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Friday, September 16, 2016

GOVERNANCE: How Anambra Became A Reference Point — Obi, APGA Chairman

Chief Norbert Obi is the Anambra State chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. In this interview, he speaks on Governor Willie Obiano’s performance since assumption of office in 2014, the state’s governorship poll in 2017 and the controversial Anambra Central senatorial rerun election.


What is your assessment of the performance of the Willie Obiano administration?
The incontrovertible fact is that Obiano has done well in the past two years and three months in office. He redefined governance in Anambra State. Today, our state has become a reference point for good governance in Nigeria. The other day, President Muhammadu Buhari lashed out at some state governors that are not paying civil servants their salaries. The president emphatically stated that it is a shame that 28 states in Nigeria owe their workers backlog of salaries. Now, if you remove 28 out of 36 states in Nigeria, you will be left with seven states, and Anambra happens to be among the seven states in Nigeria paying their workers’ salary as at when due. To me, this is proof that Governor Obiano is a prudent manager of resources. Now let me talk about other sectors. On security, Anambra State can be described as the safest state in Nigeria, courtesy of Obiano administration’s zero tolerance for criminality. The governor took the bull by the horn to stamp out insecurity in Anambra State such that Anambra has become investors’ choice of destination. With the crushing of insecurity, the Obiano administration has attracted close to $3 billion dollars investment to the state. On agriculture, the administration of Obiano has invested heavily and today Ndi-Anambra are reaping the benefits. Under the governor’s watch, we now have what is known as Anambra rice, a stone free rice. Anambra state is now into the exportation of vegetables to Europe. A lot of agricultural grants are being given to farmers for empowerment. On roads, Governor Obiano has flagged off the construction of 40 roads that are spread across the state, and some of these roads have been completed. Our state capital is now wearing the look befitting of a state capital. The three flyovers constructed by the APGA government in Awka can be referred to as APGA government signature projects.  So, APGA members and supporters are proud of Governor Obiano’s performance in office.

Is it true the governor refused to pay back funds used to finance his election?
As a matter of fact I read the interview and to be frank, facts were twisted in that interview, apparently to score cheap political points. Obiano is a man known for honouring agreements, and he is doing that in Anambra State with the fulfilment of the social contract he entered into with Ndi-Anambra. All the campaigns of calumny against his administration will not pit Ndi-Anambra against him because the governor is living up to their expectation. Ndi-Anambra will never support Obiano to please individual interest against public interest. So, any decision taken by Obiano towards the protection of public interest will continue to enjoy the support of Ndi-Anambra. APGA will also not support the governor to use funds accruing to the state to satisfy the appetite of some politicians in the state, who are playing God.

What step is APGA taking to ensure that INEC conducts the stalled Anambra Central re-run election?
We are not losing sleep over that election. The stand of our party is that only those who participated in the 2015 election will be allowed to participate in the re-run election. We are putting our hope in the judiciary that has always been the last hope of the common man to do justice in the matter because justice must prevail. My message to the people of Anambra Central is that they should tarry a while with the belief that joy cometh in the morning. We have a marketable candidate in the person of Sir Victor Umeh, and whenever this election is conducted, our candidate will emerge victoriously.

Anambra State APC recently boasted that it would take over the state in the 2017 governorship election. Do you think your party can get Obiano re-elected?
That boast by APC is wishful thinking. It can be likened to the proverbial elephant passing through the eye of a needle. We are proud of Governor Obiano’s achievements in office, and I can assure you that his achievements will fetch our party second tenure. When the time for the campaign comes, our party will embark on issue- based campaign. We will tour the nooks and crannies of the state showcasing Obiano’s achievements to Ndi-Anambra. APGA government’s selling point in Anambra is our performance and nobody can take that away from us. May I also laud the Obiano administration’s initiative in earmarking N20 million for projects in each of the 177 communities in Anambra State. This shows that Anambra’s future is secured with the governor and for this reason, Ndi-Anambra will use the 2017 governorship election to appreciate his good works in the state by giving him a second tenure.

What is your advice to Anambra opposition leaders?
They should know that the blood that unites us as brothers and sisters is stronger than the politics that divides us. They should eschew politics of bitterness and pull him down at all cost syndrome.

By Vincent Ujumadu

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