THERE are always some traits that are common among great men that were once addicted to action. People like Napoleon Bonaparte and our own Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu left instructions to their aides in the line of action to always wake them up only when there was bad news.
Similarly as the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obi on Media and Publicity, part of my duty is to go through newspapers meticulously and make sure issues, especially those affecting Anambra State are shown to him daily. The Governor always directs that only bad news should be brought to his attention.
On April 26, 2010, I read Mr. Pat Anyadubaluâ€™s piece entitled “Waiting for Peter Obiâ€™s Classroom Blocks”. Initially I did not want to bother myself with showing such news to the Governor, not because of the news itself, but because of the purveyor of the news.
Pat Anyadubalu is Dr. Chris Ngigeâ€™s media man, employed and paid by the Ngige Campaign Organization. It is pertinent to note that shortly before the February 6 election and in all the press interviews granted by Mr. Pat Anyadubalu, his one aim, which proved beyond his capacity, was to destroy the Government of Peter Obi. I recall in one of his articles, he tried without cogent reasons to vilify GovernorÂ Obi.
At that time, I did not know he was working for Ngige. In my rejoinder, I thought I was trying to educate him on the policies of the government. I recall I mentioned to him the plan to build libraries in all the local government areas in the State only for Pat to turn around to say that he was happy that Governor Obi was following Ngigeâ€™s vision.
Since this was at the time Ngigeâ€™s acolytes were claiming Obi’s projects as Ngigeâ€™s, I began to suspect his motives until he was named the Assistant Director of Communication,Â Dr. Chris Ngige Campaign Organisation. In a widely circulated interview, the same Pat said there was mourning when Governor Peter Obi was announced as the winner of the February 6 election.
This is contrary to the fact that Anambra people are even still celebrating the victory.
You may be wondering why I am digressing rather than attacking the falsehoods raised by Pat in his write-up. Yes, I have to do this because I want to let the public see where Pat is coming from.
It is no longer news that he worked very hard for the victory of Dr. Ngige believing that with that, he would win election into the Anambra State House of Assembly.Â Having said this, we can now take the issues he raised in his write-up seriatim.
Pat tried vainly to deceive the people into believing that the building of 4,000 classroom blocks by Governor Obi was a political move to garner the votes of the people.
Has Pat forgotten that the same Governor, long before the election, rebuilt hundreds of schools in the State and equipped them with laboratories and computers that made him to win the ICT Governor of the Year, hotly contested between him and the Lagos State Governor? A tour of the State will show that the building of the 4,000 classrooms, starting withÂ the 2009 phase of 1000 blocks is on-going.
The Governor clearly said that the project would be carried out in phases, with 1000 per year in the next four years. Were Pat sincere, he should at least wait for a year to elapse to tell us whether the classrooms were completed or not. Why is he in a hurry? If he were sincere he should haveÂ started with projects that were abandoned in the State many years ago some of which Obi just completed.
In saying that the building of 4,000 classrooms were â€œpolitically motivatedâ€, I do not know what he meant. Would it be better if they were selfishly motivated? In a clime where the likes of Pat do not understand that politics is about service to the people, we are in trouble. It is the desire to serve the people that motivate those in Government to altruism. Obiâ€™s Government has not known any dull moment.
For those that had the opportunity of reading his â€œThree Years in Officeâ€ they marvel at what he was able to do in the State in his first tenure even with the meager resources he received every month. Towards the end of his first tenure in office, many people were surprised that he was still working rather than squander the Stateâ€™s money on election campaign.
I recall that besides the 4000 schools, he flagged off the construction ofÂ Neem fertilizer plant in Amawbia, he flagged off the Okija, Nsugbe, Igabarima junction and many other roads, he promised to buy over 100 buses for secondary schools in the State, he promised to buy refuse disposal vehicles to keep the State clean, he promised an ANIDS-LG Electronics Academy, and many more.
Today all those projects are going on. A few days ago, the over 100 buses arrived and are being branded. The refuse disposal vehicles are already being used. Tell me what exactly Pat was talking about?
Since Pat set out to antagonize the Government of Obi, he found fault in the close collaboration between the Government and President-Generals of the towns. In the past Government voted money for palliative measures in Anambra towns through third or even fourth parties that achieved nothing, but today the situation has been corrected
By working with town unions, Obi is more effectively reaching the rural areas. In condemning this, Pat reminds one about the nihilist, the one who lost connection with reality because he depended on nothing and believed in nothing.
Pat said in the write-up that he was yet to â€œwitness any community/town that has completed or even commenced construction of its project.
The project has been marred with uncertainty and complaints from some of the town union executives.â€ What Pat did is simply looking and locating problems where non-existed. I can tell him off the tips of my tongue some of the towns in Anambra and where the projects are located.
For instance, in Agulu, their own project located at the Central School (St. Peter Anglican Church) is at roofing stage. The one for Umueri is located at St. Peter Primary School in the town.
He used his town as an example where nothing has been done.Â Again, hear Pat: â€œTake for example, in my own community, our project was billed for N6 million as the first tranche but the cheque was dishonoured. It was a dud cheque.â€ I thought Pat was open with facts, and this made me to convey his â€œrevelationsâ€ to the Governor.
The Governor chided me on why I did not do a little research on the matter. This was how it came about that I made calls. First to Patâ€™s President General, Barr. Fidelis Onwuegbusi. I asked him questions and he replied. I called unattached people from the town and they told me that the town, Umunachi in Dunukofia Local Government Area, where Pat comes from, is having internal problems among themselves.
As I write, they have not decided on where the school will be located. I understand that Pat and the PG who are from the same village, against consensus of opinion, are insisting the project must be located in their village of Nkwelle. In a town where such parochialism exists, tell me how they can record progress?
The foregoing is not all, some people from the town wrote petitions against the release of the money insisting that the ones released for palliative measures and security matters were not properly utilized. Pat has failed to tell us this or that his town is caught in intractable feud. He has also failed to tell us that his village is regarded as a renegade village and the major source of problem in the town. They do not get on well with other villages of Umueze, Ozu, Nagbana and Ngbuke.
In fact, they are struggling over a piece of land called Ogbo Otosi with Umueze village. I understand that even at a point, Patâ€™s village did not recognize their Igwe, HRH, Igwe Onochie from Ozu village. The Irony of it is that within their village, Nkwelle, all is not well as a part of them broke away and called themselves Umezegolu. Such is the problem in Umunachi which is giving the State sleepless night as it continues to search for solutions to their problems.
All the Catholic and Anglican priests sent on apostolate spend 80% of the time they ought to devote to evangelization seeking peace. I have taken time to narrate all this, in an attempt to locate the fundamental cause of underdevelopment in the town, including failure to build a classroom block as other towns in the State are doing.
I went further on my enquiries. I got in touch with the State Commissioner for Education and that of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters. They confirmed that the project is going on very well inÂ many other places except places that have peculiar problems.. The Hon. Commissioner for Local Government however said that some of the PGs who were issued with Zenith Bank Cheques were asked to open accounts with the Bank as a condition for accessing the fund. Pat should tell us if his village has done so or if they are still quarrelling on where they will locate the project.
Pretending a certain concern for things being done properly, he who does not believe in the project because it is not Ngigeâ€™s,Â admitted:â€Now that the State Government had decided to carry on with the construction through the Town Union Executives, there is need to constitute a committee to monitor the construction of these classroom blocks in all the communities, receive monthly reports on progress of work and ensure that work is assiduously carried out according to specifications.â€
I do not know if Pat has ever been accused of infringement of patent or plagiarism of thoughts? Is he trying to tell us that he is not aware that one of the conditions for the release of the money is a committee being formed that must include a clergy man? He has sold himself for a penny for not even knowing anything about what he is criticizing. This entails that he ran short of criticisms of Obi and just saw the issue as handy and ended up muddling everything.
As to Obi witch-hunting towns for not voting him, I make bold to say that it is men of little minds that write such a thing. If that is Patâ€™s idea of what Governors should do, Obi is not part of it. You can know a man through his personal life. Today Obi is at peace with all those that fought him dirty, including those that impeached him. This is enough to inform critical minds of what such a manâ€™s State policy will look like.
As I conclude, I advise Anambra people to remain focused and not be distracted by the cries of pessimists, it will take us nowhere. Meanwhile, our amiable Governor is ever focused on serving the State better. My last advice to Pat is to take it easy. It is Ngige that lost the election and not Pat, I do not understand why he should be crying more than Ngige. The way he writes, I even suspect he may be experiencing psychic encumbrances. My brother, make you takam easy.
Mr. Obienyem is SA(Media) to Governor Obi of Anambra State.