By Valentine Obienyem
AN attempt to set an agenda for the gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is like taking coal to Newcastle. I have followed his campaign with keen interest, I observed that he has set an agenda for himself, on the premise that Anambra State is broken down and needs to be fixed, and urgently too.
Perhaps, due to his training as a diplomat, Mr. Oseloka Obaze has kept his campaigns within civilised limits – no name-calling, no actions that will be interpreted as antagonistic to the government, no lies, and no intemperate use of language on those whose opinions differ from his – as is the practice of other campaign teams in the race.
In the beginning, many of us campaigned for Chief Willie Obinao, based on his official Curriculum Vitae. Today, we now realise the need to scrutinise CVs beyond their surface claims. Going by his attitude to governance, character traits, world-view; level of maturity – as could be seen from his permed hair and colourful, but campus-level shoes – I decided I will neither campaign nor vote for him for all the teas in China. All things considered, he has failed, rather woefully, in the basic task he was elected to do and still does not understand the dynamics of governance.
Conversely, I worked with Mr. Oseloka Obaze even before a glance at his CV. I can tell you that he is the kind of person we need in Nigeria for governance to blossom. It will be recalled that when Obiano was campaigning a little over three years ago, Mr. Peter Obi did all the talking for him.
Those of us who fell for the claims in Obiano’s CV and seeing him mostly taciturn, thought that with his “genius”, wisdom was portrayed through quiescence. All he did then was that after Obi had spoken, he would add: “all that Obi did I will do and add jara.” Then came a few dance steps, which we interpreted erroneously as light-heartedness.
The moment Willie Obiano became governor, things started falling apart. He spent over N5 billion to celebrate his first 100 days in office; and even before the June of his administration, books were written on him in classical display of vanity.
People began to wonder and ask questions.
Virtually all the activities of the Obiano administration have been spiced with lies; and examples abound. On what expanse of land did Anambra State cultivate so much Ugu (fluted pumpkin) vegetable leaves as to export N5 million worth – as he liberally advertised on print and electronic media? He also went on to boast that the state now produces over 200 metric tonnes of rice as well as eggs that will meet the needs of the entire South-East.
Recently, he leaped all over the place exclaiming Eureka as Archimedes did. What was it that he discovered? Apparently, it was a new formula by which yam is chemically or magically multiplied such that Willie Obiano informed a bemused audience that Anambra had orders to export 10 million tubers of yams to the USA.
In the meantime, everyone knows that over 80% of yams consumed in Anambra are from Taraba and Benue states. Let us not begin to imagine what the Governors of those states might be thinking about their Anambra counterpart.
Not done, Governor Obiano claimed his administration has attracted over US$7.5 billion investments to Anambra State. Even his associates and aides acknowledge that he has not gone beyond signing over 100 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for which he attached a value. Delusion and Clever do not have the same meaning.
Such is the deluge of mind-boggling lies and falsehoods that we have witnessed in Anambra State descending from development to degeneration under Governor Obiano. We need to rescue our State from him.
In the meantime, he is not even remorseful of his reckless spending of state funds as he has – despite the economic down-turn across the country – engaged hundreds of aides, majority of who are from his town. What society can hope to survive with such mindless nepotism and insensitivity? With his clansman as Commissioner for Works, the Obiano administration has completed over 35 roads in his hometown, Aguleri, but is yet to commence serious work on roads in other parts of the state.
Today, Obiano’s much-touted fly-overs are collapsing and have been barricaded on professional advice. As he celebrated the three fly-overs and yelled his love for Awka people, he evacuated the power generation meant for Awka to Aguleri – leaving the state capital the least rated nationwide in terms of energy supply.
The fore-going and many others are the reasons Anambra people want Oseloka Obaze. Obaze is trusted and tested. Hate him or love him, you are bound to acknowledge his competence and ability to see things from a higher perspective, the perspective of wisdom. I have seen his manifesto, which shows he is aware of the degeneration in the governance of Anambra State and is willing to be used by God to make things right in the state again.
The people of Anambra State need to reflect on their state at this time. Before Chris Ngige and Peter Obi, the state was a by-word for bedlam. What combination of forces and circumstances enabled Obi to set the state on the track of meaningful development? His confidence, good nature, audacity, prudence and astuteness were not enough, but it is people like Oseloka Obaze both when he was still in the United Nations Organisation, UNO, and as a member of the Obi administration that had positive, cathartic effect on him and his acclaimed performance.
In presenting Oseloka Obaze at this critical time, one must emphasise that in every civilisation, the time comes when old ways must be re-examined if our state must readjust to irresistible positive economic and political changes. Peter Obi started that process successfully, but Chief Willie Obiano stultified it by his failure to provide the statesmanship needed for its sustenance. We need an Obaze. Those who have worked with him, including me, know him as a roistering fire-brand in administration – the management of men and resources.