Developing a civilization is easily one of mankind’s most Herculean tasks. It requires genius as well as tremendous exertions of energy and intellect. Even as it can take centuries to build a civilization, always lurking around its fringes are barbarian waiting for a little in-road. Once these barbarians gain a foot in the door, a civilization built in centuries will take days to destroy.
Since its creation in 1991, Anambra State had an unhappy succession of leaders until the interregnum of Dr. Chris Ngige. Though he reigned as an interrex “king”, the people of Anambra acknowledge that he did reasonably well as Governor. In spite of the near war situation under which he operated, he gave a good account of himself and showed marked interest in the emancipation of the State. It will be said of Ngige that he paid salaries, did not plunge the State into debt, paid contractors and did some quality work.
Under Mr. Peter Obi – whose mandate Dr. Ngige had encroached upon — the emancipation continued. Beyond roads where Ngige did well, Obi took all key sectors and sub-sectors and emerged as a champion in each. After his two terms totalling eight years, he is reputed as the only Governor that left an extensive legacy of investments for the State; including foreign-currency denominated bonds, shares in Fortune 500 companies, billions of Naira and millions of US Dollars in Banks and no indebtedness to the State civil servants and pensioners.
Peter Obi erected such structures as the State Secretariat that had elided us since the State was created. Breaking the tradition of lethargy, he attracted several Federal institutions to the State, among which are the Federal High Court and Federal Secretariat that when completed, will accommodate various Federal agencies. He successfully made Anambra State the epicentre of the activities of Developing Partners, which was possible because he had the likes of Mr. Oseloka Obaze, who explored his wide international contacts from his service in the United Nations systems for over twenty years. Besides all this, he cleared arrears of pensions and gratuities owed since 1999, almost to the tune N40 billion. Indeed, Peter Obi aimed at varied development targets and scored many direct hits. If you are interested in the steps by which a State moves from Bedlam to greatness, you should be interested in Mr. Peter Obi.
When Chief Willie Obiano came on board, several people and organizations that knew and had interacted with him expressed some misgivings. They wondered why Mr. Peter Obi should give Anambra State to such a man, but never went behind the scenes to examine the political permutations that threw him up. As a matter of fact, Mr. Obaze was Obi’s first choice, and Obiano was not even in the picture initially. Invariably, those that had a say who would emerge eventually identified Oseloka Henry Obaze in the mould of a Peter Obi who would not permit or tolerate the percolation of State funds into private hands; and literally threw their hats into the ring to frustrate his candidature. With the emergence of Willie Obiano, the consoling thought was that no matter his low leadership rating, the fact that he had risen to the rank of an Executive Director in a Bank meant that he at the least should have and display some standards of competence, propriety and open-mindedness to wise counsel on how to sustain good governance in the State.
Regrettably, like a barbarian alien to civilization, he viewed the attainments of his predecessor as targets for destruction at all costs. All his reflexes have sadly point to a determined supervision of the collapse of Anambra State – a task he has steadily and rashly undertaken since he assumed office as Governor.
The immediate fillip to this piece is the publication by The Nation Newspaper of Friday, the 10th of Novemb
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