Who Is Afraid Of Obiano’s Achievements? – By Ifeanyi Afuba
There is only one conclusion to be drawn by any discerning mind on the prolonged media operation to cast Governor Willie Obiano in the garments of falsehood. Some people are rattled by Obiano’s solid achievements and rising profile. When opposition activism, high profile and low profile, merely boils down to campaign of calumny against the Governor; when social media appraisal of government’s performance consists of fabrications and abuse; when issues of governance are routinely trivialised to mislead ordinary folks in the streets, you can be sure that someone somewhere is consumed by a nagging fear: With a series of development initiatives being rolled out every day, this man will before long transform Anambra State into a great estate. That will diminish us. That will expose the shallowness of our own outing and place the bar too high for our current ambitions. His programmes are already endearing him to the people. What to do? Pull him down before his tenure becomes a phenomenon.
It does not matter if the execution of this plot hurts Ndi Anambra. It does not matter if the implementation of this scheme sends wrong signals to prospective investors and others wishing to key into the present conducive business climate in the state. It does not matter to the sponsors of this political ruse if their actions pose danger to the peace and wellbeing of society. That is morality for you. It is not the concern of our activists. Their preoccupation is to indulge their ego. It is about feathering their business and political nests. Some of these riot squads are simply on vengeance mission for what they regard as denied opportunities and unrewarded services.
There is so much detestable about adults, supposedly informed and distinguished citizens, trying to reduce the serious business of governance to the level of gimmickry. Those who have made a pastime of orchestrating the Obiano – champagne gossip should be pitied. They advertise their vacuity with this strange obsession. The fixation with this caricature not only demonstrates gullibility, it also exposes the hypocritical bent of mind that slyly lays claim to sainthood. And what about it if Obiano enjoys the champagne! Some Catholic monasteries have historically been involved with wine production. Thomas Jefferson, one of the authors of the American Declaration of Independence, and third President of the United States celebrated his love of fine spirit. The Prescot Courier, July 4, 1976, quoted the statesman: ‘Good wine is a necessity of life for me.’ Wole Soyinka the sage is a reputed wine connoisseur. The same Obiano who is purported to spend hours at the bottle is restless with development activities and ahead of most state Governors in achievements. So who is a prisoner of what? The characters who have been chewing the cud of champagne since the inception of the Obiano regime in 2014 deserve our pity. At the very least, the penchant to suck on this subject even in the face of national economic emergency should be considered a strong indication of inability to discuss serious issues.
Another undertaking of the amorphous media forces ranged against the Willie Obiano regime is to continually describe the three imposing flyovers at Awka as ‘walls of Jericho.’ The simplistic way this assertion is made, you would think that the invaluable infrastructures are standing in anyone’s palace compound. However, this dismissal of a very laudable project only became fashionable after frantic attempts at magnifying the cost of the work in the public consciousness failed. At other times the offensive was mounting the smear campaign that the landmark projects would never be completed; that the Governor would soon run out of steam and the venture turn out a white elephant. Thus, you witness a consistent and systematic plan to subvert the development initiatives of an administration. Nothing but a ruthless resolve to undermine, frustrate and if possible dismantle the programmes being executed by the present state government can produce this degree of adversarial attitude. And in prosecuting this base, vindictive and vainglorious campaign, nothing is sacred or distinct as not to be thrown into the bargain.
And so even the Governor’s humanitarian testament as reflected in the economic stimulus package of September 2016 is to be politicized and made mockery of. Following the national economic recession of the past several months, Governor Obiano announced a four pronged intervention programme to reduce the impact of the recession on the citizenry. These were in the broad areas of tax review; support to micro, small and medium enterprises; relief for low income households and job creation. For our immediate purposes however, the Governor suspended the sale of consolidated emblems, hawkers’ daily permit, and wheel barrow tax as well as abolished levies in public primary and secondary schools. A cursory glance at the list is enough to tell that these are measures carefully selected to benefit the poor and low income earners. To this charitable and commendable initiative, the stragglers and laggards on the road of Anambra’s politics have only scorn to offer. They do not find it demeaning to distort the socio – economic intervention as one informed by the politics of reelection. Ruled by its cynical mindset, the anti – Obiano pressure group labours at taking away any credit due to Obiano even if it means standing truth and logic on its head. They forget that it is still fourteen months to the next governorship election. They also will prefer to close their eyes to Obiano’s serial generosity to workers and the less privileged from the first day of assumption of office including the donation of his salary for four years to the needy.
Before we are misunderstood, no one is saying that the Obiano government should not be subjected to the scrutiny of public criticism. Far from it. Accountability is the hallmark of democracy and good governance. Consequently, public communication must be safeguarded for democracy to thrive. Without a two way communication channel, governments would be talking to itself and would have no means of gauging the people’s mood. The citizenry has a right and indeed a duty to criticise and reveal the mistakes of government. With constructive feedback from the public, governance is enriched and the government repositioned to deliver on the set targets.
But it is also possible that the desired citizen input consists largely of noise. This is especially so where the platform of public communication is ambushed by reactionary forces smarting from the loss of their elitist privileges. The task is subversion of the new social order. In such a setting as we presently have in Anambra’s politics; there is a desperate effort to invent a mood of public discontent against the government. The result is a feast of propaganda.
Fully aware that he could never sell his argument on the standard of objective indices, the propagandist adopts noise as a major instrument for prosecuting his campaign. The theory of noise as a weapon of propaganda is founded on the presumption that there is always a certain degree of communication gap among the population of a society at any point in time. This residue of ignorance or uncertainty could therefore be exploited to hold sections of the population captive to some “ideology.” But contrary to the wishful thinking of the propagandist, the average person finds an avalanche of rhetoric on a given subject tiresome and suspicious. The question arises: What is the motive behind this lingering presence in the public space?
In the end, the people of Anambra State know that most objective assessors of the Obiano administration are emphatic on the progressive advance and changes that have taken place in the State in the past two and half years.