Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Former governor of old Anambra State, Sen. Jim Nwobodo yesterday took a swipe at the new generation governors in the country, lamenting that their greed has become excessive.
Nwobodo who appeared moody because of the maltreatment the masses get from those they entrust with leadership wondered what the political office holders would do with the kind of wealth they amass for themselves while in authority.
Speaking in his Amechi Awkunanaw country home, when his kinsmen of Amechi and Obeagu communities visited him to complain of the forceful takeover of about I097 hectares of their land by the previous government in the state, urged those in government to know that power is temporary.
He said, “If you have any sense of decency you will know that this job you are doing is temporary, this job of governor is temporary, one day you will be former and you will not do what you are doing.
“When you are in government, know that one day you will be out and you will be an ordinary person and somebody you have offended can meet you on the way, stop you and slap you, so you should be very careful. You are asked to come and serve, serve peacefully, be fair to everybody, take everybody as an individual, give them their due respect. The work of the governor is about service.
“People you don’t know, old men and women, weak and strong people, rich and poor, blind people, people you have never met before entrust you with the right to govern them, look after them, do you think it’s fair and right for you to use that opportunity to amass wealth? Take everything belonging to them because you have power? No. And that is the problem we have in Nigeria today, we have problem because people get to power and become larger than life. I feel that we should learn to be humble.”
While reacting to a question on land grabbing common among governors especially in South-East, Nwobodo noted that as a governor of the old Anambra which metamorphosed into three states now he never acquired any land for himself not even in Onitsha, with high commercial value.
He said, “You want to use your position to amass wealth, take everything belonging to them (the people) because you are in power, it is sad. You must try to be humble. Think about the old men and women who will stand from morning till night in the sun to vote for you. You cannot take their money because it is cheating on them.
“They trusted you with everything they have to look after them and you will come and take their money. This land thing is a very serious matter that should not be joked about. It is not politics. There are people whose parents, grandparents are buried in this land and you come and take their land without telling them on the guise of building a centenary city. What manner of centenary city? It is not fair. I gave out only 318 hectares and you have now increased it to 1097 hectares. It is bad.
“This power is temporary. The power of the governor is temporary. When you are being sworn in you think the world is now at your feet. One day it will end and you will become an ordinary person and when you steal their money when they see you on the way they will say this is the man that stole our money.
“Tell me I don’t have all the facts, but the mere fact that a governor can sit down and take one billion, three billion, five billion and 100 billion, that is not the kind of governorship we want. It is not good for us.
“Why are you amassing all the wealth and for whom? You should use it for helping the poor people, the people that voted you to power and make sure that you build factories for them, build schools for them. It is not fair and so we should start electing those we can trust.”