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When Peter Obi was campaigning for the governorship election he created for himself an image of a business expert with the capacity to magically transform Anambra state hence Anambra people had a very high expectation, even when Ngige came in through the back door and was doing some good works people were still wishing that the person they gave the mandate should come and take them to the next level.
In March 2006 that dream came through and everybody celebrated the dawn of a new era for massive transformation and realization of the Anambra of our dreams. More than five years after he became governor the high expectations of Anambra people (that made Peter Obi to almost become a religion) have not been met. It is not that Peter Obi’s government has not recorded some notable achievements (especially in the area of rural development- currently about 6 bridges are at various stages of completion) but there is huge expectation gap which so far he has not been able to meet; but for Ngige Anambra people did not expect much from him hence he easily surpassed their expectations.
For example in the Education sector, during his campaign Peter Obi told us that Anambra school system will be transformed to the extent that even his kids will come back and school in Anambra state. Even though there is some piecemeal approach to rehabilitate some school buildings but till date there is no standard secondary school in Anambra state that is worthy of governor’s children; I am not demanding that his children should come back to school in Anambra but can the governor beat his chest today that there is one secondary school in Anambra he can send his own child to. I almost wept the day I saw the state of Anambra state University late last year. Please( for the sake of the children whom he preaches that he loves) let Anambra State Executive Council visit Gombe State University so that they can have an idea of how a state university should look like( Gombe is not an oil producing state hence no excuse of Gombe having more money). It did not take Gombe State government large percentage of their yearly budget to build the university; it only took vision, political will, modest cost of government contract and sincerity.
When Peter Obi came in 2006 he told us that Awka the state capital is an emerging slum, people were happy two years later when he announced that the master plan for Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha is ready; that he will transform these cities to standard cities that will be a model in Nigeria (people’s expectations went very high again), almost three years later there is nothing to show that any form of master plan is being implemented, buildings and shops are still being build indiscriminately in Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi and none of these cities are illuminated at night.
Anytime I pass through Onitsha in the night(from 8pm) from Asaba it looks so deserted that it always seems as if the Biafran civil war was still on or that it just ended. Onitsha has not been able to achieve its full potential as a commercial hub because it functions only for 12 hours unlike other commercial cities that function for at least 18 hours; this is because there are no social infrastructures to support it to function up to 18 hours like a normal commercial city. This is same sad story for Nnewi that should be the manufacturing hub of Nigeria.
There is still no visible improvement in the social infrastructure of Awka the Anambra state capital, even the Awka stadium and the golf course projects have been abandoned despite the promise of this government to complete all ongoing projects since March 2006.
People always marvel at how Peter Obi (almost on a weekly basis) will pass through Enugu and sometimes Owerri, Asaba and even Umuahia and still be comfortable with the poor level of infrastructure in Awka. The only means of relaxation known in Awka is beer parlour (that is why an average male resident has pot belly- which is not healthy); there are no sports complexes, recreation parks, cinema etc
Till date there is no plan of fulfilling the promise made by Peter Obi to put Anambra state on tourism map by developing of Agulu Lake and Ogbunike Cave into major tourist sites in Nigeria. Also the Ikenga Hotel owned by the government in Awka has been left to rot away; government should have privatised it or concessioned it to private sector to manage (even Protea hotels manage smaller hotels than Ikenga Hotel).
I believe that three years that is left of his government is enough to make amends and be on the same page with Anambra people again; if His Excellency can take time off and do a self appraisal.
Ezomike Ikechukwu, Public Affairs Commentator Lagos Nigeria.
A popular English proverb, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" has become a bellwether to rate leadership but it looks like the governor of Anambra is a contrarian to the prevailing proverb. Recently His Excellency Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was reported in the news that he wants to quit politics for good because his popularity is waning. The reported news has not been vetted or verified but if it’s a true story this may qualify as the lamest joke of the century. Why will a leader that was supposedly an emerging political figure quit as the polity gets hotter? Peter Obi’s brand that was marketed to Anambrians was rooted on commitment and felicity. Therefore the Peter Obi that wants to chicken out and metamorphosed into a cry baby was not the image of the governor that was propagated. Without a doubt the people of Anambra especially the voting public send a strong message to Governor Obi and his party APGA. A message of rejection at polling stations that made APGA to loss elections that it supposed to win. The showing was so poor that Governor Obi and his APGA were defeated at his own very market square of Anambra Central senatorial zone by ACN. The disappointment was so high among his well-wishers, political observers and friends because APGA do not need to make too much appeal to the people of the state to get their votes. Obi put up a gallant fight when his governorship mandate was stolen from him, many people of the state – young and old, rich and poor including farmers, market women and wine tappers accompanied him to court and he eventually secured his mandate. Even when he was wrongly impeached the people supported him and shown him their commitment by voting for him for the second term after the ordeal. If Obi is truly a committed leader he must stand up and be counted not running away. The vulnerabilities and problems of Obi are numerous as holes that riddled Swiss cheese and coupled to it the absence of Dim Ojukwu made him to carry the weight of APGA that ultimately broke the Carmel’s back. All his political opponents become more aggressive and the political intensity even more vicious as they notice the weakness of his administration and its vulnerabilities. Anatomy of his vulnerability commenced at a point when Peter obi‘s administration began to take a new shape and a new direction that was leading him away from the hearts of the people. His administration began to take the people for granted and all the promises he made to the people were gradually receding and the light of hope he once lighted grew dimmer and dimmer. Now instead of the governor attending to the local needs of the people he became infatuated with national politics at the expense of his people. The governor was elected by Anambra State citizens and not by the voters outside the contours and boundary of his state. The great American politician, late Speaker Tip O’ Neil used to say that are, "All politics are local" for "this phrase which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office." And failing to yield to this principle of common-sense, that's where the governor failed.
A popular English proverb, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going" has become a bellwether to rate leadership but it looks like the governor of Anambra is a contrarian to the prevailing proverb. Recently His Excellency Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State was reported in the news that he wants to quit politics for good because his popularity is waning. The reported news has not been vetted or verified but if it’s a true story this may qualify as the lamest joke of the century.
Why will a leader that was supposedly an emerging political figure quit as the polity gets hotter? Peter Obi’s brand that was marketed to Anambrians was rooted on commitment and felicity. Therefore the Peter Obi that wants to chicken out and metamorphosed into a cry baby was not the image of the governor that was propagated.
Without a doubt the people of Anambra especially the voting public send a strong message to Governor Obi and his party APGA. A message of rejection at polling stations that made APGA to loss elections that it supposed to win. The showing was so poor that Governor Obi and his APGA were defeated at his own very market square of Anambra Central senatorial zone by ACN.
The disappointment was so high among his well-wishers, political observers and friends because APGA do not need to make too much appeal to the people of the state to get their votes. Obi put up a gallant fight when his governorship mandate was stolen from him, many people of the state – young and old, rich and poor including farmers, market women and wine tappers accompanied him to court and he eventually secured his mandate. Even when he was wrongly impeached the people supported him and shown him their commitment by voting for him for the second term after the ordeal. If Obi is truly a committed leader he must stand up and be counted not running away.
The vulnerabilities and problems of Obi are numerous as holes that riddled Swiss cheese and coupled to it the absence of Dim Ojukwu made him to carry the weight of APGA that ultimately broke the Carmel’s back. All his political opponents become more aggressive and the political intensity even more vicious as they notice the weakness of his administration and its vulnerabilities.
Anatomy of his vulnerability commenced at a point when Peter obi‘s administration began to take a new shape and a new direction that was leading him away from the hearts of the people. His administration began to take the people for granted and all the promises he made to the people were gradually receding and the light of hope he once lighted grew dimmer and dimmer.
Now instead of the governor attending to the local needs of the people he became infatuated with national politics at the expense of his people. The governor was elected by Anambra State citizens and not by the voters outside the contours and boundary of his state.
The great American politician, late Speaker Tip O’ Neil used to say that are, "All politics are local" for "this phrase which encapsulates the principle that a politician’s success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office." And failing to yield to this principle of common-sense, that's where the governor failed.
American President John F. Kennedy once said, "Failure is an orphan, but victory has a thousand fathers," and with the recent concluded elections in Nigeria, this may be applicable to the Governor of Anambra State of whom the center of his political life may be falling apart. His party All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) did not perform to an expectation in his natural turf of Anambra State. Not only did the party not win any of the three senatorial zones in his state, APGA whom Peter Obi is the most visible and highest elected officer in the land could only win 13 out of the 32 seats in the state house of assembly.
People especially those who were keen observers of political trends in the state and in Nigeria were highly disappointed with lukewarm performance of Peter Obi’s APGA. Most of these people were putting the blame and misfortune of the party squarely on the feet of the governor. They alleged that he did not care for the welfare of the party and lately the wellbeing of Anambrarians, for he is waiting according to them, for the appropriate time to jump boat into another party preferably the ruling PDP.
But the right question must be asked before the right answer is rendered. Why did people of Anambra State deserted their beloved APGA and voted for another parties, not just voting for PDP but for ACN?
The speculation is that Governor Peter Obi and his party has disappointed the people with their stoic development blueprint and its erratic implementation. Anambra State deserves a serious attention not on pages of newspapers but on making affirmative differences in lives of the people of the state.
The entire Anambra real estate is poorly managed; people living in urban cities of Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka are being overrun with debris and darkness. At nights the Anambra State becomes one big village thriving in darkness and devoid of functioning street lights.
Instead of talking to the people and finding out how to improve their lots and wellbeing, the government is busy wasting time and money on mass media and public relation. When the people feels neglected and nobody listen to them, they will have the last laugh on the ballot paper on the Election Day. Simply put, the people of Anambra State have rejected the government of Peter Obi and deserted his party at the polling stations because they felt neglected.
One thing we can learn from this development is the gallant and the big heart of Anambra voters. The voters are not ideologues but are pragmatic people who are willing to make a change when they deem necessary. The voters to their credit are not emotional on the grounds that they must vote for APGA because it is their ‘own’. The voters are so much matured politically that they voted for the individuals that will make a difference respective of the political parties.
As people commenced to have a negative perception of Governor Obi, they remembered another politician and a former governor that gave a decisive leadership, making them walk a little taller by building ample roads for them in dark period of political turbulence in the state. The man is Dr. Chris Ngige, he ran for senate on the platform of ACN, in spite of the negative campaign heaped on him, the voters came out and supported him and he won.
The point here is not to say that Peter Obi and APGA are finished politically in the state that cannot be a fair assessment. Hey! there was a time when Governor Peter Obi and his APGA was the darling of Anambra voters, and they can still turn around and makeup. But if there is a next time around the people must be taken more seriously and their loyalty and trust not taken for granted.
Governor Peter Obi must return to work of being an effective governor and shun the hunger to engage in national politics. One step after another, first get the job done and the accumulated achievement will speak for itself nationally.
Obi is Anambra State's man
When Henry Kissinger was the United States Secretary of state, Germans refer to him as ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means ‘Our own man‘ because Henry (Heniz) Kissinger to them is not just only a German American but a favorite one. Governor Obi is ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means in Igbo language ‘Onye nke anyi’ because he respects and honors the people of his state. Obi is truly a son of the soil.
Governor Obi is tenacious, decent, respectful and self-made man a quality that personifies what it really means to be Anambrian and son of a soil. He has made the people of Anambra State proud, for he tendered a leadership that differentiated him from the antecedent governors of the state. For one thing, he is serious with his job and he is determined to leave a legacy of successful governance.
But all things being equal, he will not be absolved from constructive criticism. When and if we do that we are not being fair to him or our self. One thing for sure, Obi is equal to the task and the best thing he expects from us is not to be milling around him, asking and begging for contracts and handouts. Alas, he wants us to help him build Anambra state, which we all can be proud to call our home.
To his credit and his commissioners, they have a comprehensive blue print for Anambra State development. By this his administration does not concentrate on a project but simultaneously undergoing many projects. The downside is that no single project is fully enhanced, nor greatly accomplished. In addition, the blue print lacks creativity with regards to generating local revenues.
For instance the collection and disposal of solid waste/debris in commercial city of Onitsha has not been fully achieved or instituted due to lack of fund and superior management. The environmental deterioration of Onitsha continues to worsen due to unattended littering of trash and rubbish in every nooks and corners of the city. In spite of the effort of Obi's administration the ditches and gutters are still teaming with debris and pollutants that readily contaminate the ecosystem. And such an environment breeds misquotes and subsequently malarial diseases have never been subsidized.
During the campaign for re-election, Obi promised to transform Onitsha into a modern city. This is a tall order and credit must be given to him for his vision. For a modern city to be realized and becomes functional some basic social amenities must be present .These social amenities and infrastructures must include electricity, tap drinking water and a functional sewage treatment plant.
In case of electricity, we all know quite well it is under federal government jurisdiction but nothing stops the state government from not acquiring solar light panels and safe the streets from total darkness at nights. The government of Delta State was able to light streets of Asaba before Onitsha Head Bridge with solar light panels; therefore it can be done. No more excuses!
Governor Obi has embarked on provision of water boreholes to provide drinking water. But instead of investing limited resources in digging water boreholes, it is better to find ways to resuscitate the abandon Onitsha Water Works and others around the state. Moreover some of these water boreholes are exposed to hazardous metals (Arsenic, lead, Boron etc) together with ecoli bacteria and radioactive elements can be life threatening and carcinogenic.
When children drink untreated water that is exposed to nature occurring pollutants it may result to diarrhea and cholera even death. The boreholes water is not treated nor chlorinated to make it healthy and safe for human consumption.
At the dawn of 21st century there should be a plan to set up waste water treatment plant in Anambra State where sewage and wastes are treated before the release into the ecosystem. The human and animal wastes can be treated properly into manures that will be utilized for farming.
The most important function of a government is to protect life and property. The mal-enterprise of kidnapping threatens the pursuit of life and happiness in Anambra State. The massive unemployment among the youths in the state do contributes to kidnapping and armed robbery. Although that the federal government control security apparatus, the state government cannot totally absolve itself when it comes to the provision of jobs to the youths. It may not be the function of government to provide jobs rather to create a secured environment with less criminal activity for capitalism and free enterprise to thrive and succeed.
Anambra state could be creative with its initiatives and improvise on new ways to lower down joblessness among the youths. The government can create environmental corps whose function would be to patrol the state and pick up trash. These corps will be mandated to issue violation tickets when citizens violate environmental rules and regulations. And the revenues they generated can sustain their salaries and employments.
Although the government of Anambra State will complain that there are no resources and funds to carry out these projects. But the most important thing is the willpower and willingness to initiate a change. Start from somewhere and who knows what will happen next. The Chinese philosopher Lao Zi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS
His Excellency Dr. Peter Obi: The Executive Governor of AnambraState
His Excellency Comrade Oshiomhole: The Executive Governor of EdoState
These Gentlemen are democrats who respect the rule of law. When they were shut out from the office of governorship after clearly winning the elections, they took the high road. Instead of taking the laws into their hands, they pubscribed to democratic pathway and took their cases and grievances to the court. They were vindicated and their mandates were restored. These men needed to be acknowledged for their exemplary actions and courage. Democracy and rule of the law which are the building blocks of peaceful society were enhanced which commenced to rearrange the rough terrine of Nigerian politics.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNORS
His Excellency Mr.Babatunde Raji Fashola: The Executive Governor of LagosState
His Excellency Mallam Dr. Ibrahim Shekarau: The Executive Governor of KanoState
It was beginning to take a shape in the minds of Nigeria that environmental integrity of the nation is without consequence to a sustainable well being of a nation. Governor Fashola introduced a detailed program of solid waste management in LagosState. The trash and debris littered in the streets are collected and disposed properly and efficiently.
As for Governor of Kano he has the vision and common sense to embark on the integrated and comprehensive waste management project and this will immensely reduce littering on the ecosystem of KanoState. A neat ambience will reduce and depopulate mosquito and guinea worm and diseases in the state.
THE AGRICULTURAL GOVERNOR
His Excellency Dr. Bukola Saraki: The Executive Governor of KwaraState
On agriculture and industrial farming, the governor of Kwara has done a lot of good things to launch a modern farming mechanism. First and foremost he created the conducive environment that attracted indigenous and international investors and talents to agriculture. Agriculture becomes the means to provide jobs to the youths and jobless in his state. Kwara state has become a bread basket for Nigeria and West Africa. The most important that Nigeria must do is to find a means to feed her bulging population and Dr. Saraki is in the vanguard of fighting and defeating hunger in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.
Vox populi, vox Dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God. Governor Peter Obi has been reelected and the victory goes to the people of Anambra State of Nigeria, whom inspite of the obstacles turned out to elect the candidate they believed in. In a free society, power comes from people and the people have spoken. Democracy is about the market of ideas and the person that is able to convince the electorate wins the election.
This is a fresh and new mandate for Peter Obi; obviously he was distracted in his term with interrupted impeachment and trials. But with this victory the people have spoken and empower him to lead them for the next four years. This is not time for revenge or resting in his laurels but an opportunity to complete what he has started. A time for hard work; A time to talk less but definitely a time for action and to deliver the promises he made to the voters. The people put their destiny and trust in the hands of Governor Obi and he must reciprocate by doing the people’s business.
The possibility that Anambra State might live up its motto: The light of the Nation – is emerging. The politics of Anambra State might spearhead the revitalization of Nigeria’s polity. Let’s get this right, nobody is saying that the election was a utopia without hitches. But far from the truth, this is the best so far and this is a good beginning. There was absence of violence and intimidation at the polling stations. Although there were some hiccups especially with the absence of names of the voters together with the lateness of some of the polling stations. But we can make a fair assessment by generally saying that election was credible. Yet there remains a room for improvement, as this can become a foundation to build on. The INEC can learn from this as a case study as they get ready for the 2011 general election.
Governor Peter has to be humble at his victory and he is a thoughtful person. He should extend his hands of amity to his competitors and invite them to aid in building a great state. The campaigns and election are over and time to start planting crops has come! There are many challenges, problems and opportunities in our state. Governor Obi has to take the bulls by its horns and live up to the expectation and mandate from the people.
There are numerous problems in the Anambra State which begs for leadership and pragmatism. First and foremost, he must tackle issue of kidnapping and armed robbery enterprise. The most important function of a government is the protection of life and property. The governance must be creative in arresting unemployment that is culprit to the criminal behaviors. Public sector does not necessarily create jobs but formulate policy and liberalize environment that enable private sector to create jobs.
The pressing issues of erosion gullies must be confronted before it reclaim a sizeable landmass of the Anambra State. This is a serious matter and must treat as such without politicization and polarization from the federal government. The proliferation of water boreholes is not the panacea to paucity of safe drinking water. The new government must embark on provision of tap water in the rural and urban centers. The digging of the soil for water wells might increase the vulnerability of the soil to erosion. The underground water might be exposed to the toxic and hazardous nature-occurring materials which is carcinogenic.
Let us not forget Onitsha the commercial nerve center of Anambra state and indeed Nigeria. During the campaign Obi promise to transform Onitsha to a functional city; Yes! We must hold him to his promise. The management of solid waste collection and disposal in the city must be upgraded. The littering must be controlled with reliable best management practice. The new government must institute a modern sewage treatment plant and operations not just in Onitsha but in the rest of the state. The state may not have the adequate resources for all the projects but the most intrinsic social capital is the political will.
Due to inefficiency of the electric power authority, neighborhoods at nights were engulfed with coagulated darkness: Therefore the street lights of Anambra State especially Awka and Onitsha should be powered with inexpensive solar panels.
The people of Anambra State have suffered long enough in the hands of poor leadership and mismanagement. This is the time for liberation. With the support and loyalty of the people, Governor Peter Obi is capable of delivering and this is the beginning of a new day. May God Bless Anambra State, Nigeria!