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Anambra, managing insecurity with politics

By Mike Anachuna

“I shall fight crime with jobs”   – Governor  Obi’s 2003 Campaign promise.

THE ‘multiple award winning’ Governor of Anambra State it must be admitted, ran one of the best campaigns in this country before the 2003 elections which he won fair and square.  He presented a social contract to the people.  He said all the right things at a time the people needed succour.  They believed him and voted for him.

We all know what happened thereafter but God took His time and returned the mandate of this hard fighting Governor to send a message to Nigerians that at His appointed time, the truth would be out and that He is still on the throne.

Now, this “great Governor is faced with the reality of what he fought for so long and so hard to get that is  governance in Nigeria which is all about crisis management.  Nothing can test a person’s character like leadership or  a position of power.

The campaign promises are sweet and easy to mouth, but when it’s time for action, we look for imagined ‘detractors’ to blame. Our ego takes over and we mistake the voice of our ego for the voice of God. Also we hear the voice of sycophants as music from the Angels in heaven.

I almost passed out the day I read that the Anambra State Governor (Mr. Obi) was quoted as having said “That Anambra State remains the most secured state in Nigeria”.  It is politically correct to say so – in order not to scare off people.

After-all, the number one duty of any government is the security of life and property of the governed.  My worry now is, was the Governor playing politics or does he sincerely believe what he said or can we rightly say that he is confused or overwhelmed by the situation?  It is so difficult to marry his words, his actions with the reality.

Here is a Governor who inherited a performing vigilante group when he took over in 2006. He disbanded them, screaming that they were claiming N18million naira as wage. That it was too much and that the police would be made to do their job.

He has come ‘not to waste Anambra money like Ngige but to save it’  he said. By 2008, he changed his mind and called on the various communities to set up their own vigilante and he will help them with some money.

How much? We may not know. But is it working? The answer is no. His judgment is guided by his desire to be different from anybody else and he knows best.

This very prudent Governor imported and gave A.P.C. vehicle to the police to assist in fighting crime.  The day the supposed bullet proof vehicle was put to test by armed robbers, all the men in the vehicle were killed – clearly showing that the vehicle was not bullet proof.

We shall blame the manufacturers and surely not the ‘prudent’ importer. In the past 30 days, over 180  lives have been lost to trigger happy, unchallenged armed robbers and kidnappers between Awka, Nnewi, Nkpor and Onitsha .

The Governor knows this hence he declared an emergency on crime. (Again saying the right things).  So you would expect to see some noticeable changes in the state as you move around but ‘for where’!!

At these trying times regarding security and despite the emergency declared by the Governor, his  Campaign organisation alias ‘Continuity group’ put out a paid advert in the national dailies to state 12 reasons why the ‘award winning Governor’  should continue in office after 2010.

The number one reason was that the Governor Obi gave vehicles and telecommunication equipments to the police thereby reducing crime drastically in the state”.

I can imagine you asking; so if crime has been so drastically reduced, why declare an emergency against, it – and up the offer to any informant from N500,000.00 to N2million?  These image makers must have been paid peanuts by the prudent Governor.  They are so dumb it hurts.

The Bible tells us that when the   spirit left King Saul, he did not know.  Obi no longer says the right things.  What happened to ‘I shall fight Crime with Jobs’; that lovely social contract that the people voted for?

How many jobs have  Governor Obi created in  three years?  He is now calling for the unemployed to come and register after three years.  Is he not aware that crime is a major threat to investments, economic development and quality of life and that unemployment enhances  crime?

It must be very difficult to work with a Governor in Nigeria particularly an image driven one with an incurable lust for the perquisite of power.  The number one rule is usually “Thou shalt not tell the Governor the truth”.

Just flatter him even when people are dying, tell him they are happy.  I just lost a relation of mine to these hoodlums.  If this were a home movie, it would have been entertaining.  But the self delusion is real and pathetic.

At 74 years of age, I am now in exile at my son’s house in  Abuja instead of enjoying my retirement in my village.  When we all run away, then ‘continuity would continue’ as K.O. Mbadiwe would have said.  It is a pity. Governor Obi should return to his trading business, he has done his best.

His photograph would remain at the Government lodge as a one time Governor.  Anambra needs re-motivation and a paradigm shift.  Someone who can touch the hearts of the people and then ask for their hands in co-operation to build their state.

The other ridiculous one all over the state are sign posts reading ‘Road built by Peter Obi’s government’ not Anambra State government.  This is personification of government taken to the realm of stupidity.

It hurts me badly as I wonder where these young men learn from.  In my days, I did not see M.I. Okpara or even the recent ones like Ngige or Mrs. Etiaba and Chime in Enugu putting up such stupid posters on the road. It’s sad.

Governor Obi told us that this governorship job is the worst job he has ever done in his life and what I still cannot understand is how he can be struggling so obviously hard to enter deeper into a job he told us is the worst in his life.

I am happy to see that one of the many governorship aspirants deemed it fit to organise a one day symposium on the absurd security situation in Anambra state.

Well done to the younger Etiaba for deeming it fit to contribute towards finding a solution to this menace. I want to return to my village, please Inspector General of Police help.  I deserve to enjoy my retirement.

Mr.  Anachuna, a retired civil servant, writes from Abuja.


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