Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Obiano and the 2017 Anambra election

By Ejike Anyaduba
HE probably wasn’t your choice candidate in the last election and didn’t get your vote. He doubtless was new and you were skeptical he would deliver. He was not a perennial fixture in the politics of the state (unlike the other contenders on the platform), and that tasked your ambivalence. He won not on those doubts, but on the effort of the trusting majority who opted for a breath of fresh air over and above the career politician. More than that, he won because of the benevolence of a transcendental force.        
Less than one year to the 2017 Anambra governorship election, the choice of Governor Obiano is again on the pan of balance. This time, perhaps, the weighing scale is not going to be as rigorous as it was in 2013 before it will tip in his favour. The reasons for this are twofold. One, his candidature is no longer new and a subject of speculation. It has matured with the passage of time and duly void of the guile of the career politician.
Two, he has carried the mandate of the people – bestowed barely three years ago – with elan and verifiable achievements in tow. Unarguably, he is among the very few governors who can claim reasonable achievements, especially in these troubling times. Many of them have since failed to discharge the simplest duty of a state and had to be cushioned by the avuncular government at the centre. But so far as that cushioning went, no better story is told yet of the states, except the continuing lament from unpaid workers and pensioners.
This is, perhaps, one situation that never obtains in Anambra where the Obiano government is dutifully up to speed in discharging that responsibility. At least, workers in the state can attest to promptness of salary alerts.
Ordinarily, his choice should not provoke any skerrick of doubt given how well he has acquitted himself in office, accomplishing in less than three years what many cannot attempt in eight. But quite often, these achievements become a topic of unfair discourse by the opposition. Either they are dismissed as the outcome of a bequeathed fund or their existence is totally denied. 
This underscores the politics of the state, over 60 percent of which is run by highbinders in the game. It is bad-tempered politics for a man who has shown supreme example of governance never bettered in the history of the state to be so attacked. That he tackled and, within three months, nipped off the nagging insecurity that crippled social and economic activities in the state was in itself enough achievement. This was followed by infrastructural and agricultural revolution with many investments into the economy. As at today, investments coming into the state stand at well over $4billion. Every aspect of the economy is being rejigged to yield the overall development of the state. Education, for instance, was greatly enhanced as grants were given to schools in addition to offer of foreign training to both students and teachers. Perhaps, that explains why the state has maintained a consistent lead in all categories of examinations, both national and trans-national. 
Other sectors of the economy like health, transport, environment, housing and   public utilities were not left out. They have all received more than a shot in the arm, especially with the governor’s private sector approach to governance. The health sector, for example, has recorded one or two of such interventions. The Rise Health Incorporation of America is one such private organization that partnered the state in order to strengthen rural health delivery.
Besides, his government has equally embarked on resuscitation of some moribund health institutions as well as erection of new ones. It also engages in frequent state-wide immunization exercises to shore up efforts in bringing to an irreducible minimum the mortality rate of the citizens.
To his credit, the government tackled and effectively brought to an end the dead hand of corruption which made revenue generation impossible. For the first time in years, the revenue profile of the state took a turn for the better, doubling its returns. 
Except in the judgment of a rabid opposer, Obiano’s choice remains the best to help consolidate the development effort currently going on in the state. No doubt, he has proved to be unique unto himself, effective in his time and place. The many awards which his government received in rapid succession were not unrelated to its expeditious achievements. Though long before the awards – many of which he declined unobtrusively – he had been acclaimed beyond the state and by politicians across the party divide as performing excellently. It is not often that a sitting governor of a state is recognized beyond his area of influence.      
Sadly, one or two opposition politicians in the state are unimpressed and have continued to sponsor rabid attacks against the government. They have since been joined by those who took for granted appointments into the government, even if as placemen. Not willing to forgive the disappointment and having no capacity to chasten the government for the slight, they decided, in the words of Adlai Stevenson, “to wheel into action the rusty artillery of abuse”. Consequently, they aggregated the forces of the mass media to attack every action of the government.
This is to the extent that some of them now run from one radio station to another to propagate unimaginable lies against the government while others write vitriolic outbursts on the internet.
With the benefit of the hindsight of events elsewhere, the lies are fast sliding off into the impotence of error. Some of those earlier ensnared by these lies are beginning to realize the truth and appreciate the efforts of their governor. They have also realised that any choice other than what they have been familiar with may be one gamble too many.   
Anyaduba  writes from  Abatete

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