On Monday, April 17, 2017, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, featured on Odenigbo 99.5FM and took an unnecessary swipe at the Obiano administration. While one is not surprised at his comments on the programme because, as an opposition figure, he must be seen to be living up to expectation, especially as an election is in sight, one must, however, point out the litany of lies and half-truths he spewed to set the record straight and to properly guide public discourse.
Ngige had described Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano as “Governor-do-nothing.” He said the three magnificent flyover bridges in Awka are “bus culverts and monstrous obstructions” on a federal highway. He also said the state government had no right to put a barrier in the bridge. Also, he said the flyover bridges would soon collapse and that an APC state government would “pull them down.”
To say the least, Ngige should be ashamed of himself. By what he said, he has is confirmed the perception of many Nigerians that the APC government is a ‘pull down government.’ He should be told that this is the time to build up and not to pull down.
In any case, Ngige was only trying to be clever by half when he scored Obiano 50 per cent only on security, saying his administration, as governor, between 2003 and 2006, had a “better and more efficacious security initiative.” But is he denying that today Anambra State is one of the most secure states one can think of? Is it not known to everyone that throughout the month of December, during the Yuletide, there was no single shot fired by armed robbers, and no single case of kidnapping and other crimes in the state?
Ngige argued that Professor Chukwuma Soludo’s high rating of Obiano’s government was “politically motivated.” This is, to say the least, preposterous, as Ngige has no matching pedigree where Professor Soludo, a globally acclaimed economist, stands. When it comes to economy and administration, what does Ngige, a medical doctor, who abandoned his practice, know?
Ngige was not ashamed to say that he was the one that first came up with the idea of an airport in the state at Igbariam. He said former Governor Peter Obi abandoned the idea and that the one Obiano wants to build at Umuleri is overpriced, and shouldn’t have been a PPP arrangement. This is laughable! If he is asked why he did not build the airport, he would readily hide under the fact that he was removed from office. Then the next question should be: Why was he removed from office? The answer to that question reveals the fact that, indeed, Ngige is a failure, who should bury his head in shame for being sacked from office, as he never won the election.
Ndi Anambra have not forgotten that Ngige became governor through fraud, as confirmed by the Court of Appeal, Enugu, on March 15, 2006. His party then, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rigged him into power, but the court gave him the boot. Therefore, Ngige is a negative role model for our youths.
Anambra people remember the controversy over the alleged oath Ngige was said to have taken at the dreaded Ogwugwu Akpu shrine in Okija, for those who sponsored his election. This led to his abduction in July 2003 and the ensuing mayhem in November 2004, during which public property worth billions were destroyed, in a clash between his supporters and those of his estranged allies.
Acting true to type, he failed to rebuild the destroyed public property until he was sacked by the Appeal Court. So, the people have not forgotten that for nearly two years, Ngige left the state in ruins for devious reasons.
Indeed, Ngige denigrated and desecrated the office of the governor, as he was roundly humiliated, locked up in a hotel toilet and slapped repeatedly by his former political allies, all because of the lure for power! He personally made these scandalous revelations while narrating his ordeal after his abduction in 2003.
If Ngige were competent, why did he cringe and crawl to be sponsored to the detriment of the Anambra people? Many still recall that era with a sense of shame and regret. There is no way, Anambra people, known to be hard working and of a proud heritage, would go back to that era of servitude and shame! Never again!
When asked if he would run for the forthcoming governorship, Ngige’s fears came to the fore, as he said he hadn’t taken a final decision on the issue. But the truth, which Ngige himself knows, is that till date, he is seen as being synonymous with political crises and instability. Therefore, Ndi Anambra would keep avoiding him and his cohorts, like a plague. That was why he was roundly rejected, in his bid to return to the Senate.
The likes of Ngige cannot be entrusted with power and the destiny of Anambra state again. This is a man who was living in a two bedroom flat in FESTAC, Lagos, and managing a Volkswagen Beetle car before being picked up by Chris Ubah. But now that he has been helped to limelight, he now attacks Governor Obiano, who was a seasoned banker that retired as a executive director of one of the nation’s leading banks before entering politics, upon popular demand of the people.
In describing Governor Obiano as “Governor-do-nothing,” Ngige has again shown to the world that he is an unrepentant spoiler of good works. For it has been roundly acclaimed that Governor Obiano has taken governance to another level in Anambra State with a plethora of viable and credible projects scattered across the state. Currently, there are 181 projects going on in each of the 181 communities in the state under the “do it yourself scheme” involving N20 million investment to each community. And by June, another N20 million worth of projects would be awarded in each community under the second phase of the scheme.
No doubt, in the next one or two months, Governor Obiano would be busy commissioning these 181 projects across the state. This is one major reason the people are bent on re-electing him to the chagrin of the likes of Ngige. But the good thing is that they cannot change the reality.
Those who visit Anambra State easily see that things are working and the people are happy. Workers are being paid as and when due; roads are being constructed and re-habilitated, security is being beefed up, health facilities are being provided, and bridges are being constructed.
Last December, the Anambra State government paid the workers’ salaries on the 20th of the month; all leave allowances and pensions were paid on the 20th of the same month. So, there was no liability brought forward into 2017 and every civil servant in Anambra State received a bag of rice produced in the state.
It is this local production of rice that Ngige is now trying to rubbish.
Is the controversial ex-Governor Ngige blind to the fact that as at the time Governor Willie Obiano came into office, the production capacity of rice in the state was 78, 000 metric tons, but that today Anambra produces 230, 000 metric tons of rice? The records are there for all to see! Is he also oblivious of the truth that in the next two to three years, Anambra will become a net exporters of rice?
Ngige further argued that Governor Obiano’s claims on foreign investments and vegetable exports were “bogus and over exaggerated.” Good enough, his expression of bogus and over exaggerated betrays the fact that he acknowledges some progress made in that regard, but instead of giving the administration kudos he must try to attack it for puerile political reasons. Is he not aware that agriculture has received a major boost in Anambra State? Why is it difficult for Ngige to believe that Anambra now exports ugu leaf, spinach and bitter-leaf to Europe, which are now fetching Anambra solid foreign exchange?
We make these submissions with every sense of responsibility and at the appropriate time, we shall release the audio and video clips of Ngige’s public acknowledgment of Chris Ubah in his role in making him governor through the massively rigged 2003 governorship election in Anambra State.
•Prince Okpala, a political analyst, wrote in from Awka, Anambra State.