National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Victor Ike Oye, has said that the achievements of Governor Willie Obiano in three years, as Anambra State governor have surpassed that of his predecessor, Chief Peter Obi.
In an interview with VINCENT KALU, Dr. Oye said that under Governor Obiano, Anambra had become the most secured state in Nigeria.
He called for true federalism as panacea to the problems retarding the development of the nation.
Few months from now, Anambra will go to the polls to elect a new governor. Some people are of the opinion that it would be hard for Governor Obiano to return, what do you say to that?
Ordinarily, I don’t respond to such comments, because tomorrow belongs to God.
However, Governor Obiano has performed beyond everybody’s expectations, and the people of Anambra State are very happy with him, and they have promised to reelect him.
In the real sense of it, Obiano doesn’t have any competitor. All those people masquerading don’t have anything to offer Anambra.
This is a governor who is paying salaries, pensions as at when due, and has paid gratuities up to date, and has been developing the state at terrific speed.
In December, he awarded 111 new road contracts, and he is doing about 109 road contracts left by the former administration. He built three magnificent flyovers in Awka, and he has installed streetlights in all the major roads in the state.
From Amansea Old road, there are streetlights all the way to Onitsha. There are streetlights all over Nnewi, Awka and Ekwulobia. So, he doesn’t have competitors for the coming gubernatorial election.
Look at Anambra agrarian policy. The state is doing very well in agriculture. As we speak, it produces 230,000 metric tons of rice, and the governor inherited less than 70,000 metric tons of rice. By the end of this year, the state will surpass its internal consumption of rice, which is 240,000 metric tons of rice.
We have a contract to supply five million tubers of yam to America. The state exports pumpkin (Ugu) and other vegetables to Europe.
The governor is educated and is well travelled, and so, he is bringing new ideas into the governance of the state.
Anambra is the most secure state in Nigeria today. No armed robber, no kidnappers can survive in the state. Last December, over 3,000 exotic cars came into the state and left and none of them was burgled; nobody was kidnapped. It is a beautiful state now, and investors are trooping in. Foreign investment into Anambra is about $4.8 billion, and more people are coming. We have one shop investment company called Anambra State Investment Promotion Agency (ASIPA), which is responsible for foreign investment into the state, and it is made up of technocrats. The chairman is a former IMF president and other members were managing directors of big banks.
Obiano has vision, and is a team player; he is charismatic, credible and pragmatic. These are the five qualities of any successful leader, and he possesses them.
Who are the people coming to take over from him, what are their pedigrees? These are political contractors and jobbers, who are looking for opportunities to protect their business interests in Nigeria.
In the real sense, the Anambra voters don’t even know them.
You said Obiano has performed beyond everybody’s imagination. Former governors Chris Ngige and Peter Obi were performers, where do you place the present governor among his predecessors? Ngige is in APC, while Obi is in PDP.
Obiano is the one that is current, the other ones have expired. In three years, Obiano has surpassed what Obi did in eight years. The records are there. What Obiano did in three years is more than what Obi did in eight years.
There is infrastructure revolution going on in the state. Are you playing with security? Before Obiano came, Anambra people were doing their weddings outside the state, because of fear of kidnappers and armed robbers. Today, everybody is trooping home to celebrate one ceremony or the other. Obiano made it happen; before it wasn’t possible.
Obi did well, as well as Ngige. We give credit to them. Obi came and did his best and Obiano came and he is doing better than Obi.
There are two parts of a structure, you have the superstructure and you have the substructure. The substructure is the foundation, and you have the superstructure, which everybody sees. Obiano is the superstructure. What Obi did cannot be seen, as much as what Obiano is doing. Obi is the foundation on which Obinao is building. We give credit to Obi. It is in the spirit of continuity that we are witnessing the infrastructure revolution in the state.
Last year, Anambra State government awarded N20 million contract to every community in the state, it was do-it-yourself project, and we have 181 communities in the state; each of them got N20 million, and the contractors and the workers must come from the community. It is a way of empowering the people. During his third anniversary, he’s going to award another N20 million contract to the 181 communities in the state – that is, the second phase. It is a way of catalyzing the development of the rural areas.
God just brought him to revolutionise the development of Anambra, and the people are very happy and the best way they can pay him back is to return him to office to continue his good work.
Do you think UPP is going to give your party a stiff fight in the South East, especially with regard to the Biafra issue, which it has made part of its campaign?
UPP doesn’t have any root in SouthEast. Nobody is more Biafran than we are; we went to war, we fought a war and we survived the war, survived the carnage and the pogrom in the North.
All these people making noise about the war didn’t see the war; we do not advocate another war one bit.
Anybody particularising on IPOB and MASSOB to cause disaffection is wasting his time, because we know the true Biafra. UPP doesn’t exist. Where are the personalities in that party?
Is APGA happy with the economic situation in the country, and what is the solution to this problem?
We are optimistic that things will be better someday. We should continue to have faith in God and support the government of Muhammadu Buhari.
If PDP had won the 2015 presidential election, do you think things would have been better?
It could have been worse. What we are going through today had been there for a long time. It didn’t just happen overnight; the decay in the system has been there even from the time of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, it just exploded now.
Buhari came at the wrong time; if he had come earlier, it would have been better. He came at the peak of economic crisis, when everybody was already going down. There was this patching and covering up the problem, but today everything has been uncovered, and we have seen the decay in the system.
It would have been worse if PDP had continued. Nothing happens in life without God. God knows everything, and if He had wanted PDP to continue he wouldn’t have allowed Buhari to come up. Every leader comes at a time for a particular reason; God has a reason to have brought Buhari now. We must always pray that God’s Will be done. In this country, we over-rationalise and at times, we play God by our utterances and actions.
I have absolute faith in what God can do for me and the nation, and if we allow God to work, He will work for Nigeria. Let us have faith; no gain, no pain and we must pass through this crucible this time before Nigeria can regain its lost pride. We have a price to pay, and there is no way we pillaged the economy and the resources of this country, and would not pay a price before we get it back on ground.
People have forgotten that for every action, there must be a reaction; and action and reaction are equal and opposite. Why are people complaining? The same people who looted the country are the same people complaining.
People are clamouring for restructuring, what is your party’s position on this?
Nigeria is too big to be restructured overnight. I advocate true federalism. If we have true federalism, it will heal our wounds. The whole hullabaloo in the system is because there is no fair play; there is no justice, especially in the distribution of our national wealth.
If you do justice to every segment of the society, Nigeria will be better. There is no need to restructure; you cannot balkanize Nigeria as people are postulating. The country is bigger than any group. What we need do is very simple, bring everybody together, and look at the problem plaguing our collective development as a people, and begin to tackle them.
Where you assign portfolios to only one segment of the society is not allowed in true federalism. We have the Federal Character Commission, and it should be allowed to work.
We have report of the last confab, which met in Abuja. This report has not been implemented. It should be implemented, because billions of naira were spent on that project. The government should release a white paper on the report of that committee.
If we allow this country to be properly structured in terms of true federalism, you don’t need to balkanize it to reach the apogee of development.
If we continue to gloss over the problem of this country, we will continue to go down, and we can never be developed; we can never be united, and we will only be seeing the promised land, but we can never get to it.
But if APGA is given the opportunity to govern this country, you will see what leadership is all about. We have solution to every problem of this country, but we have not been given the opportunity.
Let us forgo infighting, ethnic chauvinism, religious bigotry, and begin to work as a people, and look into our collective agreement, identify our problems that are retarding our development as a nation, and then find solutions to them, then the issue of agitation for autonomy by the various tribal groups will end.
So long as these problems are allowed to fester, then the issue of agitation for autonomy will continue to grow, and it will be very difficult to ensure development in such a hostile environment.
What are IPOB and MASSOB fighting for? They are looking for social justice and social equality. That is all what they are calling for and oncesthat is attended to, you will see that the issue of agitation for Biafra will disappear.