Nigeria’s political parties have picked their governorship and legislative candidates for the April general elections. The relatively peaceful process produced little surprise as prominent members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition won the right to represent their parties in the upcoming poll.
One of the victors is Chibuike Amaechi, governor of the oil-rich Rivers State in the Niger Delta. He says despite the popularity of the PDP in the state, the margin of his victory was a surprise. He says the people-oriented policies of his administration ensured support for his candidacy.
“I had known that the Rivers people were behind me. We had made a lot of decisions that were people oriented, but we were expecting that the only way we would know that the decisions were accepted or not would be first at the primary election for the ruling party and at the general elections. I am glad the country acknowledges the primary was free and fair.”
He says his state has proved it is possible to hold elections without violence.
“The president is geared towards ensuring that we have a free and fair election. It may not be as perfect as it is in other countries. Don’t forget it is the first step to the change that we need to instill in our people. First is the apathy because people do not believe that elections could be free and fair in Nigeria.”
Governor Amaechi says he was reluctant to seek a second term in office but changed his mind so he could complete several ongoing projects.
“The next four years will be to consolidate on those projects, conclude them for the interest of the state and then start the water project to ensure that our people are able to benefit from such social projects.”