Endorsememt For Obiano

Ejike Anyaduba
Not long after the results of the 2013 governorship election in Anambra State were declared, a friend of mine visited. She came amidst worries over the turn of events. Exuding no geniality and completely void of her characteristic warmth, she expressed fears that the incoming government might not deliver. She was skeptical the administration does not have the experience and political will to contend with peculiar challenges of leadership in the state. Every effort to convince her otherwise failed as she kept muttering the fear of possible relapse into the era when nothing positive worked in the state and everything untoward happened to it.       
Eighteen months on, and with the fear far from materializing, my friend has recanted her opinion. She did not do so while on another visit. The renunciation came at a ceremony in the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka when the school hosted a team of researchers from McDonald Institute of Archeology, Cambridge University. The team had earlier visited Anambra state and was at the University to fraternize with the academia. Just before the close of the session, my friend sidled up to me in greeting. As the team made to leave for the Institute’s gallery at the base of the building, she pulled me by the cloak and with almost a blush said: “You were right that guy (the governor) is bespoke for the job. I am afraid I misread his breezy nature for lack of will to weather political storm in Anambra and still deliver on good governance”. Surprised, I asked her what has changed since our last discussion. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait to hear her out as I almost hurled myself out of doors - in time - to catch up with the team. At that point she yelled out greetings to the governor. I was flushed with joy.     

It is important to state that there have been a lot of endorsements for the governor in recent time. And the good thing about them all is that none was secured by persuasion and or inducement. The endorsers are convinced the governor has worked and is still working hard to change Anambra and make it first choice destination for investors and tourists. Even skeptics, those who did not support the governor out of political differences, have since denied their positions. Until very recently, the Willie is working and ndi Anambra are happy slogan was thought to be one done perfunctorily. But the sloganeers are sincere and do not chant the slogan just to keep up with the Joneses. Perhaps in much the same way prominent citizens of the state have continued to support the government. A case in hand was the last stakeholders’ meeting where the governor presented his scorecard to ndi Anambra. It gave a bird eye view of the effort of the government at uniting and building bridges among contending interests in the state. Notwithstanding obvious gains from the meeting, detractors still imputed other meanings to it.

I read somewhere on the net where the picture taken by the governor and ex-governor Chris Ngige at the event was subject to a lot of interpretation. Detractors seem disturbed by possible closeness between both men. Truth however is that Obiano earned the support of virtually every Anambra person, including Ngige, just few months into office. Prompt security of lives and properties was all the government needed to do to endear itself to the people. I recall a lot of people, pleased by this effort, almost offered to work for him to be in power even for a third term. Such is the acceptance of the administration which successfully brought sanity to the state. Ngige has earlier shown support to the government through discussions and in writing. A reporter and his friend once told me how the ex-governor asked him to visit Obiano if he has not done so and experience the man’s honesty. The ex-governor had also written in defense of Obiano in the Guardian newspaper when the governor was erroneously blamed for the Oyolu Oze/Church dispute.

It is fair to argue that the government has done so much in security, investment, infrastructural development, health, agriculture, commerce, welfare etc, under two years, to earn it support across party lines. To the discomfiture of detractors, Obiano’s government has effectively combined holistic development with welfare - an uncommon development witnessed only in a few states. But more than that, it has also maintained a certain level of fidelity in keeping promise. Such promise would probably suffer redemption under another governor. But Obiano has proved he is of different hue politically. He has kept the promise not to sack any of the civil servants employed almost at the dawn of the administration. He has also kept the promise to increase salaries of workers once the state IGR improves. Finally, he has kept the promise not to owe salaries of workers no matter the dwindling federal allocation to states, and to do so promptly. He has done all of these and more. 

 Unfortunately, the effort is yet to deter detractors from casting slur and cyber-bullying the administration on the net. On occasion, the governor’s unstinting hospitality has been called intemperance while his strict adherence to quality is branded a waste. Hardly, have his critics faulted him on point of governance. They rely on misinformation, especially on the net because of the permissive nature of that organ of information dissemination, to defame him. Fortunately for the government the flurry of endorsement has been hard and fast. And it (government) has continued to improve on existing achievements to bequeath a better Anambra for posterity. Already there is a constellation of star investors in the state and they have effectively invested over $2.4 billion in almost all the sectors of the economy, especially agriculture. The projection is that over 50% of unemployed youths will be taken out of the street in the next two years. This will undoubtedly improve life in the state, attract more endorsements and widen the support base of the government.  

Ejike Anyaduba



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