By James Eze ([email protected])
As the Anambra State gubernatorial election draws closer, there are indications that the governor, Chief Willie Obiano, remains the popular choice across the state. Different segments of the society, including opinion leaders and the masses, have at different times given him their endorsement, leaving no one in doubt that the coming election may, in fact, have been decided, if the entire process were to be free and fair.
The fascinating thing about the wide endorsements that Obiano has garnered is that people who admire his style of governance and his stellar performance in the past three years go beyond Anambra State. Here are some of the very important personalities and opinion leaders who believe that Obiano has done tremendously well and should be given a second term.
Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth: “There are many leaders who have visions. But there are very few leaders, the world over, and, when I say the world over, I’m sure you know that I have had interaction with many countries around the world. There are very few leaders who have strategic capacity. And there we have in Anambra State, a leader who has strategic capacity. I am always pained that Anambra State, endowed as it is with human resources, people who have attained great heights not just in Nigeria but all over the world, but if I may talk about Nigeria, it was very striking that when Nigeria celebrated its 50th Independence anniversary and the federal government decided to recognise 50 people who were deemed to have made outstanding contributions to the development of the country, that Anambra State had five of the 50. And yet Anambra State, until very recently, didn’t have much to write home about. Until very recently, Anambrarians had 80 per cent of their assets invested outside Anambra State. For me, that’s a very embarrassing situation. But you couldn’t blame them because in Anambra State they didn’t have the grounds for bringing back their investments. But that is changing and changing very fast under Governor Willie Obiano. He is creating the basis for investment in Anambra State. He is creating the basis for attracting Anambrarians to come home and play some role, and they are feeling very safe. That is something we should broadcast to our people all over the world. I would say jidekwa k’iji! I suspect that when you say to somebody that he should hold on to what he or she is doing, it means that he or she is doing very well. So I say, jidekwa k’iji. And, finally, on behalf of the aging group that I represent here, I want to thank you, Your Excellency, for the excellent work you are doing in our state and indeed when I go to other states you have given me the reason not only to be proud but also to boast.”
Ifeanyi Ubah, PDP gubernatorial aspirant in the coming election, who spoke at the special evening in Lagos on February 19, 2016, where Governor Obiano gave his account of stewardship to Anambra indigenes resident in Lagos, said, “Tonight, we have all seen from the documentary that we watched why Governor Obiano is The Sun Governor of the Year. I contested the gubernatorial seat with him and it was a keen contest. But what we want is the progress of Anambra State. I am not a sycophant. I have seen that Governor Obiano is not a greedy governor. He is a contented man. Contentment is the key word. Let’s move the state forward. We have so many great men in Anambra State. The time has come for all these great people to rally round the governor so that we can build our state. It is time that we all remember that Anambra is our own and a journey of a million miles starts with a step and a step in the right direction is supporting the government to move the state forward. So, Akpokue, I congratulate you for the award you will be given tomorrow. Don’t be afraid. God is with you. I will support your second term bid.”
Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, speaking in an exclusive interview with Sunrise Magazine: “He has been described as an incidental politician. He’s more of a technocrat. He comes from the private sector with a very strong managerial background. I think he’s brought that to bear. He has come up with a vision for Anambra State, a strategic direction, thinking beyond the four years term is statutory in the country and he’s trying to create an Anambra State that will continue to blossom 50 years from now. I think, if you look at the areas that he’s focused on, attracting investments to Anambra State. You have to create the enabling environment for investments to come. So, he is doing quite a lot in that direction.”
Ben Obi, former Presidential Adviser and PDP stalwart: “He has certainly made a remarkable mark in the governance of the state and some of us believe that he has used his professional expertise to bear in the success that has been recorded in the last two years. You know that we don’t belong to the same party but the fact remains that one can testify to some of the good things that he is doing and I wish him well.”
Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education and co-founder of Transparency International, speaking at a Special Evening in Abuja in July last year, where Obiano gave his account of stewardship, said, “I do want to recognise three points that came out as I watched the presentation. The number one point is the power of integrated thinking when it comes to development. The idea is that nothing can be treated in silos. So, everything that has to do with all the sectors to find a home in certain indicators that are important.