The fear of attacks by hoodlums and unknown gunmen has taken the shine of campaigns by governorship aspirants soliciting for votes in the upcoming elections in Anambra state on November 6.
As a result, the state remains bereft of the usual pomp and pageantry associated with political campaigns, flaunting of fleets of branded cars, colourful women praise singers popularly known as “ndi mbombo,” the verbal jabs, as well as promises that are mostly thrown to the wind as soon as power is grabbed.
The lack of all these and the unusual calmness on the part of political parties may not be far from the fear of unknown gunmen that has infiltrated the once safest state in the country.
The usual campaign fields currently lack the feel of thousands of feet matching on its soil and grasses, while hawkers of soft drinks, sachet water and groundnut, among others, are missing the usual rapid sales occasioned by such campaigns.
Suffice it to say that the recent killing of the husband to late Dora Akunyili, Dr Chike Akunyili, indeed sent shivers down the spine of different camps of the political blocs, as information has it that the assailants, before releasing the trigger, labelled the Enugu-based Medical Doctor a politician.
There was also another killing in Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, where the gunmen after killing the victim, wrote “No election” on a sheet of paper.
To this end, candidates, minstrels followers, political cloud chasers, all have disappeared from sight and ear shot.
Disappearing with them also are the branded cars and loud praise songs blasting from loudspeakers affixed to campaign vehicles, all in an effort to promote a candidate.
So far, the only lion in the jungle is the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof Charles Soludo.
The Professor of Economics has been going about his campaigns in calm, gentle strides, but not without a retinue of security operatives shielding his campaign train.
Though not loud, it is believed that the power of incumbency has bolstered his boldness and confidence. His campaign movements are always with a retinue of security officers, with armoured vehicles in tow.
Perhaps, Soludo’s lone dance in the political arena of Anambra politics has influenced the general belief that the gods have handed him the crown to succeed Obiano.
However, his will to reach out to the grassroots to sell his manifesto may appears to be at crossroads now as his campaign in Ihiala, Ihiala Local Government Area of the state, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 was brusquely disrupted by an alleged attack by gunmen.
Though no casualty was recorded, the attack will no doubt create more fear in ordinary people who may want to witness political campaigns first hand.
Whichever way it may seem, campaign is the only tool for candidates to reach out to the electorate and reel out their manifestos comprising their long-term plans for the state. Without campaigns, it may be difficult for the electorate to decipher the best candidate among the pool of men that have their eyes on the prize.
Though Soludo appears to be the candidate to beat, there is still need for the electorate to hear him speak, so as to know where to hold him accountable when the chips are down.
With the saying that only the living can tell a story, the question is, will the candidates be able to square up to the challenge and come out to campaign?