From Chinedu Obigwe
Ahead of the 2017 governorship election in Anambra State, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Sir Norbert Obi, has declared that there is no vacancy in the Awka Government House currently occupied by Governor Willie Obiano.
According to him, Obiano has done well in the last two years and three months and the people of Anambra State are ready to willingly give him a second tenure.
He, therefore, said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) boasting to take over Anambra State in 2017 was just a wishful thinking as Obiano’s projects would speak for him during the campaigns.
He also dismissed the claims of a former commissioner in the state, Joe Martin Uzodike, said that Obiano has not lived up to expectations as governor, and had refused to refund campaign funds he owed former Governor Peter Obi, saying that Uzodike only chose to stand the truth on the head. Excerpts:
As the state chairman of APGA, the ruling party in Anambra State, what is your assessment of Governor Willie Obiano’s performance in office?
I will score Governor Obiano 100 over 100. The incontrovertible fact is that Obiano has done excellently well in the last two years and three months in office. He has redefined governance in Anambra State. As at today, our state has become a reference point for good governance in Nigeria. The other day President Muhammadu Buhari lashed out on some state governors that are not paying civil servants salary. The president emphatically stated that it is a shame that 28 states in Nigeria are oweing their workers backlog of salaries. Now, if you remove 28 out of 36 states in Nigeria, you will be left with seven states and Anambra happens to be among the seven states in Nigeria that are paying their workers salary as at when due. To me, this is an evidence and proof that Governor Obiano is a prudent manager of resources. Now, let me talk about other sectors; on the security sector, Anambra State can be described as the safest state in Nigeria courtesy of Governor Obiano administration’s zero tolerance of criminality. Governor Obiano took the bull by the horn to stamp out insecurity in Anambra State. Today, Anambra is investor’s choice of destination. With the crushing of insecurity, Obiano’s administration attracted close to $3 billion investment to the state. On Agriculture, the governor has invested heavily in that sector and today Ndi-Anambra are reaping the benefits. Under the governor’s watch, we now have what is known as Anambra rice, stone-free rice. Anambra State is now into the exportation of vegetables to Europe. A lot of agricultural grants are being given to farmers for empowerment. On roads, I can authoritatively tell you that Governor Obiano’s administration has flagged off the construction of 40 roads that are spread across the state. Some of these roads have been completed; for example, the PHCN road Awada, and some other roads within Anaocha Local Government Area. He also continued the construction of all road projects he inherited from his predecessor. These are verifiable facts. Some of the road projects he inherited from his predecessor have been completed and subsequently commissioned. Obiano is a man that abides by his promise. He came into power with continuity pledge and he has not reneged on this pledge. Today, anybody that visits Awka, the Anambra State capital, will agree with me that Obiano is truly delivering democracy dividends to Ndi-Anambra. Our state capital is now wearing the look of a befitting state capital. The three flyovers constructed by APGA government at Awka can be referred to as APGA government signature project. So, what I’m saying in all honesty is that APGA is proud of Governor Obiano’s administration performance under these two years and three months in office. Space is my major constraint if not I would have reeled out all the achievements of the governor that we as a party articulated. All that I said now is just a tip of the iceberg on APGA government achievement in Anambra State.
A former commissioner in the state, Joe Martin Uzodike, in an interview with one of the dailiy newspapers recently accused Obiano of failing to meet up the obligation as governor, as well as refusing to pay back funds allegedly used by Mr Peter Obi to bankroll his election? How would you respond to this?
As a matter of fact I read the interview you are referring to and to be frank with you, Joe Martin Uzodike deceitfully twisted facts in that interview to score cheap political point, and I least expected him to run his mouth so flippantly. I just finished reeling out Obiano’s administration achievements under two years and three months which exposed Joe Martin Uzodike’s deceitful assertion that Obiano has failed to meet up the obligation for which he signed to become governor of Anambra State. Another picture that he painted about the governor which was another big lie was the picture of his being a pauper that has no dime before becoming Anambra State governor. We all know that Obiano has garnered working experiences in reputable institutions internationally and locally. He retired as an executive director of Fidelity Bank, so in this regard; he cannot be referred to as a pauper. Obiano is a man known for his honouring agreements and he is doing that in Anambra State with the fulfillment of the social contract he entered into with Ndi-Anambra. He was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Akpokuedike by the people of his community because he is a man whom his word is his bond. All the smear campaign of calumny against Obiano’s administration will not pitch Ndi-Anambra against Obiano because the governor is living up to their expectations. Ndi-Anambra will never support Obiano to please individual interest against public interest. So, any decision taken by Obiano’s administration in protection of public interest will continue to enjoy the support of Ndi-Anambra. APGA will also not support the governor to use funds accruing to the state to satisfy the stomach infrastructure appetite of some politicians in the state that are playing god. We will support the governor to continue using Anambra money to service public interest.
APC recently boasted that it will take over Anambra in the forthcoming 2017 governorship election?
Their boast is a mere wishful thinking. It can be likened to the proverbial elephant passing through the eye of a needle. As I said earlier, we are proud of Governor Obiano’s achievement in office and I can assure you that his achievement in office will fetch our party second tenure. There is no any iota of truth on the allegation by APC that Obiano is planning to use Aguleri boys to win the 2017 governorship election. Such allegation can only fly in their warped imaginations. I condemn the attempt by Anambra APC to label Aguleri youths as political thugs. You and I know that on the election day, the governor will be in his ward like every other person and nobody is allowed to move around on that day. This allegation by Anambra APC is purely a ploy to use APC-led Federal Government to militarize Anambra State on the 2017 governorship election day. But the plot is dead on arrival because they have Ndi-Anambra to contend with on that day and not Aguleri youths. When the time for campaign comes, our party will embark on issue based campaigns. We will tour the nooks and crannies of the state showcasing Obiano’s achievement to Ndi-Anambra. APGA government selling point in Anambra is our performance and nobody can take that away from us. It is said that when you praise a man for doing good, the praises will spur the man to do more. Governor Obiano is God-sent to Ndi-Anambra. He is obviously on a mission to alleviate the sufferings of our people. May I also laud his administration’s initiative of earmarking N20 million for projects in each of the 177 communities in Anambra State. This shows that Ndi-Anambra future are secured with the governor and for this reason Ndi-Anambra will use the 2017 governorship election to appreciate his good works in the state by giving him their mandate for a second tenure.
What is your advice for Anambra opposition leaders?
Well, they should know that the blood that unites us together as brothers and sisters is stronger than the politics that divide us. They should eschew politics of bitterness and pull him down at all costs syndrome. The task of developing this state should not be left for the government alone. Let them contribute their own quota of support for the betterment of our state. This habit of blackmail and mudslinging will not help them. We need all hands on deck to move this state to a greater height. A word is enough for the wise.