Sunday, 23 April 2017

Ngige and the politics of Anambra

By Oliver Okpala

On Monday, April 17, 2017, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, featured on Odenigbo 99.5FM and took an unnecessary swipe at the Obiano administration.

Ngige, on the programme, described Chief Willie Obiano as “Governor-do-nothing”; that the three magnificent flyovers in Awka are “bus culverts and monstrous obstructions” on a federal highway. That the state government has no right to put a barrier in the bridge. The minister said flyovers would soon collapse and that an APC state government would “pull them down”. Ngige is confirming the perception of many Nigerians that the APC government is a ‘pull down government’. He should be told that this is the time to build up and not to pull down. Ngige was only trying to be clever by half when he scored Obiano 50 percent on security saying that his administration between 2003 and 2006 had a “better and more efficacious security initiative”. But is he denying that today Anambra is one of the most secure states one can think of? Is it not known to everyone that throughout December 2016, during the yuletide, there was no single shot fired by armed robbers, and no single case of kidnapping and other crimes in the state? Ngige argued that Professor Soludo’s high rating of Obiano’s government is “politically motivated”. This is to say the least preposterous as Ngige is no match for Soludo, a globally acclaimed economist stands.

When it comes to economy and administration, what does Ngige know? Ngige was not ashamed to say that he was the one that first came up with the idea of an airport in the state at Igbariam. That Obi abandoned the idea and that the one Obiano wants to build at Umueri is overpriced, and shouldn’t have been a PPP arrangement. This is at best laughable! Because if he is asked why he did not build the airport, he would readily hide under the fact that he was removed from office. Then the next question should be: Why was he removed from office? The answer to that question reveals the fact that indeed Ngige is a failure who was sent out of office. Ndi Anambra have not forgotten that Ngige became governor through irregularities as confirmed by the Court of Appeal, Enugu, on March 15, 2006. When asked if he would run for the forthcoming governorship, Ngige’s fears came to the fore as he said he hadn’t taken a final decision on the issue. But the truth which Ngige himself knows is that till date, he is seen as synonymous with political instability. Therefore, Ndi Anambra would keep avoiding him. That was why he was roundly rejected in his bid to return to the Senate. In describing Obiano as “Governor-do-nothing”, Ngige has again shown to the world that he is an unrepentant spoiler of good works. For it has been roundly acclaimed that the governor has taken governance to another level in Anambra State with a plethora of viable and credible projects scattered across the state. Currently, there are one hundred and eighty one projects going on in each of the one hundred and eighty one communities in the state under the do it yourself scheme involving twenty million naira investment to each community. And by June this year, another twenty million naira worth of projects would be awarded in each community under the second phase of the scheme. No doubt, in the next one or two months, the governor would be busy commissioning these one hundred and eighty one projects across the state. This is one major reason why the people are bent on re- electing Obiano to the chagrin of the likes of Ngige. But the good thing is that they cannot change the reality. Those who visit Anambra easily see that things are working and the people are happy, workers are being paid as and when due, roads are being constructed and re-habilitated, security is being beefed up, health facilities are being provided, and bridges are being constructed. Last December, the Anambra State government paid the workers’ salaries on the 20th of the month, all leave allowances and pensions were paid on the 20th of the same month. So there was no liability brought forward into 2017 and every civil servant in Anambra State received a bag of rice produced in the state. It is this local production of rice that Ngige is now trying to rubbish. Recently, the administration completed two long bridges at two different locations in the state. Despite the economic crunch, the government is still fulfilling its obligations to the people. It is also important to note that the Anambra State government has awarded contract for one hundred and eleven roads that will be ready in the next few months, before serious rain set in. These are apart from the ongoing existing roads projects across the state. We make these submissions with every sense of responsibility and at the appropriate time we shall release the audio and video clips of Ngige’s public acknowledgment of a godfather in his role in making him governor through the massively rigged 2003 governorship election in Anambra.

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