Few months to the Anambra polls: Gov Obi collides with Ngige on the Potomac
By Emma Okocha
Last weekend, the biggest resort and business centre on the river, linking the states of Virginia, DC and Maryland was host to the 2009 Anambra mammoth US National Convention.
The GaylordÂ hotels, part of the new National Convention Centre on the Potomac River, was very sumptuous and stupendous as it attended to the vicarious needs of these outlandishly-clad Nigerians, who have thronged the resort complex from all the corners of the USA.
Towards evening of the Saturday, following the report from its various committees, some of which had earlier in the year, visited the state, the stampede was on as one of the hotel salons announced the arrival of the Governor, Peter Obi.
Inside, was the former Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige. Already introduced and ready; he was sitting up there, listening to the Medical Committee Report, the Security Report, the Education Report, etc but it was clear he was waiting for the Convention to move its lens and pan it his way. He was waiting to make his own report.
And there is no way that report will be complete without some of his missiles not finding its way in the direction of Governor Obi and his administration.
The Medical report was an interesting story. Presenting was the former Nigerian Agency Correspondent at the United Nations, Tony Idigo. He reported on the sacrifices of the American and Nigerian doctors, the nurses and some institutions who collaborated in making this yearâ€™s mission the greatest and most effective exercise since the mission was commissioned a decade ago.
The Report claimed that one of the highlights of the mission, was the screening of thousands of women for breast cancer and the subsequent training of those women for self examination.
â€œAbout twenty breast cancer patients were identified with surgery performed at Nnamdi Azikiwe Hospital, Nnewi…. Containers of medical equipment were delivered and in places like Enugu, Agidi, the mission worked and collaborated with Dr. Christian Nwankwo, US-based Family doctor, and all the practicing doctors who are native sons were able to see more patients in those towns and villages.
There were many more Reports as presented by their chairmen but very soon the fireworks exploded.
Ex-Governor Ngige was on camera and he praised the committees for their sacrifices and fired the first salvo when he stressed that there is not much that anybody can do now unless there is power.
He believed that Anambra can not continue to dwell on piecemeal solutions when it is capable of fundamentally changing the whole climate by providing the cushions to alleviating the people from abject poverty.
He made reference to the American Social Security, Food Stamp, and many welfare bonuses granted to the citizens by the state. He explained that these are the responsibilities of the state in the face of an impoverished and restive society at daggers drawn with a government that is too surface-laden to understand how to cope with its forlorn populace.
He sat down after releasing his ground-to-air missile and, this time, on target. All these humanitarian efforts may not go far. The state is under siege. It is a kidnappersâ€™ paradise! The Onwa sat down.
Without any more fanfares, Governor Obi took over the pulpit and returned fire with his own air-to-ground missiles. For the records, he disclosed that his tenure â€œhas no godfathers, nobody is fighting anybody and Anambra is not the Kidnappersâ€™ haven.â€™â€™
He pushed the convention hall laughing and people doubled over cracking their ribbs when in another salvo back to the formidable ex-governorâ€™s corner he landed an upper cut: â€œMy friend can say anything… but remember it was during his tenure that the mother of all Kidnapping took place. The governor of the state was kidnapped… the whole of Anambra state was kidnapped!â€™â€™
He later surprised pundits when he stood up there and in few minutes marshaled his plans with the Industry Bank, the World Bank and the Anambra diaspora which he revealed was the striking difference between him and his predecessor. â€œWe cannot do much if we donâ€™t have any plans…â€™â€™ He said that his â€œadministration went in and spent time organising a plan for the development of Anambra state. We have the plan now.
We know where we are going …and that is our advantage over others who never had a plan and if they come in may not know where to startâ€™â€™ he beamed across to the left wing of the Ngige corner
That was the climax of the whole Convention. However, observers believe that the Convention was indeed very well organised and most of the targets of the planners met.
Accordingly, to the Chairman of the ASA -USA Association, Convention Planning Committee, Criminal Justice Professor, Dr.Allison Anadi, â€œwe want to give our people the best and we are fulfilled we delivered all our promises, and as you have recorded from the communique, the people of Anambra state all over the world will expect and insist on a fair and free elections this coming marchâ€™â€™.
To that end, observers believe that the two immaculate governors should have been given more time, put on the stage one and one, to debate it all. It would have been a feast across the mahogany table.
By such process, those of them who are products of the US system that throws up eventually the winner through these regulated democratic process would then go home with the veritable conviction that they have catalysed the process which at the end of the road results in a fair and free election.