Written by Ezomike Ikechukwu
Governor Peter Obi is losing his enormous goodwill
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.