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Ifeanyi Uba beats Willie Obiano in First Debate before Anambra State Indigenes in United States

By Bonaventure Ezekwena (Elombah) on October, 14 2013

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Africans In America News Watch, New York---Out of about 23 candidates contesting for gubernatorial election schedule for November 16, 2013, only 2 (Ifeanyi Uba and Chief Willie Obiano) appeared before annual convention

of Anambra State Association in United States of America (ASA-USA) taking place in Tampa, Florida from October 10, 2013 to October 12, 2013.

The 2 contesting candidates actually appeared before the gathering on a platform arranged for governorship candidates; they addressed the gathering on their visions, as well as answer questions presented to them.

It was really intended to be an opportunity for the candidates to showcase their plans for state, if elected into office.

Though attendance of Anambra indigenes in United States was rather poor, main reason being as a result of leadership crisis rocking the national association; some group opposed to the current leadership of the association organized and boycotted the annual convention. Out of over 50 branches in 50 states in United States, only about 5 to 9 branches sent representatives to the convention.

However, Anambra State government sent a large contingent to the convention apparently to witness an award the association gave to Anambra State Governor Peter Obi during the convention.

In attendance were the governor, some of his commissioners and senior aides, the national chairman of his political party, leaders and members of Anambra State house of assembly, about 2 traditional rulers, (Mba-Ukwu and Nteje), few presidents of town unions, leaders of town union associations, leadership of pan-cultural group called Ohaneze Nd’Igbo, leadership of Awka chamber s of commerce, etc.

Also in attendance was Africans In America, Inc., an organization raising awareness on issues affecting African immigrants in United States. The organization was there to present its study and findings on the cause/s of general malaise in Anambra State, Nigeria.

Based on information that candidates contesting fast approaching Anambra State gubernatorial election will attend the convention, the leading advocacy organization attended the gathering to present its detail study and findings titled “Who Slaughtered ‘Anambra Democracy’?”

This study (Who Slaughtered ‘Anambra Democracy’?) shows that Anambra State is in state of general comatose: political, social, economic, safety and security, law and order comatose for 2 main reasons, namely:

1.    Because of horrors that took place at Okija shrines over the years especially the involvement of some segment of Anambra political class in those horrors; and
2.    Because those horrors were believed to be covered-up therefore sending unmistakable subliminal messages that frauds and crimes are the way in Anambra State and Nigeria in general.

And contrary to many beliefs, those horrors apparently did not start with 2003 elections in the state. It apparently started way prior to that period, however, political godfathers, candidates for political appointments, government officials and politicians got deeply involved starting in about 1999.

This study also shows that the state of general malaise in Anambra State today is traced to horrors Anambra political class committed in those shrines; horrors that were believed to be covered-up. Covering up those horrific crimes invites all sorts of criminality in the polity. This study also shows what could happen to a society when leaders and governments are polluted and compromised by those kinds of horrors.

This study also shows that for Anambra State to move forward, Anambra State government, the people of Anambra State, the stakeholders, the owners of Anambra State and all interested in development and progress of the state have to see the greater harm done to the state by cover-up of the horror finds at Okija, Anambra State in August 2004, as well as commit to appropriately resolving it.

“Who Slaughtered ‘Anambra Democracy’?” is a well researched paper and a MUST READ for everyone to interested in learning the bitter truth on how a group of people set out to corner the treasury of the small Nigerian state and bring total ruin and destruction to the state and its people.

On October 12, 2013, afternoon time, Anambra State Governor Peter Obi addressed the gathering on the achievements of his eight years in office. Towards the end of his speech, he devoted quite amount of time to emphasis the importance of having a formal academically educated person as Anambra State governor, a clear euphemism to Mr. Ifeanyi Uba who is perceived as not highly formally academically educated.

Immediately after his speech, Chief Willie Obiano, the gubernatorial candidate for All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Ifeanyi Uba (aka, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Uba), the gubernatorial candidate for Labour Party squared-up in a very hot debate.

With information about the 2 candidates in the public domain, it was supposed to be a no-contest between the super-banker and fiscal manager (Willie Obiano), and rag-tag wealthy businessman (Ifeanyi Uba).

Frankly, a lot of people prior to the debate did not give Ifeanyi Uba candidacy any form of chance.

The national chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Umeh, took his time to do a wonderful introduction of his candidate Chief Willie Obiano and his very impressive and intimidating financial and banking profile.

The national chairman of Labour Party, Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu also did a fairly good job introducing his candidate, Ifeanyi Uba, a businessman.

However, when the candidates were handed micro-phones to speak on issues facing Anambra State and its people and to respond to question on their plans and policies towards solving those problems, the debate turned out to be a fight between Goliath and David.

Though possessing less formal education, Ifeanyi Uba, whose parents were both school teachers showed extra-ordinary and above average command of knowledge of the issues, the commonsense approach on plans, solution and policies.

His presentation, his composure, eye contact, emotional demeanor, appropriately well-measured gestures, delivery of points after points, common-sense solutions one after another were very impressive.

He laid out his vision and plans for handling grave development issues facing the state: total transparency and accountability; reduction of crime, generation of power supply, clear plans to turn the state into industrial hub, massive industrialization (4 factories in each local government area) to create jobs and cut down crimes, creation of wealth; aggressive development of grassroots democracy through conduct of wards, council and local government elections; simplified credit loans for start-up, small businesses, and less fortunate; massive investment in education, health, facilities and infrastructures: roads, water, sanitation, etc. He also laid out his numerous charity efforts helping less privileged in the society through his foundation.

He also addressed mis-information and smear campaign against his education, businesses and partnership ventures with Nigerian federal government.

Mr. Uba came across as a no-hold-bare shrewd and bold debater.

Chief Willie Obiano the presumed front-runner in the election came across as stiff, programmed, unprepared and dis-oriented.

In a clever bid to help Willie Obiano during the debate, Governor Peter Obi who was sitting among the audience in the hall attempted to join the debate arguing that Mr. Uba made false accusation about his government which he wants a chance to correct. But Uba’s team strongly resisted governor’s attempt to join the debate. Tempers flared up, Governor Peter Obi attempted to stage a walk-out, but was persuaded to stay on.

Ifeanyi Uba was also very innovative and creative. He proposed and advocated that a governor should appoint competent hands as deputy governor to handle administrative matters; while in his case, as a governor, he will leave the deputy governor to handle administrative and ceremonial functions while he will concentrate on working to attract big industries and businesses which will create wealth and jobs to the state. He hit many key notes and got many loud ovations.

After the debate, we conducted quick poll of neutral spectators and overwhelming majority stated that Mr. Uba won the debate by wide margin. Some wondered whether Obiano was actually prepared for the debate.

Shocked by outcome of the debate, we spoke to few people in both Obiano and Uba teams and made some rather notable observations.

Obiano teams were generally not as communicative and responsive to after-debate interviews and interactions. Attempts to speak with Chief Obiano were not successful.

Uba teams were more communicative and welcoming. The team arranged for us to have a meeting with their candidate. Many people lined up to see him. By the time we got one-on-one to speak with Ifeanyi Uba, he was so exhausted and practically falling asleep on his chair; therefore, meaningful and productive meeting could not take place. Based on that, we unanimously agreed the interview should be rescheduled another time, either in United States or in Nigeria.

“With Uba’s charisma and motivation, with just a little fine-tuning, and if his team could adopt American style campaign approach by taking his message directly to the masses back home, he has absolute good chance at winning a free and fair election in Anambra State, Nigeria”, said Bonaventure Ezekwenna, the Executive Director of Africans In America, Inc. who led the organization team to Tampa, Florida.

 


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