NewsReel 28/12/13 - Governor Obi as God-sent

[ Masterweb Reports: Ezeani Ugochukwu ] – There is no doubt the title of this piece may rouse some sensibilities. Those not sufficiently informed, or deliberately misinformed, about governance in Anambra state may demur. The insouciant may shrug it off while those who know the development trajectory of the state in the last couple of will applaud it.
Regardless, it is fair to say that since the creation of Anambra, over two decades ago, the state did not know development until recently. The transformation going on in the state can only be compared with the best elsewhere in the country. But more than that, the effort of the APGA government will be appreciated when pitted against a background of near hopeless infrastructural development before 2006. Successive governments in the state were too distracted and embroiled in political struggles for political power to concentrate on the real business of governance. To the extent that anarchy was rife with development completely eluding the state. Where development was evident at all even if it was skewed in concentration it was regarded as heavenly. Because of past failures middling achievements were regarded with awe. It was not until the Obi administration that the state began to witness real development. Apart from its multi-sector thrust, development was to touch for the first time all the communities in the state. None of the 177 communities is not without a handful of development project, either completed or on-going. Without being immodest Anambra is among the first three states in Nigeria with the best network of roads.
Development in other sectors like education, health, environment, agriculture, judiciary, human capital, security, sports, etc is not tackled any less. The state has since returned to reckoning among the frontline states in Nigeria. However, it is the volume of work and the tempo with which it is being sustained now the Obi administration is almost closing shop that baffles a lot of people. In less than three months from now the administration would lay down the burden of office. To be precise, by March 17, 2014, Chief Willie Obiano led APGA government will formally assume leadership of government in the state. The fact that APGA victory in the November governorship election was a reward for the untiring effort of the government is not in doubt. Though there are those who hold contrary view and are quick to impute extraneous influence. However, the spread of the win at the first ballot was an endorsement of the holistic development of all sections of the state. That Obi still works with the same zeal with which he started tells so much about his persona. Almost everybody is in agreement that the man is light years ahead of his peers. On a good day, a governor, about to leave office, will be involved in only self-enriching projects. Rather than do this, Obi still works as if he just finished a first tenure, about to do a second. Any wonder Anambrarians, among them members of the clergy, have continued to eulogize him and prayed God for another Obi.
The man’s dedication to duty and his self-effacing approach to governance can hardly compare with any other. His humility amidst impressive record of achievements signposts, like his past political struggles, a new beginning in the politics of the state. It won’t be a surprise if the state begins to reject certain of politicians for the office. A swashbuckler may find it difficult to succeed to the office in the near future. A new order may have been enthroned with successive striving for a better record. Anambra has witnessed a new dawn and will resist any attempt at relapse.
It does not matter that those not on the same page with the man are quick to dismiss his achievement as not commensurate with the number of years spent. They argue that if any of his predecessors was availed as many as eight years such person would perform no less. This argument may be plausible but there is no assurance that the political whirlwind brought on the state at time would have abated. It is most unlikely. If truth be told it is difficult to say that any of them has the kind of magical wand with which Obi buried political infighting in the state. That may account as one of the most important thing the governor did. There is no doubt that states need peace to progress. An ambience of strife does not encourage development. I have had to argue that even if Governor Obi is denied every credit, the fact that he held the state in once piece is a worthy epitaph. He has brought peace to the state. He has also brought development. All these he was able to do by demystifying the office and weeding out leeches from government. Unfortunately, this has been part of his undoing. He is yet to be forgiven by those whose career he ruined by plugging loopholes in government. Conversely, that explains why he has achieved so much for the state without borrowing – working till the very end of his tenure – flagging off projects and commissioning others. This singular act commends itself to the fact the he is God sent. It takes very few governors, if any, not to suspend work at the tail end of their tenure and appropriate all the money already earmarked for projects.
Prior to the November governorship election, there were speculations that the tempo of work at various sites in the state was for the purpose of gaining electoral mileage over opposition parties. But one month after, the man is yet to slow down. A flurry of development activities is ongoing at many project sites throughout the state. Construction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, water projects is yet to be affected by the brevity of the man’s time. Human capital is no less developed as civil servants are encouraged to go on refresher courses. A good number of them have had to receive car gifts weeks after the election. Over 200 cars have been given out to them ditto for all the schools in the state. This has since debunked the allegation that the man was working just for his party to win the governorship election. It has also exposed the lie that the gift of cars, some of which came days before the election, was a bait.  There are also over 1,000 transformers being distributed to all the communities in the state. What is going on in Anambra state is no doubt encouraging and will become a benchmark for the incoming administration.
Barrister Ezeani Ugochukwu  reports from Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. 
*Photo Caption - Governor Peter Obi
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