Anambra 2021: The Choice PDP Should Make

By: Uchem Obi

It’s governorship election again in Anambra State and all major political parties, and even those that are not very major, are already positioning themselves to wrestle power from the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, hoping to end the party’s 16 year long dominance in the state. As Governor Willie Obiano serves out his last tenure, there is already a jostle by the different parties to produce his successor. This however is the last part. There is a more important first part, which will help determine the party that will produce the incumbent Governor’s successor, and that very important part is who emerges as flag bearer from the different parties.

This first part is technical and tactical and it is usually the point where most parties make the mistakes that doom their electoral chances. Flag bearers determine the seriousness or otherwise of parties in every election. With a good flagbearer, a party is as good as already halfway. A wrong or bad choice is a disaster which its time will come too soon. That is why all the parties in the jostle for Anambra Government House should diligently refuse to be manipulated or coerced into sacrificing excellence. The scramble for each party’s ticket is already on, with every aspirant claiming to possess the magic wand. Posters are already everywhere, voices are pitched, tours are running and good money is being spent or being wasted, depends on how you think. At the last count, over 12 men and women have been cleared to contest the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

In this number are the well known, the little known and the unknown. It is a mixed gathering of the serious, the comedians and the spoilers, whose nuisance value will be employed to “cannibalize” the votes of serious contenders. I think they call it strategy. However, it is hoped, that the PDP should for once, since after 1999, put its house in order, and refuse to be drawn to the same temptations, that had kept it out of government in the state since 2003.

Despite a bizarre penchant to recycle its mistakes, it is fervently hoped, the party may decide too soon now, to resist the temptations of favouritism, high sounding names, that signify nothing but unbridled arrogance and one way ticket to dismal defeat, godfathers syndrome and the other syndrome of “too much money” and strategically nominate a candidate, who is meek, gentle, experienced and committed to politics, not just as a career but as a profession. If the party has learnt from its past blunders, choosing its candidate for this year’s governorship election should be done without recourse to emotions, sentiments and parochial considerations. The party should not self destruct or plunder yet again, its gathering good fortunes in the state.

To win back the state, the PDP should deviate from its dangerous divide and rule practice. It should optimize political experience, loyalty, core commitment to pragmatic politics, not just as a career but as a profession. The party should choose a candidate who must stand out from the crowd, if it truly intends to win back the state. Its choice of candidate must be a puritan departure from what used to be, to what has not been but ought to have been.

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Going through the list of aspirants recently cleared by the party, I was particularly attracted to the aspiration of Senator Ugochukwu Uba. In a sincere puritan drive to depart from the fumblings of yester years, the Distinguished Senator should be the main show in the classical fusion of career and professional politics.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, First Class, in Political Science from Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science, with specialization in Public Administration and Comparative Government from the same institution, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), specializing in Public Administration and Local Government Administration from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Fully prepared to face the future, he ventured into Public Service as a Teaching Assistant in both Carleton University and Queen’s University in Canada. On his return to Nigeria, his acumen for Public Service ventilated in the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as Lecturer 11. He later became Lecturer 1 in the same Department and between 1988 – 1990, he rose to become Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Administration, in the same institution. From 2016 – 2021, he was Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Administration, University of Abuja.

As e professional politician, the Distinguished Senator’s experience is profound and worthy of note and was a precursor to an amazing and exquisite career in politics, which gradually saw him become a Resource Person for the Center for Democratic Studies, Abuja.

Steadily on the rise in his chosen career, he was in 1990 appointed Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of old Anambra State and in 1991, he was appointed Special Assistant to the Military Administrator of the newly created Anambra State.

After the creation of new Anambra State from the old Anambra State, he was appointed Secretary, Asset Sharing Committee, which peacefully shared assets between the newly created Anambra and Enugu States.

Sen. Ugochukwu Uba’s meteoric rise in his political career continued in 1992, when he was appointed Director – General, Department of Public Utilities, Governor’s office, Awka. In 1994, he was appointed Director – General, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Anambra State, which office he held till 1997.

In 1999, he was to become Honourable Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Culture in Anambra State and in 2000, he was appointed Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture and in in2003, he was elected to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

At the birth of the 4th Republic in 1999, Sen. Ugochukwu Uba’s role was pivotal in the smooth transition from military to Democratic government, as a member of the Sub – Committee on Governance, Government Institutions and the polity, Presidential Advisory Committee. In his home state of Anambra, he was simultaneously appointed member of the Anambra State Transition Implementation Committee and Chairman of the Sub – Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters.

Sen. Ugochukwu Uba’s acquisition of technical knowledge and versatile political experience was to blossom in the National Assembly, when he became Chairman of the first Senate Committee on Transport, and later, Marine Transport. He was also member of various Senate Committees including, Committee on Constitutional Review, Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and poverty alleviation, Committee on Internal Affairs, Committee on Navy and between 2007 – 2008, he was Chairman, Inter – Ministerial Committee and Stakeholders on the review of the implementation of the Cabotage Law.

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As a Senator of the Federal Republic, available records prove that he was a highly resourceful, farsighted and hard working team player. His sponsored Bills include; the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, which was passed and signed into Law in June 2004; the United Nations Convention of Carriage of Goods by Sea (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2005, passed and signed into Law in 2005; the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973/78 (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2006, passed and signed into Law in 2006; the International Convention on the Civil Liabilities for Oil Pollution Damage (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2006, passed and signed into Law in 2006; the International Convention on Establishment of an International Fund for the Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1979 as amended (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2006, passed and signed into Law in 2006; Council for Registered Freight Forwarders In Nigeria Act 2007, passed and signed into Law in 2007; Bill for Act to Establish the National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, passed and signed into Law in 2007; Merchant Shipping Bill 2006, passed and signed into Law in 2007; Ports and Harbours Bill 2006, 1st Reading.

The Senator successfully got approval for the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund CVFF Guidelines, pursuant to S.44 of the Cabotage Act.

Between 2004 – 2007, the Distinguished Senator as either Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport or as member of other Senate Committees, led or was part of various International Working Tours on critical visits to various foreign facilities in the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Brazil, India, etc.

The Distinguished Senator’s passion for service and leadership has an amazing history of meticulous preparation and development. As a foreign student in Canada, he was President, Nigeria Students Union, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. On return to Nigeria, he was to become the National Secretary, Nigeria Political Science Association. As a Lecturer, he first became the Publicity Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, University of Nigeria, Nsukka branch, before becoming Secretary of the Union in the same institution.

The widely traveled Senator is a member, Canadian Institute of Public Administration, member, Canadian Association of African Studies. Sen. Ugochukwu Uba was an Associate Editor, Nigerian Journal of Public Administration and also, Associate Editor, Nigerian Journal of Critical Science. He is a consumate writer, who has contributed numerous articles and conference papers to many International Journals and written notable chapters in various books of International acclaim.

Sen. Ugochukwu Uba Ph.D, is a man of empirical ideas, with incredible drive to better humanity and better society. At every juncture of his amazing career, the Senator had never been satisfied with being just a spectator. He always got involved in making things better than they were. As a Senator and Chairman of the first Senate Committee on Transport and later Marine Transport, he didn’t accept the status quo. His quest for what ought to be led to four landmark achievements;

  1. In promotion of inter – modalism, the Distinguished Senator supported the development of Inland Container Depots ICDs as well as the adoption of a multi modal Transport Document MMT as proposed by UNCITRAL ( United Nations Commission for International Trade and Law)
  2. He diligently facilitated the passage of Contemporary Establishment Act for the National Maritime Authority NMA, (now the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA)
  3. He facilitated the domestication of several International Maritime Conventions to which our nation is signatory to, notably, the International Ship and Ports Facility IPS code and holistic review of the extinct Merchant Shipping Act.
  4. With the benefit of hands – on – experience and appreciation of International best practices, he was a prime advocate for reforms in the Port sector.
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Presently, this professional politician with amazing career success aspires to become the PDP flagbearer for the November 6 Anambra governorship election. He has been glaringly tested and should be trusted, if the party believes in excellence. He possesses superfluous record of technical and political experience. With a Political Scientist cum Public Administrator, who has decades of working experience and records of indisputable achievements, fate may be tipping the PDP for landslide victory on November 6, only if the party will overcome its familiar demons, and run with the Distinguished Senator, who in every essence, will become the new face of change.

Since the beginning of the 4th Republic he has believed in the PDP and kept faith with the party, despite the downturns in the fortunes of the party. He is a loyal party member, who believes wholly in the visions of the founding fathers of the party. He is a calm, logical and careful debater, and very receptive of superior opinion. He is scarcely angry with any situation and even in the face of provocation, he has been known to keep his cool. He is also an ebullient administrator and powerful motivational speaker, who delivers every word with incredible mechanisms of convinction.

He is a grassroot politician who has awarded scholarships to many indigent students and has been deeply involved in mobilizing people at the grassroot for self help projects. He is an astute team player and does not believe in the winner takes all philosophy.

Sen. Ugochukwu Uba Ph.D, is tested and trusted. His career records speak volumes of his firm belief in transformational leadership. He epitomizes visionary, responsible and responsive leadership. His disarming humility endears him to many. He is the new face of hope, the new face of change and he will certainly hit the ground running.

However, the disturbing question is whether the PDP can overcome its demons or whether the party as usual, will sacrifice its electoral chances on the altar of chicanery. Only time will tell.

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