June 11, 2009

Obi and mandate revalidation

By Ignatius Orisewezie

THIS game called politics is a race for popularity in which citizens enthrone those they can trust. And the trust is earned like the father’s love. As Robert Frost said, you have to earn and deserve your father’s love but not that of your mother.

The trust element in politics is about good works, goodwill and positive antecedents.  For those who seek mandate revalidation, otherwise referred to as second term, the critical issue is whether they utilized the political power earlier acquired for public good. And if yes, they deserve another mandate and vice versa.

In politics, the collective destinies of citizens are placed in the hands of a few individuals who are public office holders. How they utilize the power at their disposal, affects the socio economic environment of the people, for good or for bad.

And because of this high stake, it is expected that a political leader or any leader for that matter, should be a torch bearer, a shinning example and like Caesar’s wife, be above board. As philosophers would say, those who must lift others up, must of necessity be on a higher ground.

Mr Peter Obi, a first class graduate of Accountancy, a core Catholic, and Governor of Anambra State, is at a glance, a soldier of light and one of the most focused governors in our contemporary time. He is a darling to every mind who is governed by rationality and objectivity; to men and women who cherish principled politics and abhor godfatherism ; to all people who see politics as an enterprise for common good.

To those who genuinely stand against corruption and who believe in the rule of law, who value the essence of integrated development, Peter Obi is a hero simpliciter and deserves a front roll in the comity of democratic practitioners.

In objectively assessing the tenure of an office holder, it is imperative to draw a line at the point where he started and think of what difference he has made in his environment.  Such is the equation for analysing performance.

Before Peter Obi’s tenure, Anambra State was a “Home for All” in the true sense of the word. It was indeed a place where anything goes; where the light of civilization was evidently dimming; where anarchical conduct was glorified; where the state treasury belongs to the cabals; where the so-called leaders  and by  extension, the entire citizenry were in bondage of the godfathers. In that environment, civilization will always remain the first casualty.

With the coming of Peter Obi, the motto of Anambra was changed to “The Light of the Nation”. He made it a point of duty to gravitate the government machinery along this trajectory. Today, Anambra State, hitherto a centre of confusion is now a home of peace, and development has permeated to the remotest parts of the state.

Obi’s administration made communities as the fourth tier of government and every year, he gives out large sums of money to town unions for development purposes. With this initiative, no village is neglected, no matter who you voted for during election. Such is the meaning of politics without bitterness.

I have had course to traverse Anambra State before Peter Obi assumed office.  There is no gainsaying that Peter Obi’s performance stands out like the star of Bethlehem. It is indeed a new era of reconstruction. The man has changed the face of Anambra State for good without making noise about his performance as the prudence in him makes him believe that  the amount he would have spent in organising ceremonies, showmanship and making propaganda over what is actually the responsibility of the government to the people, can be meaningfully spent in building another project.

His integrated development strategy entails a deliberate focus on all sectors of the economy, including roads, housing, health care delivery, educational sector, justice sector, etc. This holistic approach to development is the Governor’s strength and cutting edge over all his predecessors.
Mr. Orisewezie, a lawyer, writes from Asaba, Delta State.