It was Ify Unachukwu of the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) who put the question to me. We were at Igbariam in the Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State. Governor Willie Obiano had just commissioned the first phase of the Lynden Integrated Farms, a sprawling, N15 billion poultry farm set on 75 hectares of land, the largest such agricultural facility in the South East geo-political zone.

Operating optimally, this farm is expected to produce some five million birds a year, and 540,000 high-quality eggs every 24 hours, creating 350,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect ones. With automated feeding and waste disposal processes, maize for the birds’ feeds will be exclusively produced in Anambra State. It is another striking example of the public/private partnerships of which Governor Obiano’s administration has become the main exponent.

It was against this background of superlative achievements by Governor Obiano that Mrs. Unachukwu asked what advice I had for his traducers, people who daily shower him with howls of execration, brazenly denying his unsurpassed achievements in governance, and irrationally insisting on fixing what isn’t broken? I looked straight into the lens of cine-camera in my front, my interviewer’s microphone nearly touching my lips. “I say to those calumniating Governor Obiano, the folks that claim that white is black, while black is white, to continue,” I responded. “In the fullness of time, the supremacy of truth shall be enthroned.”

My interviewer probably expected me to counsel the deniers of reality on the urgent necessity to back off. I thought differently because, in the Igbo country, it is held that no one advises an adult to flee the sun’s heat. When its darts begin to puncture holes in their cranium, they would scram!, and seek refuge und some shade. That is precisely what is beginning to happen in Anambra State. There existed a motley collection of naysayers that occupied the media space, hollering and coveting the political power that, in a democracy, should only be available through the people’s mandate. Today, this miserable group has dwindled to something like half a dozen, still vociferous to be sure, but increasingly sounding like a cracked record. This hapless residue of political negativism was administered an overdue coup de grace on February 27, 2017 by the Anambra North Peoples Assembly (ANPA), when it adopted Governor Obiano as its candidate for a second term of office

Public/private partnerships

This development is especially significant. Many associations and groups – of arganized labour, towns’ unions, students’ bodies, market women and sundry organizations have, at various times, pronounced their endorsement of Governor Obiano for a second four-year term of office. The case of ANPA is, however, unique because it is a broad-based movement composed of stakeholders from the seven local government areas of the Anambra North  Senatorial District. ANPA consulted widely. It sat through several sessions. It set up a high-level committee headed by elder statesman Dr. Tim Menakaya, a former Federal Minister of Health, with a mandate to vet and assess the credentials of all gubernatorial aspirants from Anambra North and recommended a sole candidate for the November 18 governorship election. After exhaustively assessing all aspirants, the Menakaya Committee turned in the name of Chief Willie Obiano as the Senatorial District’s choice to fly the gubernatorial flag.

This recommendation was contained in a motion moved by Chief Mike Areh, a political stalwart from the district, and seconded by Mr. Obinna Emenaka, the member representing Anambra East Constituency in the State Assembly. Dr. Menakaya told newsmen that Chief Obiano’s enviable achievements as Governor made him an obvious choice for a second term, a man fit to continue the direction of Anambra’s affairs for an additional four years. His position was supported by Mr. Gabriel Onyenweife, the APGA member representing Oyi/Ayamelum Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, who said that Governor Obiano had done so well in three years that he deserved a second tenure. It is important to note that the Federal legislator’s viewpoint echoed the position of all members of the State House of Assembly from Anambra North who are also staunch ANPA members.

It is now left for those still burning in the sun of political delusion to seek shelter under the shadow of reality. It is in their best interest to quickly board the Obiano Train before it chugs off the platform and roars in the general direction of a second, well-deserved term. It is, of course, not difficult to explain Chief Obiano’s dramatic success as a Governor, for he took to heart the enduring words of Marcus Tullius Cicero who memorably said that, “The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law.”

The state, which previously doubled as kidnappers’ fiefdom, has hardly recorded any cases of kidnapping in over two years.

There is no walk of life in which Anambra State is not excelling. It unchangeably leads in NECO and WAEC examinations nationwide. It leads in sporting events nationally and internationally. The icing on the cake is the promptitude with which salaries, pensions and gratuities are paid. That is why, from all corners of the state, the refrain is that Governor Obiano deserves a second term of office to consolidate his remarkable legacy. They must borrow a leaf from elsewhere, because Anambra State, the Light of the Nation, cannot take the back seat in progressive ideas.

Look at Abia State. Governor Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia North) was Governor for eight years – 1999 to 2007. He was succeeded by Governor Theodore Orji (Abia Central) who served from 2007 to 2015. The incumbent Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is from Abia South. Take Enugu State: Governor Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East) was in office from 1999 to 2007. He was succeeded by Governor Sullivan Chime (Enugu West) who was in office from 2007 to 2015. The incumbent Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is from Enugu North. Witness Delta State: Chief James Ibori (Delta Central) was Governor from 1999 to 2007. He was succeeded by Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta South) who was Governor for eight years – 2007 to 2015. The incumbent Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, is from Delta North. Rotation is the practice everywhere. Its other name is Equity.

Until the emergence of Chief Willie Obiano, Anambra North never produced a Governor. His predecessor from Anambra Central was in office for eight years. Before him Anambra South had produced three Governors in the personages of Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Chief Andy Ubah. ANPA is saying that, for Equity’s sake, Willie Obiano deserves a second term, to give Anambra North its due of eight governorship years. It is commonsense to allow Chief Obiano, a subscriber to the highest law of the People’s Welfare, to CARRY GO! The argument is unimpeachable. There is no changing a winning team.

Mr. Iloegbunam is Governor Obiano’s Director of Media Relations.

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