As we count down to the day of governorship elections in Anambra State Nigeria, we continue to review the events of the electioneering and the opinions of people on who goes into the government house, Awka come March 17, 2018.
Here, on voices, we read the views of Clem Aguiyi and the standard Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State, has set and the need to continue in that standard.
BY CLEM AGUIYI#
Mr. Peter Obi indeed left a big shoe for any would be governor of Anambra State to wear. Arguably, he is the best governor the state has produced so far. At the end of his eight year tenure in 2014, those that voted for continuity did so as an endorsement of his towering legacy.
The secret of Obi’s success was prudent management of resources and his clear understanding of the Millennium Development Goals, now Sustainable Development Goal which he then domesticated into Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). The lucky beneficiary of that endorsement was Chief Willie Obiano, the incumbent governor whom the lot to win or lose the November 18 Election falls on.
All Obiano needed to do was to show the same clear understanding of the Millennium Development Goals by sticking with the Anambra Integrated Development Strategy which was already running good and making desirable impact.
Interestingly, Obi had during his campaign for Obiano in 2014 made two promises to the people in the bid to cajole them to vote for Obiano. First, he promised to retire from active politics and the second was that if Obiano failed to perform, he will return from retirement to personally lead the campaign against him.
He took the hardest decision of his life when he bade APGA goodbye in preparation for his retirement. This was a party he built and nurtured. He was the face of APGA and anyone who is what in the party owed him some credit.
According to Obi, Willie Obiano has not performed well, nothing in his four years justifies his campaign for re-election and it’s important that the people see through him. But is this why he, Obi pitched his tent with PDP from where he is leading the campaign against Obiano?
I have heard the argument against PDP in Anambra who felt the party loyalist destroyed the state and burnt down state facilities in Onitsha and Awka. In my considered opinion, political parties does not burn government facilities. It’s not parties that perpetuate crime and corruption hence I do not argue against party A or B. Persons , people perpetuate crime and corruption including the destruction of government facilities. There is no party that I know that has arson or corruption in their manifesto. It is people that does those crime and we can hold the individuals involve accountable. When the arson happened , Obi was in APGA but today he is in PDP. Ironically the characters that committed the arson and destruction has decamped from PDP and now in APGA working for Obiano’s second term re-election.
What are Obiano’s sins that are unpardonable to Obi? In a private conversation with Obi two weeks ago he told me that he has nothing against Chief Obiano as a person but has everything against his leadership style which he says is mortgaging the future of the state. Anyone who knows Obi knows of his love and passion for education. He believes education is the best investment we can make for the future. Under his watch, Anambra was the undisputed leader in Education. For 4 consecutive years , the state took first in WAEC , first in JAMB, first in NECO and produced the overall best teachers in English ,mathematics and science. This was possible because he invested in education. For Peter Obi, it is only education that can help migrate the people out from poverty , ignorance and decease, change the value system and build a new generation of entrepreneurs hence he is vexed that all the achievements made in education has been reversed in less than three years due to poor funding. The state now manages a distant 7 and 10th positions out of 36 states. This for him is wrong and unpardonable.
Obi in our conversation vehemently denied demanding for N7 billion from Obiano’s government and instead gave details of what his government left in the coffer and suggested that the question begging for answer is what happened to the billions he left in liquid cash and investments.
Obi told me he left N2,139,951,400 billion in First Bank (Acc no. 2018779464) for Oko erosion; N4,909,576,925.98 billion in Sure-P Diamond account (0026290200); 1,782,568,032 billion in UBEC 1 Diamond account(0023484282); N2,101,864,766 billion UBEC 2 Diamond Account (0031151473); over N4 billion in many MDG accounts one of which was the N3,048,355,196 billion in Fidelity Bank (5030047097); over 35 billion Naira cash (set aside funds added) in all the banks,” He also showed evidence of $156 million lodged in the following banks as follows: Fidelity Bank ($56 million); Diamond Bank ($50 million); and Access Bank ($50 million). If left as Anambra’s Future Growth Funds as conceived by Obi, the money with interest and accruals would have been about N200 billion. He lamented that Gov. Obiano has sold all of them. He said it was one of the disagreements about the sale that led Mr. Oseloka Obaze to resign.
Obi wanted Obiano to justify before the people why he takes N1.2 billion as security votes, which is biggest in Nigeria relative to income and also given that Anambra is not facing any major security challenge. He challenged Obiano to mention on single infrastructure or security architecture that was added to the security of the state apart from what he Obi did along with individual community efforts. He said , he paid salaries to the community vigilante group managed by individual communities and provided them with training opportunities. He also gave each community brand new trucks fitted with communication gadgets for fast patrol and seamless communication. He challenged Governor who boasts security as a major achievement to mention one single thing he has contributed to the states security infrastructure apart from collecting N1.2Bn every month as security votes.
He accused the Governor of having vired all the money in the MDG accounts, with which schools and hospitals get monetary and development support to his security vote. Who does that?
He accused Obiano of lying to the people of the state especially with the phantom $5 million ugu export as example. He reasoned that as a seasonal vegetable, at least ugu would be exported once every year, but now, going to two years, nothing is heard about it again. How can Anambra get the order to export 10 million tubers of yam when over 80 percent of yam consumed in Anambra state come from Benue and Taraba states? How can Anambra be producing over 200 metric tons of rice, when even Stines company source rice from Ebonyi state?
Obi accused Obiano of signing over 100 Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that are not functional and dismissed the claim that Obiano attracted $7.5 billion investment to Anambra state as unimaginative. Instead of the governor to develop Awka, the capital of the state, he only built three falling and cracking flyovers and evacuated 50 percent of the power meant for the capital to his Aguleri town which now enjoys 24 hours power supply while the capital is darkness. He also accused Obiano of allegedly relocating the on-going stadium project in Awka to his Aguleri town.
He said his support for Oseloka Obaze was because if Obiano is re-elected, he would successfully liquidate the state and the people will not forgive him and his conscience will let him sleep , but that November 18 gives him and the people the chance and opportunity to reclaim the state and begin anew. He describe Obaze as being instrumental to the success of his administration. He said the state need a governor who is not lazy or one that will be easily swayed by the spoils of office. He described the choice of Obaze and Onyemelukwe – nee Ekwueme as buy one get one free, given that both are competent. He assured that Obaze will run for one term , after which it will be the turn of Anambra South.