October 8, 2013

Anambra 2013 and Mbazulike Amaechi’s food-for-thought

AS the race for the November 16 Anambra governorship election gathers momentum, candidates of political parties and their supporters and sponsors are doing everything possible to buy the conscience of voters by hook or crook.

Many of them with questionable character have been busy throwing their ill-gotten wealth at the people and desperately hoping to recoup same if they win the election. Some of them are making empty promises of building bridges where there are no rivers.

Others are busy throwing public funds that were never captured in the state budget at community leaders, religious leaders and market unions to solicit their support for their anointed political godsons.

Few of them with track record in public service and political leadership have allowed their tremendous and unprecedented achievements in service to speak for them.

X-raying the candidates for the election, it is obvious that they are made up of chaffs and rice, and it is left for the people of the state to separate the rice from the chaffs in making choice of who becomes their next governor on November 16, for the betterment and development of the state.

Proffering salutary and candid advice that should be food-for- thought, and serve as a guide for every voter in the state during the election is an elder statesman, First Republic Minister of Aviation and only surviving nationalist in the state and the South East zone, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi.

Speaking in an interview published in The Sun Newspaper, Amaechi, when asked of the people’s expectation in the November 16 governorship election in AnambraState, said: “My advice to the candidates is that they should do their campaign in a peaceful manner.

They should dwell on issues and policies and not on personalities. Also, what I will tell the voters is that if majority of them collect, and vote for money, then money will rule them and they will continue to live in squalor and poverty.

“Somebody who spends heavily to win election is naturally bound to recoup the money he or she spent before doing any thing tangible for the people. But if you collect money from a rotten man and vote for a good man, the good man will create employment opportunities, give you education, health and all the good things of live.

“ So, if Anambra people like, let them choose a 419ner; a 419er will give them 419 administration. If they like, let them choose a patriotic Anambrarian and he will give them patriotic leadership. So the question is for the voters themselves. If they vote well, they will be ruled well, if they vote wrongly, they will be ruled wrongly”.

The above statement is a verdict from an elder statesman and astute politician who fought for the country’s Independence alongside the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and was made the First Republic Minister in 1960 at the age of 32. Truly Mbazulike has seen it all, and is looking for nothing other good governance for his people.

No one, including the acclaimed men of God can fault his position and sermon on the forthcoming election in the state. It is often said in Igbo land that what an elder sees sitting down, a youth cannot see it from the roof top. Besides, the words of elders are words of God and those who have ears let them hear.

In this situation, an elder has spoken and the ball is in the court of the voters to score the goal according to their conscience. But they must be mindful of the consequences of their choice in the election.

If they vote for the moneybag who believes the governorship seat is for the highest bidder, they and their generations yet unborn will continue to live in poverty because the moneybag must first recoup his money if he wins the election. Remember that there is no free meals anywhere, even in heaven.

If the people vote for the political godson who is being sponsored with the state’s unaccounted fund to continue from where his outgoing political godfather will stop, it means that the state will be taken back to the dark days of political godfatherism and looting of state treasury that grounded development in the state, before the jinx was broken by Dr Chris Ngige in 2003.

This situation will definitely take the state back to the basics, because the loyalty of the greenhorn godson will be to his godfather and not the people of the state. After all, the people were settled and induced financially to vote for him. For that reason, they will have no moral right to ask anything from the government unless the one the godfather decrees.

We witnessed this in AbiaState for almost four years of Governor Theodore Orji’s first term in office. It was before the 2011 election that the political atmosphere in the country provided an opportunity for Governor Orji to liberate the state. Prior to this, the state had suffered a lot due to undue  godfather interference.

Anambra is too strategic in the country to be left in the hand of a godson and learner this time around. Besides, businessmen and bankers have not provided good leadership in this part of the world, because they are always interested in building their private business empires with public funds at the expense of the people. At the end, the state will suffer and their loyalists will tell you that they were already rich before they came into government.

For almost eight years now, the ruling government has failed to conduct council election, even after collecting money from aspirants on the party’s platform for the election since 2010.

The state cannot continue to be administered in this way. So in the forthcoming election, the voters must to vote for a tried, tested, trusted and humble person who has done it before and who can provide good governance to the people. Anambra needs a good man with the passion to render selfless service to humanity at all time. That is the governor the state needs now and not a business-minded and selfish governor who will always think and work for his private businesses.

The onus lies on the voters to make this possible in the election, not the power of incumbency, the Presidency, public fund and ill-gotten being flaunted by people without integrity and good intention for the people.

The people’s choice in the poll must go beyond materialism which has created erroneous impression outside the state that the people of the state are money mongers and that nothing good will come from them, unless money is involved.

That is why Anambra people must not sacrifice good candidate and quality leadership for money in the November 16, governorship election.

Dr.Josiah Akabudu, a pastor, wrote from Ihiala, Anambra State.