TAKE this to the bank: in the run-up to next year’s gubernatorial election in Anambra State, Governor Willie Obiano is countless strides ahead of the most determined of his opponents. Many reasons account for this. Foremost is that he firmly has the advantage of incumbency on his side. But this needs spelling out. The incumbency factor at play here is not merely the occupation of the seat of power; it is that the Anambra State Governor has more than delivered. He has surpassed the records of his predecessors.
Since empiricism is in accent, readers are called to take notice of the following facts. Governor Chris Ngige was in office for about three years, when the courts gave him the matching orders. Governor Peter Obi was through with the third year of his first term when he published a magazine entitled
Three Years of Solid Accomplishments. Whoever reads the publication and also reviews Dr. Ngige’s achievements, will come to an inevitable conclusion – if they compared them to the astounding performance of Governor Willie Obiano.
Such a reviewer would acknowledge that, in terms of achievements, Governor Obiano stands head and shoulders above his predecessors. But, there is need for clarity here. Many politicians and soldiers have governed Anambra State since its creation 25 years ago. Some lasted a few months and got redeployed, or sacked by military putsch. But political stability of sorts became apparent from the inception of the Fourth Republic. Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju served a single, four-year term. Dr. Ngige’s tenure lasted three years. Peter Obi spent eight years, minus the three months that the distinguished Dame Virgy Etiaba ably governed, following Mr. Obi’s unjust and ultimately reversed impeachment by legislative hirelings intoxicated by intrigue.
Obiano is close to completing his third year. The trio of Ngige, Obi and Obiano has imbued Anambra with a legacy of performance to be proud of. It was Ngige who first demonstrated to Ndi Anambra that human beings drove on tarred roads instead of through ponds and potholes. Peter Obi continued the road construction legacy, topping it with the Odo Bridge in Awgbu, which, in 2010, was the longest bridge in Anambra State.
Well, Governor Obiano since upped the ante. In less than two years his government constructed the new, longest bridge in the state, the Anambra River Bridge, with a span of 280 metres. Besides, Governor Obiano has changed Awka’s skyline with three magnificent flyovers on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway that splits the state capital in two. Apart from the aesthetic value of the flyovers, they have removed the tedium of travelling through Awka. Obiano has transformed Awka from a provincial enclave to a state capital worth the name.
In a dozen years, therefore, Anambra State has gone through the positive, comparative and superlative stages of good, better, best. Governor Obiano’s administration is the superlative bit. This calls for people to remember the saying that, You can’t change a winning team. Americans have a different way of putting it: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It elicits joy that, in less than three years, Governor Obiano has amply demonstrated that he empathizes with the people fate dealt him the card to govern.
He is paying salaries and pensions promptly. And these are salaries and pensions that he raised across the board by 15 percentage points! From having the lowest paid civil servants and political appointees, Anambra State under Obiano now boasts a pay structure that compares favourably with the best in Nigeria, notwithstanding that 5000 employees were introduced into the state’s workforce on the eve of his inauguration, and not minding the financial adversity occasioned by the current recession. Governor Obiano has opened up the state’s agricultural sector to a spectacular explosion.
Those who previously pooh-poohed the idea of Anambra Rice have lost their power of speech and insolent dismissiveness, seeing that Anambra Rice is a reality. Governor Obiano has caused Anambra State to be the safest in the country.
If not in promotion of intrigue, why should anyone suddenly take on the absurd assignment of patching up plumbing that is not leaking? An answer should come from those blabbing that the Anambra North Senatorial district does not deserve the state’s governorship for two terms. Peter Obi served two terms.
Peter Obi was instrumental to Chief Willie Obiano’s emergence as Governor. Who builds to demolish? Are they not rationalising his humanity who hope or pray that Peter Obi will pull the rug from under Obiano’s feet?
Other questions begging for answers. Where lies the integrity of Anambra politicians currently switching political parties as a ploy for wearing the governorship mantle? To see professional loud speakers changing parties with the frequency a fop sheds apparels speaks to a new low in political partisanship. Even if it is assumed that Nigerian politics is ideologically ambivalent, should it also mean that it is bereft of principles?
How could people who claim affinity with equity question the wisdom of APGA, the political party that decided on slotting the governorship to Anambra North Senatorial zone? Where is the fairness in claiming that Anambra people should be denied excellent leadership because it issues from a place hitherto consigned to perpetual followership?
Waiting for convincing answers may amount to waiting for Godot! Meanwhile, commonsense dictates that the good people of Anambra North should bond together and thwart those intent on introducing the monkey’s hand in the people’s dish. They should join in ensuring that bashers of Anambra heads are not handed the bludgeon of political office that could be handy for pounding the state’s collective head into a bloody pulp.
Mr. Chuks Iloegbunamis Governor Obiano’s Director of Media Relations.