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Anambra has easily become the sick child of the Nigerian democratic experiment for a combination of reasons. All civilian governors of the state have been non-performers; the level of insecurity remains high, the State Assembly has been both docile and inept and the state's politics is seething with corrupt practices. Governor Mbadinuju's administration reached an all-time low in governance when the entire state bureaucracy ground to a complete halt as a consequence of recurrent strike actions by workers and teachers who were often owed arrears of several months of pay. To cope with rapidly deteriorating security situation, the last administration quickly assembled a vigilante outfit that ended up discrediting its creators by their licentiousness. The last electoral cycle witnessed a spirited battle by former Governor Mbadinuju to remain at his post as state chief executive despite his dismal performance track record. It took loud public outcry at the eve of election primaries to persuade the ruling party, PDP, to make him the only incumbent governor to be denied a second term under his party platform.

Based on performance, last April's general elections would have provided a golden opportunity to bring positive change in Anambra state by rejecting both the ruling party and their candidates for woefully failing to pay heed to yearnings of the electorate. Many parties saw the vulnerability of the factitious ruling party in the state and prepared to wrest power through the ballot box. It is widespread knowledge that there was gross impropriety in the conduct of the April general election all over the country, particularly Anambra state. The PDP, armed with a more elaborate and robust party machine, saw a gaping hole in the system and went ahead and exploited it to the chagrin of a large segment of the state's population who obviously were poised to terminate PDP rule in Anambra, at least, in the short term. Respectable eyewitness accounts assert that nothing which would be described as general elections happened in Anambra state on April 19, 2003. Yet, we have an INEC scorecard that awarded landslide victory to the ruling PDP and its array of candidates at all levels in the state. Disenchanted opposition parties and their candidates are now demonstrating unusual resolve in their bid to undo the charade that took place in Anambra state on election day.

Those who were declared winners by the electoral commission, including the incumbent governor, were promptly sworn into office even as the battle for their legitimacy continues in the electoral tribunals. It was an eye-opener to read that one of the first official engagements of Governor Ngige was to pay homage to his political sponsor by visiting Uga, Aguata LG, in appreciation of the pivotal role that Chief Chris Uba, 'Eselu Uga', played in getting him into the State House, Awka. In public glare, Governor Ngige literally prostrated before 'Eselu Uga' expressing his and one would presume, the state's indebtedness to the election-winning wizardry that could only be wielded by his larger-than-life mentor. As news reports have exposed, the Anambra governor virtually yielded the right of selecting his cabinet and other major appointments to the whims and caprices of Chief Uba. Recent revelations indicate that there were also a lot of underhand financial deals, implicating state funds, that the Governor had committed himself to, without following proper channels, all in a bid to appease the demigod of his newfound political ascendancy.

The weekend of July 10-13, 2003, witnessed a public display of the macabre dance and frolicking which have characterized the subterranean relationship that exists between the incumbent governor and his number one political mentor, Chief Chris Uba. The best way to get to the bottom of the crisis, which precipitated the reported attempted 'overthrow' of Anambra state governor by his estranged bedfellows, is for the National Assembly to conduct a judicial enquiry over the matter. This affront on our democracy is neither an Anambra nor PDP exclusive affair as some would prefer to paint it. The National Assembly, preferably the Senate, should set up a judicial tribunal with appropriate powers to subpoena witnesses to testify under oath about what they know and the role they played in the ongoing political melodrama in Anambra state. This tribunal, when its job is done, could result in impeachment or removal of all culpable elected officials and imprisonment or severe fines for others who sought to trample on the machinery of governance of Anambra state for myopic and selfish objectives. This recommended line of action is salutary for the traumatized citizens of Anambra state, in particular and the rest of Nigeria, in general.

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