The November 18, 2017, gubernatorial election in Anambra State is no ordinary election. It is a battle for the destiny of Anambra State. It is a battle to the finish between forces of progress and forces of retardation.
Since the battle is beyond party politics, I urge the people of Anambra State to re-elect Governor Willie Obiano. I have carefully gone through the antecedents, profiles and visions of all the candidates in the election and found no credible alternative to the incumbent governor. We must always obey our conscience.
Anambra State has since 2003 been doing well. The impact of the national economic recession would have been cataclysmic if not for the present dynamic leadership in the state. Imagine what the situation would have been if workers’ salaries had been delayed for 15 months as in Kogi State or for nine months as in Osun State or even four months as in Imo State. Imagine the situation if the state government had not been discharging its obligations to pensioners faithfully. On no account shall we allow Anambra State to be brought down to the governance standards of a number of states in the name of party solidarity.
I am proud I played a considerable role in bringing about the paradigm shift, which occurred in Anambra State in 2003. As the Majority Leader in the Anambra State House of Assembly then, I was instrumental to giving the executive arm of government the legislative support it critically needed to get the state cracking in the right direction. We helped the administration to kill godfatherism, thus using public money for the development of the state rather than for the benefit of a couple of so-called godfathers. We liberated Anambra State. And Gov. Obiano has done his best to keep the state liberated.
Yet, it should not be taken for granted that, since Anambra State has been doing well in the last 14 years, it is now on auto pilot. In fact, if anything, researchers have demonstrated that there is no unidirectional course of history. There is no guarantee that once a society starts to make progress it will not decline soon. Many of the poorest countries and societies in the world today were at different times in history great places on earth. But they began to decline when their people became complacent and indifferent to their governance. Mexico, for instance, was for many decades ahead of the United States in development until recently.
As everyone knows, there is a grand plot by the enemies of our state to conquer the state during the November 18 governorship election and drastically bring down governance standards. They are not interested in how our people vote because they know that our people do not want them. They have, therefore, resorted to a plot to exercise the so-called Federal Might not to bring federal presence to our state or the South-East geopolitical zone but to truncate the sovereign will of the people. We shall never allow them. Evil triumphs, according to Edmund Burke, when good men do nothing about it.
Ndi Anambra do not want to return to the era when cultists, kidnappers and armed robbers had a free reign, resulting in the death of traditional rulers, academics, business executives, community leaders, actors and businesses. We want to continue to sleep in our residences, and not in hotels for fear of insecurity. We want to continue to return to our towns and villages in our own beautiful vehicles, and not in rickety taxis so as to disguise ourselves from our kinsmen and women over security concerns. We want to continue to invest in Anambra State because it is the safest in Nigeria.
We do not want to go back to the era when workers of entities like the Anambra State Water Corporation were not paid for a whole eight years, with many of them dying in abject poverty. We do not want a restoration of the period when, for eight years, no teachers or civil servants were employed. We do not want a return of the era when Anambra State workers were the least paid in the country nor do we want a situation where our state university teaching hospital could not be accredited by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria because it had no basic facilities thus making students waste almost a decade in medical school. Nor do we want a return to the period when all state-owned hospitals would be closed for over half a year because doctors were on strike, forcing our people to seek treatment in neighbouring states.
We do not want a return of the days of shame to Anambra State when a humungous N250 million raw cash of state funds would be found by the police as it was being laundered in places like Lagos State, at the corporate headquarters of our governor’s private companies. While prominent Anambra men and women were kidnapped for ransom without challenge, our governor’s security funds would be ferried faithfully at the beginning of every month to his private office in Lagos.
We do not want a return of the days when dozens of bodies of healthy young indigenes of Anambra State would be found floating in, say, Ezu River in Awka North Local Government Area with our governor, the chief security officer of the state, claiming that he had no clue as to what was happening.
We do not desire a return of the period when the private firm of our serving governor would build the largest mall in not Onitsha or Nnewi or Awka or Agulu but Abuja, while he would hypocritically be asking indigenes of the state to invest in their homeland. As the great Professor Chinua Achebe noted in “The Trouble With Nigeria,” Nigeria’s greatest leadership tragedy is the absence of people who lead by personal example.
Must the lone state controlled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), which is doing very well, be conquered by force by either the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has a number of states under its control, or the All Progressives Congress (APC), which has as many as 24 out of the 36 states in Nigeria plus the Federal Capital Territory under its control? What kind of avarice and impunity is this?
Anambra PDP has become Peter Democratic Party! It has been emasculated. It is now a member of Next International, the private firm of ex-Governor Peter Obi, who insists on driving away leading lights in the PDP like Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Senator Stella Oduah, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, ex-Minister John Emeka and Senator Annie Okonkwo.
We do not want those that crave a third term for themselves as governors by using surrogates and lackeys who would hold the cow while they milk it. Anambra State has bled enough at the hands of so-called godfathers. We want a governor who is independent-minded and could be held accountable for his actions and inactions.
In consideration of the above, I humbly appeal to Ndi Anambra to come out en masse on November 18 and make a very bold statement about the future of our state by overwhelmingly re-electing Gov. Obiano. We shall cast our votes and remain at the polling booths to ensure that our votes count. We must protect our votes against electoral marauders and buccaneers.
Let us put aside our personal differences, our individual egos and private agendas and work for the common good. I make this appeal in God’s name (2 Corinthians 5: 20). I appeal to you all, for the sake of our children.
• Chief (Hon.) Nsofor, former Majority Leader in the Anambra State House of Assembly, is PDP Chairman in the state. A Knight of St. Christopher in the Anglican Communion, he is a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. Appointed a member of the Anambra State PDP Caretaker Committee by the Senator Makarfi-led National Executive, Nsofor became state chairman last month.