Obiano floors Ngige in first Anambra Guber Debate

Obiano, APGA Candidate.

Obiano, APGA Candidate.

NEWSEXPRESS: Chief Willie Obiano, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the November 16, 2013 gubernatorial election in Anambra State, proved cynics wrong this evening when he put up a sterling performance in a debate organised in Awka, the state capital, for the candidates by Silverbird Television. At the end of the fireworks, a majority of the audience agreed that Obiano had eclipsed the performance of a far more experienced Senator Chris Ngige of the All Progresives Congress (APC).

The APGA candidate who was widely reported to have been recently beaten in a “debate” in the US by the Labour Party candidate, Ifeanyi Ubah, shrugged off his underdog status to outshine his rivals in a debate in which Ubah was conspicuously absent.

Scheduled to begin at 4pm, the debate had to be delayed as only Obiano arrived the venue 15 minutes to kick-off time. Ngige showed up 45 minutes later when the debate had far progressed beyond the introductory stage to the question and answer session.

The APC candidate’s arrival was pointedly noisy as the chants of his entourage disrupted the debate and drew snide remarks and mild protests from the audience who felt that a Senator of his calibre owed the members of his constituency a more decorous conduct.

Obiano’s high performance came from his brilliant demonstration of a deep understanding of the current revenue position of the state and his idea of what to do to move the state forward. Reeling out cold facts and statistics, the retired banker held the audience spellbound with his profound understanding of what the state currently generates in internal revenue, how much trickles in from the federal government in monthly revenue and how these monies are distributed to solve the state’s development problems.

“I have years of experience in banking. I understand international finance. My running mate, Dr. Nkem Okonkwo, has a PhD in monetary economist. When we take a trip to the United Nations and the donor agencies, we know what to say to make them support development efforts in Anambra State. But this is not the same with my good friend, Chris Ngige. If he arrives the UN with his crowd singing his praises as usual, they will chase them out of the hall,” Obiano argued to a thunderous applause.

Obiano’s comment was in response to Ngige’s claims on the state of revenue generation in Anambra State. Obiano had promptly dismissed Ngige’s claims as far from the truth, reminding the audience that they could actually carry out a quick google search on the subject matter right from their seats.

“The audience saw in Obiano’s response the readiness of 21st Century leader who knew that the electorate can no longer be lied to in the manner of the politicians of old,” one analyst said.

The APGA candidate also drew a loud ovation with the way he handled the question of his widely reported secret agreement with Chief Victor Umeh, the National Chairman of APGA, to hand the treasury of Anambra State over to him in exchange for electoral victory. Dismissing the document as an effort by his rivals who had been hard-pressed to find a chink in his armour, Obiano argued that after spending 30 years in the Nigerian private sector his signature could be verified in so many public documents and that the signature on the purported agreement had no resemblance with his real signature.

Although Senator Ngige made comical attempts to explain his lateness to the event by blaming it on the bad condition of roads in the state, his performance failed to elicit the applause he had hoped for because people felt offended by his lateness which could not be placed on the poor state of roads in the state.

The APC candidate also drew derisive laughter and chants of “Lie! Lie!” from a section of the audience when in a response to the question of his largely poor performance in the Senate, he announced that he tabled 10 bills before the upper legislative house.

The debate which was moderated by Uzonna Ononye who hosts Politicalscope on Silverbird television attracted only four out of the six candidates originally invited to take part.

Other candidates that took part in the debate are Professor Ben Akanegbu of United Progressive Party and Godson Okoye United Democratic Party.

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