Text of Remarks By Hon. Oseloka Henry Obaze
Secretary to the Anambra State Government
At The Civic Reception In His Honour
Atani, Ogbaru, LGA Anambra, Nigeria
Saturday 13 April 2013
First, I wish to thank God for making this day possible. I am humbled by this turn out and show of love and support.
I thank the Committee of Friends, Ndi Igwe, Ndi Ogbaru and my dear clergy friends and brothers of the Catholic Church, Anglican Communion and other denominations. The God we serve is real and ever faithful.
I want to thank especially, my boss, H. E. Mr. Peter Obi, CON, Okwute Ndi Igbo, who deployed the best of his persuasive skills, in convincing me to come home and serve. I thank his darling wife Margaret. I must thank my family, my brothers and sisters, those here and away, my aunt, Justice Funmi Ofodile, and my dear wife, Ofunne and children, who have made the huge sacrifice of letting go of me at this crucial juncture to serve our people. To my Daughter Tonna, Happy Sweet Sixteen! Sorry I am absent today.
I am by heart and nature, a village boy from Ogbaru, who benefitted from the wisdom of a middle-class family that placed high premium on honesty, diligence, education and above all, in the fear of God. My father Anthony and mother Rosemary, both of blessed memory, are certainly smiling down on us. Mom, is one is for you!
A prophet, it is said, is never accepted in his home. Ndi Ogbaru elected to change that saying. I am immensely grateful. Ogbaru di uso! Ogbaru akwulugo!!
Today is not a day for long speeches. This is not a political rally. Rather it is a day of giving thanks; a day of appreciation and immense gratitude.
Often we take things for granted, including God’s love, and His Blessings and Grace. Indeed, the biggest challenge of our society, and for our leaders, is to be sufficiently mindful not to abuse the mercy of God. I must acknowledge therefore, my many special friends here, who are the destitute, maimed, sick, and disenfranchised. What sets us apart from them is that single word called FATE! We must remember that. And we must be thankful.
Our society has changed. Our values have changed. Our leaders have changed. Today, we have just a few good men, willing to serve honestly and willing to show the courage and political will to do the right things. We are blessed to have one such man as our governor.
Leadership is a calling. But good leaders do not aspire to lead, but to serve selflessly. Purposeful leaders put their personal interests second to those of their communities. Hence, it should be an honour to be called to serve; not that serving will be a means to honour, wealth and glory.
Public service is about humility. Public service is about vision and commitment. The good and great countries were built by individuals. So why not ours? Why not Anambra and why not Nigeria?
We are called to serve, not so that we may be rich or famous, but so that our posterity may be enriched. Hence, in serving, we stand on the shoulders of all those who like our amiable governor, have served with distinction, honestly and with the fear of God. We must build on the foundation they laid to guarantee our children and our grandchildren a better, just and egalitarian society.
Nigeria is rich. But we are challenged by deep-seated greed, which leads to corruption and undue expectations of those in public office. If we can curb collective and personal greed, we would have solved half of our corruption challenges. It is a painful irony that our nation grew smaller in trying to be great.
Still Nigeria is blessed. But Patriotism is dead! We no longer speak power to the truth. We no longer love Nigeria enough want to make sacrifices for her. Look around, today we pull in different directions, because it is politically convenient. We won the war to keep Nigeria one but lost the battle to make her whole again. So our people feel disenfranchised.
For us as Ndiigbo, who will shoulder the burden? Our children no longer want to go to school. Our youths are involved in all sorts of criminality. It is not their fault. We as a society let them down. We promoted the wrong values. We told them to do as we say not as we do. That is why we are in trouble. As the Chinese say; the community creates crime and people commit them. That, sadly, is our fate.
I have no simple answers to our challenges. But I know that there are all solvable. Gov. Peter Obi has shown us what good governance and leadership is all about. Under him, political rascality has abated. Under him there is civility in politics. Under him there is transparency and accountability. These are all good, but what happens when he leaves office? This question must exercise our minds — it must give us pause.
As a wise man once said, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. Therefore, let us not ask what government can do for us, but how we can assist government to work in the common interest.
Charity begins at home, but also, home is the source of distinction. We must therefore, as a people work with our traditional institutions, our churches, our social organizations, and our government to assist those less fortunate than us. There are many demands and many areas of unmet needs; we must focus on solving such challenges, including poverty, youth unemployment, and insecurity. Our people must come home and be safe here.
Ogbaru people are primarily farmers. We are proud of our heritage and culture since our culture is a shared commodity that implies a united community. We are grateful to our governor. From him, we have the exalted position of Speaker of the State Assembly and the SSG and an immediate past Commissioner. He has built the Ogbaru Turnpike from Onitsha to Ossomala and continuing as I speak, to Ogwu-Ikpele. He also commissioned recently the Ozubulu-Atani Road, the Ihiala-Ochuche Road, and the Uzoakwa Bridge, attracted the Naval Base to Odekpe and caused the placing of the 2nd Niger Bridge to pass through Ogbaru and the Julius Berger Camp site in Ogbaru.
Moving our state forward under this administration has been possible because the Peter Obi administration continue to provide purposeful leadership as opposed to docile and divisive leadership. Under him, we have tempered greed and corruption and pruned the cost of running government. We are addressing our dismal infrastructure as well as weakened and dysfunctional institutions. We have brought civility back to the corridors of power, when just years ago we had extreme rascality as the norm. More importantly, we are instituting a good governance mindset to counter our eroded and poor value system. We have in place a progressive result-based budget that is goal and time specific; and our partnership with donors is increasing.
Today, the Anambra electorate can claim ownership of public policies and projects in their communities. Gone is the era of abandoned projects! Indeed,
Anambra State is not called the Light of the Nation for nothing. Today, Anambra State remains:
(1) The State with the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the nation outside the oil sector;
(2) We can, in keeping with acceptable international standards sustain our monthly recurrent expenses for 3 months without recourse to federal allocations from Abuja; and
(3) As per long-term and sustainable planning, we have a cumulative investment totaling some $100 billion.
These achievements are indicators of purposeful leadership and the transparent and prudent management of our resources. Our governor is not just a good leader; he is a good steward and a good servant of the people. Our Governor has shown through ANIDS, that we can develop our communities simultaneously. We all owe him a debt of gratitude.
Beyond that, we should strive to sustain his vision of progress for all and for the good of the common man. More importantly, we must pray for our country Nigeria and for continuity of the good deeds and work being done by Peter Obi — a man who worked with the sincerity of a God fearing Heart. We must pray for Continuity, Good Governance, Policy Ownership, Inclusive Governance and an attentive and free media. Finally, we must pray for the ability to make the right choices; and the ability to take Anambra from being GOOD to being GREAT.
God bless our dear state Anambra. God bless our country, Nigeria. Thank you. And God bless us all. [End]