There is a growing belief among Anambra people that theirs is truly God’s own state and that God, in fact, comes from there. Anytime some people want to prove that they are bigger than their states because they are rich and have connections in Abuja, God humbles them.
Consider Patrick Ifeanyi Uba, a serving senator. He had served as chairman of the Anambra State Football Association for years and his tenure ended on August 2. His tenure actually ended in April but was extended by 90 days. Still, he wanted to remain in office by all means. Another sit-tight African politician.
When he scheduled an election into the Anambra State Football Association on Monday, July 27, and another the next day into the Local Football Councils (LFCs), both in Awka, the COVID-19 hotspot in Anambra State, the state government objected because it was a flagrant violation of the COVID-19 law banning elections in the state, as part of the strategy to fight the pandemic.
Ubah, who should show exemplary leadership as a lawmaker, rather than a law-breaker, ignored the state government and proclaimed himself the elected chairman of the association. Not even the strong condemnation by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) of the defiance and the so-called election as an “act of brigandage” could make Ubah budge. He encouraged his supporters and radio station to keep on referring to him as the association’s chairman in the state.
The good news is that the Anambra State Football Association (AnSFA) now has a caretaker committee, which was inaugurated on Thursday, July 30. Ibrahim Gasau, a member of the NFF board and the chair of the chairmen of football associations performed the ceremony in Awka, on behalf of the NFF president, Amaju Pinick. The caretaker committee will be in office for three months, and will work closely with the Jude Anyafulu-led electoral committee to conduct a transparent election into the AnSFA as well as an election into the LFCs.
Governor Willie Obiano has already granted the six-man committee audience and used the occasion to announce that Awka Township Stadium is being developed into Awka City Stadium, which will be ready within 11 months. He even hinted at the ceremony last Saturday that the state would get its first female club to be known as Anambra Babes. He also announced the establishment of a male football club to be known as the Anambra Bombers Football Club. Dr. Emeka Okeke, chairman of the caretaker committee and proprietor of Aspire Football Academy, which clinched the 2020 Anambra FA Cup, was quick to point out that Chief Obiano has provided the state’s football association with a befitting office and a beautiful bus to make things easier for them.
Anambra is really on the move. It is making progress everywhere. Not even the provocative acts of a few wealthy individuals because of the November 2021, governorship election have created any crisis in the state. It remains Nigeria’s most peaceful and cohesive state.
Like most Anambra people and, indeed, Nigerians, one wonders why some rich individuals in Anambra State are so unruly and lawless and cocky and showy. They are so full of themselves, even when they are indebted to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria to over N150 billion and are owing their workers, including journalists and broadcasters, for over one year. Will the heavens fall for them, if they have the kind of money available to Aliko Dangote, Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, Mike Adenuga and Tony Elumelu as well as Femi Otedola? Do these showy Anambra people seek money to help their people or to oppress their people? Though slavery was abolished several decades ago, there are individuals in present-day Nigeria who have the tendencies of slave owners and crave to behave like them in the modern world.
Let money men in Anambra State stop behaving like the legendary bull in the china shop by doing all manner of things to grab political power. There is almost an endless list of men and women from other parts of the country they can learn from. They can learn from such fantastic fellow Igbo elements as Leo-Stan Ekeh, Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis, Chief Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company, Chief Frank Nneji of ABC Transport, Pascal Dozie, etc. As President Muhammadu Buhari counselled Prince Arthur Eze at State House, Abuja, last Friday, he should see himself as having reached the age of being considered a statesman and start using his wealth to create businesses and employment for his people.
God will keep on fighting for the people of Anambra State. We trust in him. And he has never disappointed. Therefore, we will always glorify and magnify his name. Anambra State will always be the Light of the Nation.
•Ibeneme is an estate developer in Onitsha, Anambra State