How candidates performed at Anambra governorship election debate

Anambra governorship election debate
Anambra governorship election during debate [Photo: CHANNELS TV]

Godfatherism, Biafra agitation, inter-party disagreements were some of the highlights of the 2017 Anambra State gubernatorial debate held in Awka, the state capital, on Sunday as five candidates vying to become the next governor put across their plans to the public.

Economy, education, infrastructure, power generation, industrial development, security, unemployment and alternative ways of generating revenues for the state dominated discussions.

Though members of the audience were thrilled as candidates took subtle shots at each other at the slightest opportunity in a bid to sound convincing, their overall performance did not match previous debates.

All the candidates were not very specific in detailing their plans for the state.

The debate was organised by Channels Television and kicked off at about 7 p.m. Although 37 political parties and candidates will participate in the November 18 election, only the candidates of the five major parties took part in the debate.

The participating candidates were: Willie Obiano of the ruling All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA; Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, APC; Oseloka Obaze of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP; Osita Chidoka of United Progressive Party, UPP; and Godwin Ezeemo of the People’s Progressive Alliance, PPA.

Shots Fired!

The incumbent governor, Mr. Obiano, was the first to throw shots at every other candidate.

“What Anambra need is someone that can drive the process. I’m the only guy here that can do that. Tony(APC) doesn’t have the executive capacity; he hasn’t even worked in his entire life. Obaze(PDP) worked in the UN, but the best place for him to work right now is in Syria. He should be distributing relief materials. My other fellow with executive capacity is Chidoka (UPP), but the only experience he has is in checking number plates and controlling traffics (referring to when Mr. Chidoka was road safety boss),” Mr. Obiano said.

Mr. Obiano said contrary to claims that his predecessor left N75 billion in government coffers before he left, what he met on ground was N35.5 billion.

“I hate to think that we came here to ridicule people, this is serious business. Under Obiano this state has been broken and we need to fix it. Let’s get serious, the challenge is that this incumbent governor has in the last four years spent almost N600 billion without any commiserate work on ground to show,” Mr. Obaze said in response to Mr. Obiano.

He was, however, quick to dismiss the speculation that former governor Peter Obi was his political godfather.

Mr. Obaze said he left APGA for PDP and also came out of retirement from partisan politics because he felt the state has been hijacked.

“I have to speak up, I have to come back to fix things,” he said.

“The first shock I have is that the governor thinks saving for future generation is a waste of time and I think that is scandalous. That is disastrous. What is lacking is focusing on the people, the human beings,” Mr. Chidoka, a former aviation minister, said referring to Mr. Obiano’s earlier statement on state reserves.

Below is our analysis of what the candidates presented as their plans for the state and our assessment of how well they performed. Candidates are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 on how articulate their plans were. The scores only represent our review of how the candidates performed at the debate and not how they would perform as governors.

1) Tony Nwoye (APC): Adorned in a black suit, Mr. Nwoye appeared calm and diplomatic contrary to his antecedents as a radical activist. He hinged his plan for the state on power, road and security. He said the major challenge bedevilling the state is lack of electricity and portable roads which he described as the drive for foreign investors.

“If we can have steady power supply and good roads, our industries will grow, we are going to manufacture more. Most of the power lines in Anambra are 33KVA instead of 330KVA. I will do more on power if am elected governor, I willalso work on many roads and I will make security a topmost priority because all this will create an enabling environment for foreign investment,” he said.

On education, Mr. Nwoye said he will ensure easy access to primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational studies within the state. He said he will transform the health sector by upgrading community based health centres.

Mr. Nwoye said his government if elected will create employment for the youth especially IPOB members agitating for Biafra. He, however, failed to throw more weight on agriculture, trade and commerce which are some of the strengths of the state.

Score: 5/10.

2) Godwin Ezeemo (PPA): Unlike the raucous response some of the other contestants elicited from the audience, Mr. Ezeemo was more relaxed in martialing his points. He started by saying that Anambra is a trade driven economy that can be boosted by creating an enabling environment for foreign investment. He spoke on power generation stressing the need for a sanitized power distribution system. He gave insights on his exploits in empowering students in the education sector.

Mr. Ezeemo said his government when elected will be anchored on locally made products. “We do not need to import things we need to generate what we need immediately. We have good soils for agriculture. We need to invest in agriculture, generate raw materials and food. All this will create more employment opportunities, more finance and revenue will be accumulated. He, however, failed to lend voice to critical issues like security, health among others.

Score: 5/10.

3) Osita Chidoka (UPP): By far Mr. Chidoka was one of the stars of the debate. He literally took other contestants to the cleaners with masterful delivery and oratory dexterity. He used data and statistics to buttress his points, although like another contestant observed, he did not provide sources for most of his debatable statistics. Mr. Chidoka, however, leaned more on self-determination and the need for the renegotiation of the Nigerian state. “Any party that do not subscribe to the right to self-determination and the rights of component parts of Nigeria to express themselves freely, that party does not approximate my philosophy. I believe that Nigeria is a product of negotiation, we must negotiate, we negotiated and got independence we negotiated and created the mid-western states. Nigeria is a subject of continuous negotiation.”

On education, Mr. Chidoka promised to provide and make the use of mandatory technology among students. “Only 13 per cent of our students in JSS are computer literate. The education our children are getting is the education of yesterday, I will take them get the education of tomorrow.”

Mr. Chidoka emphasised that human capacity development would be the major focus of his administration if elected. He said he will run a digital government that will be practically based on the people where jobs will be created for the unemployed, roads and infrastructure will be built and protection of the lives and properties of the people will be topmost priority. Mr. Chidoka said with technology, his government will drive a robust foreign and local investment campaign in Anambra. He said he will also stand as a bridge between the angry IPOB youth and the Nigerian state. He said IPOB’s problem is not just employment but getting a better deal from the government.

Though he failed to mention key areas like power and health, he was smart enough to place his policies side by side the incumbent’s and allowed listeners to quickly appraise the better.

Score: 7/10.

4) Willie Obiano (APGA): As the incumbent governor, Mr. Obiano put out quite an impressive show. Instead of being on the defensive as widely expected, he was rather on the offensive as he seized every little opportunity to taunt his opponents verbally, accusing them of lacking information and being unprepared. He hugely relied on his achievements over the past three and a half years.

He said his government is up to date in payment of salary, pension and gratuity. He said he met 101 projects when he took over and he has completed 51 of them. He also said he awarded 94 projects which included 12 bridges.

“Under my watch we are now self-sufficient in trade and agriculture. We now export rice, vegetables and yam,” he said.

He said the former governor made N40 billion internally generated revenue in 8 years while his government has generated N551 billion; although in reality his government has only generated about N50 billion.

On infrastructure, he said two buildings will be built in every community in the state after the completion of his eight years in office.

“Every community got N40 million already in my first tenure, each community will get N200 million in my next four years in office.”

On IPOB, he said he will create more jobs to keep the youth busy and end the agitation. He however did not give his take on security, health, power among other issues.

Score: 6/10.

5) Oseloka Obaze (PDP): Mr. Obaze articulated his views well but spent most of his allotted time either attacking or responding to the incumbent. He has a personal history with APGA. He was the secretary to the state government, SSG, under former governor Peter Obi who led the state under APGA before he defected to PDP. Mr. Obaze also served as SSG under Mr. Obiano for over a year.

He seemed to have allowed personal differences to affect his delivery. His key words was that the state has been hijacked under the current governor and needs to be fixed. He was, however, critical of the Nigerian government for proscribing IPOB on one hand while Niger Delta militants and Fulani herdsmen are left out. He said if elected, his government will create more jobs especially for the IPOB youth.

Score: 6/10.


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  • Igiligii Awka

    Mr Obaze’s delivery was impeccably by any standards as he mostly spoke from the position of an insider. In as much as Mr Chidoka expounded lofty ideals, I still prefer the PDP candidate’s pragmatic approach to fixing Anambra state..
    As for the incumbent, well, the less said the better, as he apparently displayed a complete ignorance of the workings of the state, despite having spent four years at the helm..

    • Kallah Bature

      Nobody expects a different assessment from PT. It doesn’t make a good business sense to have it otherwise. Customer is always right.

      • share Idea

        Thanks for stating the obvious. We know who the paymasters of PT are?

  • Wise Head

    Very poor analysis. My score for it is a D-

  • Dede Onyeze

    Rubbish!!! I don’t believe in this unfair analysis. Obaze clearly won. Premium times is begining to behave like sahara reporters.

  • chinedu

    I watched this debate from about 8pm. I saw a Nwoye that was jittery and not composed. He argued about relying on his contacts in Abuja to get things done. He reiterated the issues of power and roads like an unsure primary school child. To me he scored 25%. Mr Obiano looked like a person that was lost in the middle. He talked about his achievements in agriculture and salaries which can not be controverted. But when asked about the source of the funds for the salaries,it happened to be from the savings of the previous administration that he criticised. He also arrogantly said that when the federal government pays him for the roads done,he can decide on how to invest it. That means there is no current plan of how and where to invest the expected refund. His answer that the airport project is being financed by a conglomerate is good. The jab at others for not having executive experience was fatal to his standing as Obaze revealed that he possessed more of that. Score 45%. Obaze seems to have the vision that can drive the state better as he showed a good understanding of the original APGA vision that brought Obi in. But he needs to work on his temperament and possibly learn a little more of Nigeria politics. Score 55%. Chidoka was no doubt brilliant in the debate. Obviously more modern in the approach and showed very good understanding of the aviation sector. Score 54%. Ezeemo possibly made the debate due to philanthropy and contesting experience. He was not really answering the questions right.Score 30%. By my observation Mr Obaze seems to have what Anambra people need at this time. But my sentiment is with the party APGA.

  • Ajayi balogun

    Chidoka won it,with fresh ideas

    • Ifeanyi Adico

      Receive sence

  • Jideofor Bismillah Akbar

    Osita Chidoka I have said this and many people are saying it that voting Chidoka means Nigeria is on part for a racist crisis like Germany as Chidoka is a student of IPOB’s plan to enthrone an Igbo master race of Negro people. Chidoka is a student of the IPOB dossier about the Igbo master race. Infact Chidoka has being indoctrinated and even ready to implement Igbo satanic agenda of a people who descended from fallen angels and have no history except that some white skin pale creatures mixed up with their native people at arochukwu, Umuleri and Agukwu Nri. Notice the presence of a nephilim gaint in their culture ( the long juju of arochukwu). Igbos are a satanic blood line of fallen angels and Osita Chidoka won’t just win Anambra guber but he will also cross over to either PDP or APC and become president. Just warn everyone you know that Chidoka represents the IPOB satanic racist agenda of an Igbo master race. Please warn everyone when you read this message so that Chidoka can be stopped.

    • I can’t believe you wasted human effort typing this piece of shit.. Damn you should be sued for wasting such effort in this gibberish you just dropped up there..

    • Anonymous

      Okoh, which one are u? From u name u are both Ibo and nausa/fulani and moslem, u have lost ur identity, u are one or those poeple who will sell their ethnicity, ethnic group and religion for personal gain. A man with crisi of identity is not an intelligent man.

  • Man_Enough

    Chidoka sank his teeth deep into the tribal and separatist advocacy hoping to take advantage of the perceived popularity of IPOB. That is a bit sneaky to me. Modern leaders must aim to unite and build bridges across heterogeneous divides. All governors are potential presidents.

    • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

      ……HMMMN, The president Buhari has been the most divisive and dangerously sectional president in Nigeria’s history. Maybe you should advise him first .

    • SamPsalm

      If he had been astute enough to find a way to show solidarity to the essence of the IPOB struggles (not its methods) and yet uphold the right of the Federation to ensure security within its boundaries, he would have easily had a field day mainstreaming himself – and with that invoking interests from more voters who have no illusion as to the romanticists’ version of the IPOB struggle. But he couldn’t.

      So, all he ended up doing was to show himself as brilliant but problematic. If not toxic. The PDP man at least tried to place the blame at the foot of the Governor as having mismanaged the whole situation right from within his party. He made IPOB no more than an aggrieved element of former APGA members led by their UK Chair who felt aggrieved at how the Governor has run the party out of its philosophical and regional objectives which was to advance the Igbo-connected bouquet of issues to national prominence. That clearly was a better way to tweak and needle it.

  • Chinwuba Chukwuemeka

    I really think that washing our dirty clothes outside won’t do us well. Speaking and marshalling points are good, but much better to see things start happening. Anambra, our dear State is lagging behind, and it all boils down to our leaders and financial Managers of the State economic resources. Being honest to your manifestoes may safe us from our lost.
    All the candidates are good, but all cannot rule at the same time. We need the best among the equals. May God help us not to make sentiment mistakes in our election come Saturday, the 18th day of November, 2017. anambra State must grow. Long live Anambra State.

  • Anonymous

    To be candid, by my own assesment, Obaze carried the day, Willie tried given that as incumbent he was facing others but he could not realy defend and gvoe account of the 600B that they claimed came to Anambras cofferes, Obaze has been former SSG, he has seen money, he has worked abroad, he soundness, education, high level of literacey is co finfirmed, Osita Chidoka too tried but I lile Obazes calmness, umfortnately elecrion in Nigeria is not about the beat candidate cus Buhari is the mkst unqualified and incompetent president Nigeria has ever had, BUHARI WOULD NEVER PASS THE TEST AND INTERVIEW FOR A SUPERVISOR OR MANAGERIAL POSITION, JE CANNOT MANAGE 100 COWS BUT WE WANT HIM TO MANAGE AN ENTIRE NATION ANDMWE ARE SEEING THE WOEFUL RESULTS, THEY HAVE SEEN HIM FINISH IN AOS ROCK AND PLAY HIM LIKE A MORON, HE DOESNT EVEN KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, HE CANT UNDERSTAND WHAT HE SIGNS, A MAN CANNOT GIVE WHAT HE DOES NOT HAVE. DO U SEE AMBODE NEEIDNG SO MANY PEOPLE TO KEP DEFENDING HIM? NO, HE IS S MAN, BUHARI IS A WHIMP AND A COWARD, HE CAN NEVER CME OUR TO DEBATE LIKE AL THIS GENTLEMEN, NEVER, HE DOES NOT HAVE THE LITERWCY, INTELIGENCE OR ARTICULATE ENOUGH TO DEBATE AND YET HE IS THE BEST THIS COUNTRY HAS TO OFFER AS PRESIENT? ARE U KIDDING KE?

  • Chike

    The question we should ask ourselves and which was not asked either by the facilitator: what did the contestants do in driving their ideas in strengthening Anambra State in collaboration with the present government and or even as an opposition? They did not share their hoarded ideas (their manifesto?) but lots of sweeping generalisations were offered for future intentions but then talk is cheap as much as the graveyard is full of good intentions. They were busy preparing their bullets for this debate and did nothing in contributing “bullets” to the growth of the state. But at least, thankfully too, there was general acceptance that the local economy, security, salary payments can not be fully faulted.
    For Chidoka, yes, he was Corps Marshal, but what was his achievement? The Corp remained its insubstantial body, it was, corrupt and unfocused under his watch and actually gave the impression of a duplicate Nigerian Police in all its mess. What can we expect then?
    I always believe that non-salary payment is the worst criminal endeavour of Nigerian governors and this I trully believe will become the norm should the present crop I sighted debating is ushered into office, Excuses, the eternal justifications for non-performance will be pushed to Anambra people and then, had I known, will become the wistful parlance of which by then, it will be too late.
    At this stage, sustaining continuity will be most wise and Willie should equally note the ideas (good ones) that are implementable or worthy of consideration. That is how polity grows.

  • Golda

    What’s going on in Nigerian journalism? The word is commensurate not commiserate (para. 10). Lack of development in the education sector is catching up with us.