Naysayers have naturally dismissed him as an underdog, one not yet ready for the job and suggested that he was testing the waters in order to make headway for an ambition to run for a seat in the Nigerian Senate.
Others driven with optimism wonder if there was anything esoteric in one’s quest to run for office. They ask how qualified were the likes of Chris Ngige and Peter Obi when they aspired to be governors of their state? They ask if Nwibe was lacking in any of the constitutional cum conventional prerequisites demanded of one who seeks to govern a state like Anambra?
Surprisingly, Engineer Nwibe who hails from Igbo Ukwu, Igbo Etiti Village has been a fixture of Anambra politics since 2007, working in the background and building the All Progressives Congress, APC from the days of its humble beginnings as the ACN. Nwibe had as at 2007 been a member of a number of strategic think tanks that delivered the party on a number of occasions. Having run for the seat of the House of Representatives in 2011, only to poll a close second behind the PDP, shocking parties like APGA which had a Commissioner, sitting House of Assembly members and other political appointees within his own zone, Nwibe’s loss was only due to the electoral rascality carried out by PDP in his opponents zone. Now, contrary to the unsavory political culture in Nigeria, where politicians jump ship at the slightest instance citing a number of putrefying reasons for such, Nwibe has been a model for consistency and stuck with the APC through its very trying times. As a major financier of the party in the state, sponsoring and financing a number of candidates and functions of the party, Nwibe ensured that the party gave its best shot in all elections that were contested by the party endearing him to the party activists and supporters.
Unlike a number of Anambra politicians who would want to be “Lord of the Manor” owing to their financial war chest, Nwibe is a model of humility and an example of what it takes to be a loyal party man having respected and supported all party decisions irrespective of how suitable such decisions are to his own political arithmetic. Nwibe has avoided been controversial and as an advocate of participatory democracy, he has braved the insults of the thinning conservative political class in Anambra to push for equal participation of all its citizenry without distinction of birth or fortune. Rather than use his financial war chest as a springboard to power for its own sake, Nwibe has used it to help the poor, needy and downtrodden haven arisen out of their ranks.
A separate report will ask if he can win the APC primaries against the number of candidates seeking the party ticket, but it will surprise them to know that of all the aspirants he has a higher approval rating than any other plausible contender, as well as the lowest disapproval rating. This is largely because a number of Anambrarians cannot associate or connect Nwibe with anything that has to do with our sordid political past; this is despite his involvement in politics right from his days as a student member of the NPP. I am wondering if a number of other aspirants can boast of such.
Nwibe’s approach to politics has always been one driven by ideas. His philosophy and approach to governance props him up as the aspirant to beat. Unlike the oldies and perpetual guber aspirants, Nwibe looks more like an agent of change, a factor that will surely bode well for him in the primaries and the general elections should he win the APC ticket.
So as a professional and one who has always worked for the good of Anambra and her people, I am indeed happy that someone like Engineer Bart Nwibe has thrown his hat into the ring. Yes he may not be the typical dye in wool politician, but who needs one when a person like Nwibe has offered to serve us. With him Anambra is on the threshold of a new renaissance.
Alloy Nwachukwu writes Uli, Ihiala