Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists of all time, is reputed to have defined madness as doing the same thing all over and expecting a different result. The handful but vociferous politicians on the social media in Anambra State who call themselves opposition members, even though the presidential system makes no provision for opposition, have curiously followed a path which has failed them embarrassingly at least twice in recent times and still expect a different outcome.
For instance, they launched an unprecedented propaganda war against the state administration during the electioneering campaign for the 2017 general elections but lost disastrously, as Governor Willie Obiano scored a huge victory in each of the 21 local government areas, an unrivaled achievement in the state’s political history. Each of his opponents and their backers were well defeated in their hometowns and in some cases in their wards and even polling booths. And during the House of Assembly elections in the 2019 general elections which took place last March, the opposition could win only six out of the 30 seats in the state; the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) won 24.
With the next governorship election holding in 2022, the opposition has initiated another round of propaganda which actually is more of disinformation than misinformation. While misinformation is defined as false information which may have been given innocently, disinformation is deliberate false information designed to deceive and mislead. It has chosen to use the petrol tanker accident in Onitsha which occurred on October 16, 2019, to embark on a relentless demonization campaign. It has failed to learn from history. It has failed to realize that Anambra people hate disharmony, instability and violence caused by an attempt to demonize an administration which has made their state the most competitive in Nigeria in the last few years.
A few months to the 2017 governorship election, the opposition produced propaganda material claiming that the three very beautiful bridges in the capital city of Awka would collapse within a few days. It was meant to portray the administration as incompetent. But the claim incensed the people. They consequently ensured that all the leading opposition figures were resoundingly defeated.
Yet, the opposition is still not deterred by the fact that this crude propaganda is heavily counterproductive. Just two weeks to the inauguration on October 2, 2019, of the $370 million automated Coscahris Rice Mill at Igbariam in Anambra East Local Government Area, the opposition released a simulated video of the three flyovers in Awka collapsing. The whole idea was to prevent visiting dignitaries like Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele and Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu from attending for fear of being killed in a bridge collapse. Anambra people, so angry at the video, decided to come out in large numbers; the crowd was so much every inch of the road between Awka and Igbariam that the august visitors had to fly in a helicopter to get to the destination early enough!
Governor Bagudu’s visit to Anambra State on October 2 was strategic. His state produces a very large quantity of rice which it does not have the capacity to mill or process. Stine Rice Mill at Amichi in Nnewi Local Government Area has been processing Lake Rice, a popular brand consumed in Lagos. The governor came to see if more Kebbi rice could be processed in Anambra State, this time at Coscharis Rice Mill. Processing more kebbi-produced rice in Anambra will naturally mean more business and revenue for ndi Anambra. Therefore, it is sickening that a small clique of politicians seeking political power at all costs could do everything to destroy the very state it wants to rule. There cannot be a better example of what political scientists call state capture.
If the so-called opposition politicians in Anambra State should ever capture power, it is certain that they will drive big businesses like Coscharis and Joesan Agro which have invested billions in the state out of the place. Their offence? They entered into partnerships with the state government under the Governor Willie Obiano administration. It does not matter to the politicians that Public Private Partnership (PPP) is an immensely popular global practice because of the benefits for every party. It is perhaps the best example of what is popularly known as a “win-win” for all.
In Anambra State, the government basically helps investors with land and ensures that the host community gets a 5% stake in the business. It also facilitates transactions like registration for them. This excellent practice is responsible for the spectacular performance of the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), which has in the last four years recorded some $4 billion investments. Other state investment agencies like those of neighbouring Enugu and Ebonyi states have visited the Anambra investment agency in the last few weeks to understudy its work.
It is, indeed, tragic that the opposition has on the social media been castigating Anambra State investment partners as Gov Obiano’s business fronts. They have been capitalizing on the weaknesses of the social media like the absence of gatekeepers and fact checkers to attempt to wreck Anambra State and its people. It is in consideration of absurd activities like those of the so-called opposition in Anambra State that there are now strong moves to regulate the social media in Nigeria.
Anambra people have demonstrated time and time that they are not impressed at the mindless disinformation against their state by politicians infamous for what modern social scientists call the self-protective leadership style. The politicians are not interested in the common good but in private primitive accumulation and self-aggrandizement. The Anambra people have always punished them heavily at the polls
The amazing thing is that the tiny cult of so-called opposition politicians in Anambra State insists on the same path of destructive propaganda which has led it to electoral perdition over the years. Einstein would not have difficult declaring this tiny but vociferous group a perfect example of madness, because it is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
Amafili is a broadcaster in Abuja.