Saturday, 15 October 2016

WHO IS AFRAID OF OBIANO ?


By Ifeanyi Afuba

There is only one conclusion to be drawn by any discerning mind from
the effort by a section of the media to cast Governor Willie Obiano of
Anambra State in the garments of falsehood. Some people are not happy
with Obiano’s achievements and rising profile.
It does not matter if the execution of this plot hurts Ndi Anambra. It
does not matter if the implementation of this scheme sends wrong
signals to prospective investors and others wishing to key into the
present conducive business climate in the state.
It does not matter to the sponsors of this political ruse if their
actions pose danger to the peace and wellbeing of society. Their
preoccupation is to indulge their ego. It is about feathering their
business and political nests. Some of these riot squads are simply on
a vengeance mission for what they regard as denied opportunities and
unrewarded services.
There is so much detestable about some critics of government, trying
to reduce the serious business of governance to the level of
gimmickry. Those who have made a pastime of orchestrating the
Obiano-champagne gossip should be pitied. They advertise their vacuity with this strange obsession. The fixation with this caricature not only demonstrates gullibility, it also exposes their hypocrisy. And
what about it if Obiano enjoys the champagne! Some Catholic
monasteries have historically been involved with wine production.
Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the American Declaration of
Independence, and third President of the United States celebrated his
love of the fine spirit. The Prescot Courier, July 4, 1976, quoted the
statesman: ‘Good wine is a necessity of life for me.’ Wole Soyinka the
sage is reportedly a wine connoisseur.
The same Obiano who is purported to spend hours at the bottle is
restless with development activities and ahead of most state governors
in achievements. The characters who have been chewing the cud of
champagne since the inception of the Obiano regime in 2014 deserve our
pity. At the very least, the penchant to suck on this subject even in
the face of national economic recession should be considered a strong
indication of inability to discuss serious issues.
Another undertaking of the amorphous media forces against Obiano’s
administration is to continually describe the three imposing flyovers
at Awka as ‘walls of Jericho.’ The simplistic way this assertion is
made, you would think that the edifices are standing in anyone’s
compound. However, this dismissal of a very laudable project only
became fashionable after failed attempts at magnifying the cost of the
work in the public consciousness failed. At other times, the offensive
was mounting the smear campaign that the landmark projects would never
be completed; that the Governor would soon run out of steam and the
venture turn out a white elephant.
Thus, you witness a consistent and systematic plan to subvert the
development initiatives of an administration. Nothing but a ruthless
resolve to undermine, frustrate and if possible dismantle the
programmes being executed by the present state government can produce
this degree of adversarial attitude. And in prosecuting this base,
vindictive and vainglorious campaign, nothing is sacred or distinct as
not to be thrown into the bargain.
Even the governor’s humanitarian testament as reflected in the
economic stimulus package of September 2016 is unduly politicized.
Following the national economic recession of the past several months,
Governor Obiano announced a four-pronged intervention programme to
reduce the impact of the recession on the citizenry. These were in the
broad areas of tax review; support to micro, small and medium
enterprises; relief for low income households and job creation. For
much that is public knowledge, the governor suspended the sale of
consolidated emblems, hawkers’ daily permit, and wheel barrow tax as
well as abolished levies in public primary and secondary schools.
A cursory glance at the list is enough to tell that these are measures
carefully selected to benefit the poor and low income earners. To this
commendable initiative, the stragglers and laggards on the road of
Anambra’s politics have only scorn to offer. They do not find it
demeaning to distort the socio-economic intervention as one informed
by the politics of re-election. Ruled by its cynical mindset, the
anti-Obiano campaigners labour at taking away any credit due to him
even if it means standing truth on its head. They forget that it is
still fourteen months to the next governorship election. They also
will prefer to close their eyes to Obiano’s serial generosity to
workers and the less privileged from the first day of assumption of
office, including the donation of his salary for four years to the
needy.
Before we are misunderstood, no one is saying that the Obiano
government should not be subjected to the scrutiny of public
criticism. Far from it. Accountability is the hallmark of democracy
and good governance. Consequently, public communication must be
safeguarded for democracy to thrive. Without a two-way communication
channel, government would be talking to itself and would have no means
of gauging the people’s mood. The citizenry has a right, and indeed, a
duty to criticise and reveal the mistakes of government. With
constructive feedback from the public, governance is enriched and the
government repositioned to deliver on the set targets.
This is especially so where the platform of public communication is
ambushed by reactionary forces smarting from the loss of their elitist
privileges. The task is subversion of the new social order. In such a
setting as we presently have in Anambra’s politics; there is a
desperate effort to invent a mood of public discontent against the
government. The result is a feast of propaganda.
Fully aware that he could never sell his argument on the standard of
objective indices, the propagandist adopts noise as a major instrument
for prosecuting his campaign. The theory of noise as a weapon of
propaganda is founded on the presumption that there is always a
certain degree of communication gap among the population of a society
at any point in time.



Afuba writes from Awka, Anambra State

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