Obi Versus Federal Republic of Nigeria

EDIFYING ELUCIDATION BY OKEY IKECHUKWU

The action of former governor Peter Obi, the only governor who left substantial savings for his successor in office, confirms his genuine interest in doing what is right for Nigeria, instead just desiring to be called the country’s president. He took the only reasonable step a person who does not like palm wine would take when he is invited to a drinking competition in a Palm Wine Dirnkers’ Club. He declined. He walked out and walked away. Indications are that he has found a new business address for his brand of politicking.

Nigerians were already very excited about Obi before the latest developments. The argument, or line of thought, is this: You need a competent person for every job. You do not ask a bicycle repairer to help you solve an eye problem. You do not employ a palm wine tapper to paint your house, because people like him and also because he occasionally gives free palmy to children in the neighbourhood, what will you tell the person? Our people say, when it comes to ensuring that things are done properly: “E kere oru eke” (tasks are allotted based on what people are good at). Butbour politics of today will have none of that.

The PDP, like the APC and most of the other parties, lacks the developmental and committed leadership templates for a 21st Century World. Shamelessness, promoting falsehood, irresponsible behaviour and impunity cannot move a nation forward. As opposition party, the PDP demonstrated such extreme incompetence that it might just as well be given an award for it.

Our people say that a serial failure does not tender his record of disastrous performance as “relevant experience” for promotion. You do not ask a groundnut seller who has difficulty calculating the correct change to give his customers to manage your finances. Mbanu!

But look at the PDP today. Serving governors who have no control over 40% of the spaces they are supposed to be in charge of, and whose record in every index of good governance is below 30%, are angling to become president. They are even telling us that their miserable service records on all fronts do not matter. That they must become president in order to rescue Nigeria. Oh, wait a minute! The very people we need to be saved from? Do you save yourself from mosquito bites by inviting the elders of the World Mosquito Council to spend the weekend with you? Mbanu! Unless, of course, you want to just fall “kpokorom” on the ground and die afterwards.

Peter Obi is trending today and Labour Party is the better for it. What do you find when you take the candidates one by one and, considering that they have all held various offices over the last twenty years and check their records? What do yiu see? Look at integrity of the institutions they managed. Look at the states they managed, or are still managing. Look at social cohesion under their watch. Consider fiscal discipline, their sense of personal dignity and even simple good manners.

Yet, they are all ovet the place as front runners in this business of becoming president, simply because they can pay N100 or. A little less for a piece of paper. To hell with competence, the PDP, APC and others are telling us. Well, Peter Obi has just said “to hell” with stupidity. He has had enough of people who appear committed to maintaining a chummy relationship with mkpuru nmiri, the new-fangled, brain teasing drug that does violence to people’s sanity.

There was once an article on Peter Obi in June 2012, titled “El’Rufai’s Impressive Misrepresentations”. It was a reaction to a miserably uninformed article written Mallam Nasir El’Rufai about Anambra State when Peter Obi was governor. The rejoinder to El’Rufai opened with this statement: “Mallam Nasir El’Rufai’s analysis of Anambra State’s 2012 budget lacked the objectivity and attention to available evidence needed for believable conclusions. His claims about poverty in Anambra State is the exact opposite of the truth. This is evident in the Poverty Profile Report of the National Bureau of Statistics, published in the Punch Newspaper of February 14, 2012. Dr. Magnus Kpakol, as head of the national poverty eradication programme, said as much on December 31, 2010 during the flag-off of the payment of the Poverty Reduction Accelerator Investment and second phase of the Care of the People (COPE) programme, when he urged other state governors to emulate Anambra. El-Rufa’i’s statistics shows Anambra to be poorer than Yobe, Taraba and Sokoto States.” But we are digressing.

As the aforementioned piece said, then: “Peter Obi was the only governor who met regularly with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) while in office. At his meeting with the Enugu and Ebonyi state chapters of MAN, on May 22, 2012, the Chairman, Dr Chile Obidigbo, confirmed that Anambra State had performed beyond their expectations in its promise to encourage and empower indigenous manufacturers.”

Peter Obi, had “…special funds in the Bank of Industry (BoI) for manufacturers”. He “laid the foundation stone for the construction of Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company, built the road leading to the factory and invited President Goodluck Jonathan to inaugurate it.” Cutic cable, in Nnewi, has a related story and there is close interface with firms like Chikason, Orange Drugs and other manufacturing companies in the state.

It is also a matter of record, as state in the 2012 article, that “Anambra State has more bank branches (2022) than the entire South-east put together and that the number of branches doubled under Obi’s tenure.” Question and answer: (1) Is this proof of development of indigenous entrepreneurial capacity, job creation, reflation of the local economy, etc.? The answer is yes.

The article said, further: “The Ambasadors of USA, EU, China, Canada hosted the Ambassadors of the US, Canada and South Africa, among others, visited Anambra State; each concluding some investment conversation before leaving.” Development Partners quadrupled their interventions in the state at the time. As also said then: “Anambra, under Peter Obi, showed a prioritization of economically impactful road networks, targeting roads that will enable farmers get their good to the market; and link communities needing economies of scale by leveraging their areas of strength. Local governments like Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ayamelum got roads for the first time under Peter Obi”.

Through the Ananbra State Youth reorientation and Empowerment Programme (ANSYREP) of governor Peter Obi, there emerged “New, and thriving, fish farms, and poultry houses, newly trained floor tilers, electricians, painters, hair dressers, barbers, roofing, celing P.O.P service providers, tailors, confectioners, etc. were the deliberabels from the ANSYREP Programme.” Many of the beneficiaries of the programme are now employers of labour today. Others, back then, actually “used the ANSYREP leverage to better prepare themselves for the YouWIN programme of the Federal government” and were among the limited number of beneficiaries who received up to twenty million Naira, to power and drive new businesses. For the record, governor Peter Obi’s youth empowerment programmes always had a values reorientation component.

Peter Obi’s approach to security was rather peculiar. As stated on this page, back then, “There has been no bank robbery in Anambra for the better half of a year (in 2012). The state chose to equip the police, which has so got over 300 vehicles, communication gadgets and offered other forms of logistical support. The data on crime rate exists, for reference”.

In May 2012, the Peter Obi government announced the Community Patrol initiative. It was “facilitated with security vehicles for each of the 177 communities in the state”. That government made a regular monthly allowance of five hundred thousand naira available to each of the communities as Security Vote. Crime and criminality were on retreat.

“Anambra was among the very few states actually paying the new national minimum wage and was the first to pay it in the South East.” In the area of education, this is what was said, then: “Anambra State celebrated school handover to their former owners last year, along with money for equipment and rehabilitation. There is N6 billion in the bank for the four years salaries of teachers. This is in addition to a public apology for the rude takeover of schools without compensation 40 years ago and an. Open admission that government takeover of schools was responsible for the collapse of morals and standards.” The article added: “Anambra has consistently remained among the first three states with the highest number of JAMB applicants”.

There was no accredited health institution in Anambra State before Peter Obi became governor. Several modern hospitals, including a teaching hospital, were accredited under him. The college of Health technology in Obosi, College of Nursing and Midwifery in Nkpor, School of Nursing in Iyienu, and others, were accredited under him.

He ensured that the gricultural sector was private-sector focused. The state secured N1 billion loan for farmers. “Close to N1 billion is committed to the FADAMA project and Anambra’s FADAMA III is regarded as the best in the country by the World Bank.” That government was also working simultaneously on over 27 erosion sites.

The case between Peter Obi and the Federal Republic of Nigeria is one that the people will decide. Obi, like many other competent people, has no business outside the leadership of this country.

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