anambra is security.”
Obaze of the PDP said, “I believe this state is no longer working. I we need to take our children back to the school through free education. We need good governance. We will do local government election withing six months.”
PPA’s candidate, Ezimo touted his business credentials. He said, “I am a business man. I have decided to come down, sacrificing my comfort zone to work for Anambra. We will ensure that police and civilians work together to ensure better security. I will work for skill-bades education because am an industrialist.”
Asked if there was an agreement between him and Peter Obi who is a former governor of the state, Obiano said, “Yes, there was an agreement between I and Peter Obi but I declined the agreement.”
Obaze, giving reasons why he left the PDP, said “Anambra state had been hijacked by godfathers.”
Speaking on his motivation to contest, Ezimo said, “It is a matter of necessity that i have joined the race. I am here purely to offer myself, not to beg money, but purely to serve the people of Anambra state.
“What makes me to leave the United Kingdom, a place flowing with milk and honey, is to come and help the people of Anambra state.”
According to Chidoka, “The UPP approximates my thoughts and believes at this time. Nigerian state is a product of negotiation. I believe that when Nigerian components freely subscribes with negotiation, then we will have a better country. My desire to become governor is to make education of our children supreme.
Speaking on his controversial driving of the missing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) from prison upon meeting his bail conditions and his apparent sustained support for the group’s agenda, Chidoka said, “I did not support Nnamdi Kanu’s release to gain political support but to ensure that the constitution and the law takes its cause.
“Groups have the right to express grievances but if done against the law, then the law should take its course.”
Nwoye pledged his commitment to improving infrastructure in the state, saying, “ I will pay adequate attention to power when elected. I will bring good roads and portable water”.
Meanwhile, the debate was followed with enthusiasm online, as many welcomed the participation of the top contenders and the fact that it was largely substantive.
Former education minister who is also an indigene of Anambra State, Oby Ezekwesili, appeared highly impressed. She said via her twitter handle, thus: “Folks, join me in giving all kinds of Kudos to all our five candidates vying to govern our State, Anambra for the intense #AnambraDebates we have just watched!
“Citizens should NEVER AGAIN allow candidates aspiring to LEAD us to DODGE #Debates any more. The kind of #AnambraDebates we are watching is what forces politicians to run #IssueBasedCampaigns in any Democracy”.