By Okechukwu Anarado
AS 2016 draws to a close, the media is rife with speculations on Anambra State politics with its increasing tempo and burgeoning intrigues. 2017 provides the citizens of Anambra another opportunity to choose who governs them when Chief Willie Obiano’s four year tenure as governor rounds off on 18 March, 2018. Obiano’s constitutional entitlement to run for a second term and his expressed intent for such pursuit could explain the manoeuvres among some politicians to either covet the exalted seat or just scuttle his re-election. In all the positioning, however, the only certainty is Gov. Obiano’s candidacy under the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APAGA). Other demonstrations of gubernatorial intents largely lurk behind uncertain party platforms amidst lures of mercantile godfathers on the prowl. While ‘the rest of them’ find a common ground in vicious antagonism against Obiano, with Ndi-Anambra in discomfiture, the media world, particularly the social aspect thereof, would rather project hyperbolic bent in the unfolding plot than miss the theatrics it embodies.
Surely, the dominance of Anambra 2018 in conversations on the politics of the state is sustained for the wrong reasons. There are deliberate efforts from some quarters to subtly or outrightly undermine discussions and views on Chief Obiano’s government. They choose to rudely disregard the wide endorsement that Obiano has attracted for his achievement in making Anambra secure and continually improving the operational structures that have sustained the enviable position since he assumed office. They appear jubilant with the administration’s trailblazing feat of becoming a frontline industrial and commercial hub in Nigeria. The governor’s success in furthering the state’s excellence in the education sector, where the performances of both the students and teachers of the state have continued to attract laurels in national and international competitions, would not impress; neither would investors leveraging on the Governor’s business friendly acts and policies.
The most trenchant of hawkers of mischief are now on the prowl to malign the governor whose managerial expertise in financial matters have sustained the warmth in the state, despite the hardships consequent upon the national economic recession. Obiano pays workers before the end of the month. He recently introduced what he called Economic Stimulus: a package thoughtfully designed to soften the pains of the recession particularly among low income earners in the markets, parks and streets of Anambra.
This tendency became clear with the early emergence of these critics of the administration who lay no claim to dispassionate critiquing of its vision and mission. Cautionary as the early signals were, their sustained pronouncement of odium on an administration that has positively redefined Anambra by reinventing the dignity and pride of the people leaves regrets on its trail.
The alibis readily provided by the liberal windows of the cyberspace seem to permit this cult of politicians’ unlimited expression. And in giving vent to their selfish misgivings, governance could crash and state affairs go hellish: that Obiano may suffer blackmail and malicious damage. This attitude sharply disagrees with Bill Clinton’s eternal counsel that while ‘Criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy … we should remember that there is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government and the public servants’ on whose shoulders the weighty responsibility of the state’s sustenance rests.
Anambra people should be put on red alert. One of the recurrent contributory phenomena to political turbulence in the 25 years of the State is the sudden eruption of sour relationship between colleagues in politics. The ripple effects of such lack of understanding nearly wrecked the state in the seven years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s reign under Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinugu (1999 – 2003) and Dr. Chris Ngige (2003 – 2006). The above given, what, other than any of: lethargic temperament of many towards history; acquiescence of deliberate defamation of historical facts to serve the postulator’s whims; arrogant insincerity among a crop of political leaders, or a confluence of the above factors, would have unrestrainedly fed the prevailing controversy over the relationship between Gov. Obiano and his immediate predecessor, Chief Peter Obi?
If Obi did not only mentor Obiano’s current political headship of the State, but further entrenched the Governor’s comfortable abode in statecraft by a widely publicized N75bn bequest, how could such chasm as the one making the rounds today have developed between so popular a benefactor and a benevolent beneficiary? And if Obi solemnly swore to painstakingly search for a successor who would build on his (Obi’s) legacy for a greater Anambra, and indeed worked hard to insure the fruition of this dream, what bewilderment is spared everyone upon the rift between the twosome whose administrative trends have progressively nurtured the heritage upon which Anambra’s virile statehood is hinged?
Chief Willie Obiano has fared well in governance and statecraft, and all fair minded patrons of the state have an obligation to lend support to his commitment to a prosperous and safe state. Far from being doubtful of Obiano’s popularity among his people, I only insist that Anambra be spared the pains of deliberate misrepresentation of their governor by a few who have willfully opted to attack the person and the office of the governor of Anambra State.
Available records show that since Obiano took the reins of office on 18 March, 2014, he has not wavered on his convictions for good governance. Obiano does not need to dissipate energy on self defence. His detractors seek no rational reason. The people of Anambra should rather embrace Chinweizu’s clarion call to resist any plot that projects ideas that are ‘full of gaps and misleading pictures’; acts that are capable of driving ‘a perfectly fine right foot to strive to mutilate itself into a left foot.’
Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu, Anambra State