Anambra: November 18 and Obiano’s brouhaha, By Onwesi Okonkwo

Posted by News Express | 18 May 2017 | 1,978 times

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•Governor Obiano.

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State is on the rampage. He fights everyone who he perceives as a threat to his re-election bid. His Anambra State, South-east Nigeria, goes to the poll November 18, this year – to elect another governor for another four years, in tune with the prescription of the Nigeria Constitution.

The governor thinks it is incumbent he stays put. And not just that, he fights virtually every suspected obstacle to the realisation of his dream: Senator Andy Ubah, Hon Tony Nwoye, Oseloka Obaze, Obinna Uzoh, etc.

Recently, Obiano sponsored a bunch of hirelings to go to Abuja and demonstrate against Senator Ubah. This is because the Anambra governor is afraid of the Aguata senator, who, having joined the All Progressives Congress (APC), is likely to contest the party’s primary, preparatory for the November 18 governorship election.

Similarly, Obiano spearheaded the publication in the social media of several articles which, to say the least, contained a lot of unprintable things about Nwoye, Member, House of Representatives who, in fact, represents Obiano’s federal constituency at the National Assembly. The spurious articles accuse Nwoye of every imaginable crime, not the least, murder. Why this? It’s because Obiano is afraid of losing the next Anambra State gubernatorial election to this promising young politician from Omabala area of Anambra State.

One can go on and on to show several other write-ups which Obiano has masterminded against numerous Anambrarians who want to take a shot at their state’s governorship race, or who are likely to assist his real or imagined political opponents to defeat him.

Perhaps, the latest of such inanities is the article which appeared on the back page of Daily Sun Newspaper of Friday, May 6, 2017. Entitled Et Tu, Chris Ngige?, and purportedly written by one Zephaniah Ekwegbalu (only God knows whether there is any such name at the Anambra State University, Igbariam, where the writer claimed to have written from), this piece wonders why Dr Chris Ngige, former governor of Anambra State and current Minister of Labour and Productivity, should “be carried away by the so-called federal might” at his disposal.

Nigige’s “offence”, according to this piece, is among other things, that the “All Progressives Congress (APC) must conquer Anambra State in the November 2017 gubernational election.” What is “awful” about this statement? Hasn’t a chieftain of a duly registered political party the right to remark that his party will win an upcoming election in his state, or anywhere else for that matter? What has “federal might” got to do with this? Did the federal “might” of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan (and his People’s Democratic Party) prevent Obiano from winning the Anambra gubernatorial election in 2013?

Is this statement credited to Ngige more “awful”, to use Ekwegbalu’s words, than the innumerable attacks meted out by Obiano’s attack-dogs on the APC-led Federal Government, ex-governor Peter Obi (Obiano’s benefactor) and governorship aspirants in other political parties?

Another “offence” mentioned by Ekwegbalu was that the medical doctor-turned politician also stated that once the APC takes over the reins of government in Anambra after the November election, it will “pull down” the three flyovers loosely hoisted at Awka by Obiano. In this particular case, one should expect that rather than being vilified, Ngige should be commended for stating the obvious. It is no longer a secret that the pillars and floors of what has come to be regarded as the “treacherous flyovers of Obiano” are a death trap. Not a few engineers duly accredited by the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) have confirmed this.

Surprisingly, Ekwegbalu would compare these fraudulent structures at Awka to the magnificent work done in Lagos by Julius Berger. Does one compare oranges with apples?

 Ngige spent three years in office and transformed Anambra State from a jungle ruled by armed robbers and assassins, to a modern state characterised by good roads and other infrastructure. Can Obiano tell the people of Anambra State how many kilometres of roads he has done in the same three years which, incidentally, he has spent? The only roads that can be credited to him are the ones done in his native Aguleri by armateur contractors who burn asphalt on the road, thereby constituting environmental hazard.

It is common knowledge that no sooner was he sworn in than he hurriedly did a bridge, again in his native Aguleri. The cost of that bridge still sends jitters down the spines of Anambrarians. To add salt to injury, Aguleri was again chosen for the building of Tansian University Teaching Hospital. For the first time in history, a teaching hospital was built when there is no College of Medicine in the university!

Political analysts are agreed that as far as Obiano is concerned, Aguleri is Anambra State and Anambra State is Aguleri. From his kitchen in the Governor’s Lodge to Government House, over 90 per cent of those he appointed in office are Aguleri people, most of whom are poorly qualified for the jobs assigned to them. They include former hair dressers in Amukoko, Lagos, fish/yam sellers at Ikotun-Egbe market Lagos, and a retinue of ex-cab drivers in the United States of America, as well as a handful of yahoo-yahoo boys. The yahoo-yahoo boys are those who are demolishing the houses of people who refuse to pay for Obiano’s re-election. This ugly incident – the demolition of houses of innocent people happened at Nkwelle Ezunaka, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State last week. It should be noted that Obiano, who has financially wrecked Anambra State through his knack for squandermania, does not have the moral high-ground to castigate political titans in the state.

A political liliputian who quadrupled his security vote and that of his wife; and awarded a whopping N400 million contract for the construction of a helipad at Onitsha General Hospital to the president of Aguleri Town Union (US), had better park his belongings away from Anambra State Lodge. He has turned governance upside down and must be chased out come November 18.

An ingrate who is as loquacious as he is promiscuous should not be given a second opportunity to ruin Anambra State. From criticising Ngige, he veered off into castigating the doyen of Anambra politics and the pathfinder of Ngigbo, Mr Peter Obi, who made him. Yes, it was Peter Obi who single-handed raised Obiano from the stupor occasioned by his drunkenness to limelight.

Obiano (through Ekwegbalu) gives the wrong impression that Obi and Ngige are at daggers-drawn. Nothing can be farther from the truth than this false claim. Ngige visited Obi while the former was in office, contrary to the view expressed by Ekwegbalu in his sponsored article. Ditto for Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who has no axe to grind with Obi. All these people are responsible and polished, unlike Obiano whose empty pride and arrogance beclouds him from having a vision for Anambra State. Perhaps, his only contribution to the economic growth of Anambra State will be the petrol station which his wife, Ebelechukwu Obiano, is hurriedly setting up on the conspicuous Awka – Enugu road (near Nnamdi Azikiwe University. Heavens know from where she gets the money to build this otherwise gigantic petrol station. Thanks to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), she will be called upon to make some clarification some day.

Elsewhere (in the social media), Obiano hires Uzonna Ononye of the Silverbird Group to attack his chi (personal god), Peter Obi, CON. This is not surprising though. Is Ononye not one of those from where His Excellency “bought” the much-publicised Silverbird Award? For the information of those who do not know, the payment for the Silverbird Award was made in both cash and through several  hectares of Anambra  State land to the awarding company. Uzonna Ononye played a prominent role in that transaction.  

Uzonna holds that Obi employed several people in the wake of his exit from Anambra State Government, thereby placing added financial burden on his successor. This argument does not hold water, because Obi left a whopping sum in Anambra’s kitty to cater for the new employees. If Obi did not leave more than enough money, how could Obiano have recruited more hands (though all were Aguleri people) afterwards? Obiano has been able to pay the salaries of the multitude of political appointees (most of whom operate from Ukpaka and mango trees) simply because Obi saved a lot of money.

As for the reference to Obi’s conduct of local government elections, there was nothing problematic about that. Local Government funding comes from the Federal Government for that tier of government. Victor Umeh’s conspiracy with some political opponents had stalled Obi’s intention to democratise the grassroots earlier in the life of his administration. At a point, it became a court issue, no thanks to Umeh’s connivance with the enemies of progress. At another time, Umeh who asked to state the cost of the election, quoted a rather outlandish sum because, for him, there was “no point in being prudent with money that accrues from politics.”

It is time Anambrarians called Obiano to order and advise him to face governance, rather than mounting campaigns of calumny against political heavyweights of Anambra State.

He should be told to stop being desperate about his re-election bid. After all, he never in his wildest imagination had fathomed he could smell Government House, Awka.

•Onwesi Okonkwo is an Aba-based political commentator.

Source: News Express

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