Inventing A Scandal For Obiano – By Ifeanyi Afuba

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The political honeymoon appears to be over for Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano the man who just garnered ovation for his impressive strides at the turn of one year in office. Now, the man who has galvanized Ndi Anambra on a mission to raise their standards of living has to contend with the rascality factor in Anambra’s politics. In the month of March 2015 alone, at least two smear campaigns against the person of the Governor have been launched in some newspaper advertorials.  A more vicious stuff in the form of a documentary which casts the Governor as a mindless epicurean; a man given to all sorts of vices is reportedly nearing completion or perhaps at the time of publication of this piece, may already be in circulation.

It will be recalled that this campaign to tarnish the image of the Governor began just a few weeks into his assumption of office.  From the blues, the first family suddenly became the object of scurrilous attacks in the social media. The issues were trivial and outlandish; the sources unverifiable; the contents hollow and the presentation obscene which easily accounted for their rejection by the mainstream media.  In an ironic subversion of their very intent, the obscenity of the plot  rather revealed that even if he was so minded, the Governor could not in that very short period of office,  have committed the crimes he was accused of. The scenario was comparable to that of a group of soldiers who unable to contain their thirst for political office seek to rationalise their seizure of power with a long list of sins of the sacked civilian governments even when the latter had not been allowed the time to mess itself up . Yet, so intense was the assault that Mr Ejike Anyaduba rebuked the rioters with a cutting piece ‘Obiano and the defaming bloggers’ published in The Union of September 13 and Telegraph of September 17, 2014.

There is little doubt that politics is at the root of this offensive against Obiano. The publications earlier referred to sought to pitch the Governor against President Gooodluck Jonathan with childish allegations of sabotage against Jonathan’s re –election.  Willie Obiano’s star is on the ascent. As the leader of APGA and  Anambra State, he has shown bright promises of taking the two entities to great heights. APGA is acquiring vibrancy, national spread and cohesion after years of internal turmoil ameliorated only by Victor Umeh’s sacrifices to save the party. Does it take much to predict that sustaining the momentum on this road of recovery will by 2019 yield an APGA robust enough to assume commanding presence in regional and national politics? And standing on a track record of socio – economic achievements in governance, as the Governor’s one year score card hints at, would Obiano not have the masses rooting for him?

Who but a desperate politician would seek to crucify the Governor for committing the mortal sin of endorsing Jonathan’s candidacy but campaigning for APGA candidates against PDP candidates for the other elections? It is trite knowledge that APGA did not enter into alliance with the PDP in the 2015 election but only adopted Jonathan as its candidate for the presidential office. That anyone could against the grain of common sense seek to denigrate the Governor for not abandoning his party in the name of supporting Jonathan’s re – election is a sad testimony to the careerism that still plagues Anambra’s politics.

The present schemes to undermine Obiano should serve to awake the people of Anambra State to the still long journey of creating a new social order in the State. It was precisely in this regard that the people of Anambra State made a paradigm shift in the 2003 general elections when they voted to have Mr Peter Obi as the next Governor of the State. The choice of Obi was a conscious one; a decision informed by the felt need to break with the siege of career politicians.  On the heels of the neglect the state suffered in the hands of military administrators who first oversaw the state for six years after its creation, Ndi Anambra’s hopes for a rejuvenated Anambra were dashed in the first democratic dispensation of the fourth republic.  Sponsored to political reckoning by a bloc of power speculators, the Chinwoke Mbadinuju administration added its own gross mismanagement to the manipulations of clientele politics.  Anambra was reduced to a godfather’s playground with career politicians of all classes bringing up the circus show to completion. The resulting haemorrhage on the state’s treasury and social values was a nightmare majority of the people resolved not to walk into again.

Consequently Mr Peter Obi was recommended for the state’s number one job by his corporate background and unfettered political linkages. Obi has since made his contribution, leading as it were, a rescue effort with notable achievements in some areas of the state’s socio-economic life.  The building site has been cleared of debris and the foundation just started at the turn of a new era. The choice of Willie Obiano’s by Ndi Anambra is anchored on the same necessity for a leader uncluttered with political baggage in order to achieve desired results. Obiano’s succession is of even greater significance on account of the fact that the job to be done in this phase is more demanding. The State’s profile was still at the point of beginning the process of modernization.

It is therefore sad that Anambra should be witnessing bland, reactionary politics when the Obiano regime is busy with the task of widening and deepening the state’s economic base as well as introducing high standards in the range of public services.  We see uncontrolled appetite for power, prestige and political influence in the maneuvers of Obiano’s opponents. Their frenzied conspiracies are further motivated by their vested interests which have no chance of surviving Governor Obiano’s transformation process. It would appear that Obiano’s focused governance which has ensured reasonable security of lives and property; created investment and industrialization climate in the state; shored up the status of the capital city; and put smiles on the faces of workers and pensioners has left the detractors with nothing worthwhile to criticize about the administration. In the full realization of what is at stake, their very today and the future of their children, the state’s citizenry will do well to stay focused too.

Afuba can be reached via ifeanyiafuba@yahoo.com or 08026088863.

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