Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Oba Uche Ikedigwe, chieftain of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has eulogized Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra for the good works he is doing in the state. He also urged the governor to double his performance in his second term because the people have absolute confidence in his ability to lead them to their envisaged Promised Land. He urged the people of the state not to allow their conscience to be swayed with monetary inducement in the 2019 general election. He also said the era of moneybag politicians dictating the lead is gone, saying, “we will not allow a return of that era to our state again.”
How will you rate Governor Obiano’s performance in Anambra State for the past four years?
Governor Obiano is doing very well in office. I see him as a serious-minded and focused leader that does not have time for anything that will not have positive impact on the lives of the people of Anambra State. I like his style of leadership. As an opposition leader, he has redefined opposition politics in Nigeria. Honestly speaking, Governor Obiano is a rare gem destined by God to salvage Anambra people from deceitful leadership. If you follow Obiano up, you will discover that he is a stickler for truth and that his words are his bonds. He does not indulge in deceitful actions. Our people are solidly behind him because they know that he is reliable and trustworthy. Our people also know that Governor Obiano came to serve and to deliver dividends of good governance to them. He has justified the confidence reposed in him by Anambra electorate and you know about the Igbo popular adage that says “when a road is good, people will follow the road the second time.” Anambra electorate’s massive vote for Governor Obiano on the November 18th election is aimed at rewarding him for the good works he is doing. In the history of Anambra State, no governor has ever won the 21 local governments in an election, but Governor Obiano achieved that feat because he was able to use his first term mandate to execute developmental projects in the whole communities of Anambra State.
Anambra people are truly happy because Governor Obiano is doing what they expected of him. Our governor has done well in all sectors of governance, especially in the areas of security and agriculture. As of today, a lot of our wealthy businessmen have gone into farming because Governor Obiano turned it into a lucrative sector. For instance, Cosmas Maduka, chairman of Coscharis Motors, Emeka Okwuosa, chairman of Oil Serve, Dr. Emmanuel Egbogah former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and many others are big farmers in Anambra State. They keyed into Governor Obiano administration think home initiative and invested millions of dollars in Anambra State agricultural sector. On security, Governor Obiano stays awake watching over the people of the for them to sleep peacefully and comfortably with their two eyes closed. Another area Governor Obiano did very well is in the area of investment attraction. He attracted close to three billion dollars investments to Anambra State in his first tenure. This is truly a commendable feat. So in all honesty, Governor Obiano came prepared to deliver dividends of good governance to the people of Anambra State.
As Governor Obiano is being sworn in for second term, what advice do you have for him?
My advice is that he should know that to whom much is given much is also expected. The expectations of Anambra people from him are high and he must endeavour to actualise that expectation. He should keep up the good works he is doing because doing that will endear him more to the people of the state. I will also advice him to ensure the completion of all the projects started by him before leaving office. This issue of inherited projects is becoming a serious issue that is being exploited by predecessors against their successors in office. It happened in Anambra; when Governor Obiano completes a project and commissioned them, Peter Obi’s praise singer will claim that the project was Peter’s initiative to score cheap political point against the government. Currently, President Muhammadu Buhari suffered the same fate after the commissioning of the Kaduna standard rail gauge project. Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Senator Ben Murray Bruce from Bayelsa State had verbal altercations in the media over that commissioning. So if Governor Obiano can endeavour to complete all projects started by his administration before handing over to his successor, it will be an unforgettable landmark achievement. Our people will remain forever grateful to him for doing that. It will be an enviable and difficult to beat legacy. I will not fail to commend him for making budgetary provisions for the conduct of local government election in the 2018 budget. His decision to conduct local government election is really commendable. It is a proof of his sincere desire to ensure grassroots development.
You are an APGA chieftain that hails from Anambra Central, what is your take on APGA’s landslide victory in the rerun election that was held on January 13th, 2018?
The Bible says what is written is written. APGA was destined to emerge victorious in that election. It is said that ‘weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning.’
Chief Umeh, the APGA candidate for that election travelled a tortuous road to retrieve his stolen mandate and his efforts have been crowned with a landslide victory. An Igbo adage says that any person that raises up something that belongs to a child, that when the person hand starts paining him or her that the person will bring down the hand for the child to collect that thing.”
This is exactly what happened to Victor Umeh. Our people voted massively for him because they know that he will replicate what he did at the national conference for the people of Anambra Central. He will give the people of our zone effective representation at the Red chamber. I thank Anambra Central electorate for casting their votes for Victor Umeh. As at today in Nigeria, he is the only senator that achieved the commendable feat of clinching victory in the whole of his local government hence the reason why we his well wishers have nicknamed him 7/7 Senator. I believe that whatever that is worth doing is worth doing well. Victor Umeh has paid his dues in Anambra politics and he deserves the reward he got from Anambra central electorate. You cannot talk about the success of Mr. Peter Obi as Anambra governor without mentioning the contributions of Victor Umeh and the same thing is applicable to Governor Obiano.
What is your rating of INEC’s performance in the last November 18 election?
The current INEC leadership is doing excellently well. I will narrow my judgement of their performance to the last November 18 Anambra governorship and Anambra Central re-run elections. As far as I’m concerned, the two elections were the most transparent elections in the history of this country. The democratic choice of Anambra electorates was allowed to count in those elections. Recently, an erudite lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) gave INEC a pass mark for conducting free and fair election in the nation. I agree totally with him. INEC leadership as it is constituted currently has won the confidence of the electorate with their unbiased role for the deepening of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. They are living up to people’s expectation and this is truly a departure from the past fraudulent practice when INEC officials connived with electoral fraudsters to rig elections across the country.
My advice to INEC is that they should use the template they used in conducting Anambra elections to conduct the 2019 election. Another commendable precedent that was set by former president Goodluck Jonathan is that of good sportsmanship. Our people now go into elections with the spirit of a good sportsman that is ready to accept the outcome of the election as far as the election is free and fair. This has reduced electoral litigation and also gave the winner of the election the opportunity to concentrate on fulfilling campaign promises to the electorate. Honestly, if our politicians will do the same in 2019, it means that our democracy has come to stay. So I’m giving the Prof. Mahamoud Yakubu INEC leadership kudos for doing a good job for Nigerians. They are pro-Nigerians that are defending the electoral decision of Nigerians.
What advice do you have for the people of Anambra State?
They should keep supporting Governor Obiano’s administration because their support will serve as an encouragement to the Governor. All hands must be on deck for the betterment of our State. Another advice I have for them is that they must make wise choice in the forthcoming 2019 general election. They should not allow their conscience to be swayed with monetary inducement. A repeat of what they did for Governor Obiano in the last November 18th election is what is expected of them during the 2019 general election. The era of money bag politicians dictating our leaders is gone in Anambra State and we will not allow a return of that era to our state again. We will always ensure that our leaders from House of Assembly, to House of Reps and to the Senate must be elected by us the electorates, so that they will represent our interest.