Godwin Maduka and agenda for ‘New Anambra’ governance
By Dr.Jezie Ekejiuba
At its creation over 30 years ago,the expectation of the people of Anambra of their state was very high. Anambra State as the hub of Igboland was acclaimed as the shining light of the nation. The enthusiasm displayed by all and sundry at that time of its creation in August, 1991 by the Babangida administration was that the new state will usher in new opportunities for employment, business enterprises, educational and industrial development in its multi-dimensional forms.
But this was never to be as political money-bags and jobbers distracted the successive military administrators from the public works needed. The state, therefore, suffered and the people’s high expectations turned into a pipe-dream.
The new dawn of democratic governance in Nigeria ushered in on May 29, 1999 rather than re-kindle the people’s hope removed sleep from their eyes as they watched in dismay as their state was turned into a watershed for daylight corruption, public funds embezzlement and political brigandage by election rigging, godfatherism, kidnapping of a sitting governor, unconstitutional impeachment of a sitting governor, thuggery and total absence of law and order.
The situation worsened daily with frightening dimensions forcing the people to look up in hope for a ‘New Anambra’ State of their dream continually.
The period of 1999 to 2021 witnessed when the ‘old Anambra’ regimes of the locusts held sway. This was the period the state was governed by ex-Governors Chinwoke Mbadinuju and Chris Ngige of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ex-Governor Peter Obi and the present Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Firstly, came Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju who became governor by sheer crude godfatherism in politics. Mbadinuju governed the hapless state with satanic Bakassi Boys which he employed as weapon of vengeance to wreck havoc on the citizenry which ultimately took the life of a prominent Legal Practitioner and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onitsha Branch, Late Barr. Barnabas Igwe and his lawyer wife, Late Barr. Mrs Amaka Igwe of the blessed memory.
Schools in the state were completely closed down for over one year leaving the future of our children regarded as the future leaders of tomorrow in turmoil. Secondly, came Dr. Chris Ngige who himself became governor of the state through election rigging and thuggery.
During his regime, life in Anambra State was nasty ,short and brutish over cash and carry patronage disagreement with his estranged godfather, Chief Chris Uba. He, however, found favour with the people for constructing good roads across the state for the first time in the history of the state.
Thirdly, came Mr. Peter Obi who reclaimed his electoral mandate through the courts but chose to kill the democratically elected system of local government in the state through autocratic appointment of LG Caretaker Committees to govern the 21 LGAs of Anambra State.
He ran a personal administration indexed on his personal whims and caprices contrary to the dictates of APGA manifesto. Even though Nigeria is practising party-participatory democracy, to him, none of the members of the rank and file of APGA party in the state, including this writer who was then the State Secretary of APGA, who fought and won the electoral victory was fit for political appointment.
He donated the state financial commonwealth to his preferred churches to run their mission schools and hospitals leaving the other Christian denominations to bemoan the utter discriminatory governance.
It was during this period of the decadent ‘old Anambra’ system of administration of Peter Obi that the abundant human capital resources in the state was allowed to waste away as no single worker was employed by his tottering regime through the State Civil Service Commission or the State Local Government Service Commission even when thousands of workers have duly retired leaving behind thousands of vacancies begging for youths employment in the work place.
The fallout of this embargo on employment is massive unemployment amongst our teeming army of youths which have thereby resulted in the unending rising cases of crimes, armed robberies and kidnappings in the state.His 8-year long embargo on employment and non-conduct of Local Government election was unprecedented in the history of the state.
As for the present ‘old Anambra’ systematic regime of Chief Willie Obiano, for the masses of Anambra State especially those residing in the rural areas, government under Governor Obiano is an institution that exists in the realm of the celestial world, more so as the outgoing government functionaries continues to feed fat on public funds while the people suffer.
A parallel militia government exists unchallenged in the state where hoodlums and thugs wielding dangerous clubs, sticks and weapons mount human roadblocks where innocent traders, residents and visitors alike are made to part with their hard-earned money before they are allowed to regain their freedom of movement with their goods and wares, thus scaring away many international traders from other states and West African countries who have since abandoned coming to Onitsha, reputed to be the home of the biggest market in West Africa, to transact their businesses.
No wonder, many Guest Houses and hotels in Onitsha and environs are fast closing for lack of patronage. The three major cities of the state Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi have tales of unpassable roads that have made movement of men and goods a harrowing experience.
The few roads which the present government managed to reconstruct have started collapsing because of poor quality of contracts executed and others have been abandoned with impunity. In contrast to the above true scenario of the condition of things, the people, mainly the poor masses and the gullible ones among the elites, are daily deceived by the state government’s propaganda on the state radio and television depicting a picture of an Eldorado state.
The much publicised programme of Community Choose*Your Project *Initiative*is yet another attempt to hoodwink the electorate, pull wools over their eyes while dishing out cash handouts as it were to fat feeding party politicians and hangers-on as political settlement to the detriment of the ordinary Anambrarians.
Governor Obiano for the past 8 years of his APGA administration has deemed local government dictatorship as a tradition.
Despite the billions of naira received every month from the Federation Account,the entire Council areas have remained stagnant. There is no rural development activities of any sort anywhere.The above ugly scenario is only but the tip of the iceberg.
Having painted a gloomy picture of what an ‘old Anambra’ state system of governance looks like, which is unpalatable, it is only human and natural to dream for a new Anambra State system of administration that have a human face which will bring with it the fresh dew drops the state urgently needs to stem the tide of the years of the locusts.
And this is where Dr. Godwin Maduka And his agenda for ‘New Anambra’ governance of the state becomes relevant,
hence the need to harp on it for better understanding, appreciation and support. The joy of Dr. Maduka’s New Anambra governance agenda is that it offers us an opportunity to change from the decadent ‘old Anambra’ ways of doing things, commonly dubbed “business as usual” to the new Anambra system of administration free from the ugly picture painted above.
Happily, the beauty of democracy is that it offers us periodically an opportunity to effect change with our votes. November 6,2021 has once again availed us another chance for change. _Anambra_2021 is therefore the golden chance we need more than ever before to effect the much desired, long-hoped change for a ‘new Anambra’ state of our dream where every citizen will have a sense of belonging.
The people of Anambra State needs to turn a new leaf for a fresh start to usher in someone with fresh ideas, fresh vision and fresh neutral mindset to put the state back on the track of progress, economic well-being and peace for development.
A vote for Dr. Maduka’s new Anambra governance manifesto will ultimately usher in a completely new Anambra State of our dream free of the perennial menace of corruption, public funds embezzlement, election rigging, nepotism, godfatherism, thuggery, abandoned roads contracts execution etc.
The salient question is: What is Dr. Maduka’s ‘New Anambra’ governance deal all about? The answer is not far-fetched. During one of his marathon Town-hall meetings held recently in the state capital, Awka, Dr. Maduka, a U.S-trained internationally recognised Medical Practitioner of repute and multi-billionaire-turned politician from Umuchukwu, Orumba South LGA of the state gave a thought-provoking speech that is supposed to be of great concern to every son and daughter of Anambra State.
According to Dr. Maduka in his speech, “It is self- evident that we cannot choose intelligently unless we know what the alternatives are. This election is essentially a choice between ‘old Anambra’ system that have failed us as a state and new Anambra values that will transform our state for better life for all.
“Under my ‘new Anambra’ philosophy, you expect from me if elected as the next Governor of Anambra State populist policies such as brand new Capital City of Awka befitting the state, democratically elected local government system within six months of my being sworn in, 24-hours Neighbourhood Security Watch for all towns and villages, free healthcare for the breastfeeding child and mother, Universal free basic education, industrialisation, farm settlements to gainfully employ the youths and ensure food security, provision of basic social services such as good roads network, constant electricity supply, safe water supply, Sanitation services, housing development and respect for the independence of the judiciary and the Rule of law amongst others will be high on my agenda”.
In fact, the best way to understand Dr. Maduka’s ‘New Anambra governance election promise is to equate it with the following universally accepted 8 elements of good governance namely Rule of law, Transparency, Accountability, Participatory democracy, Equity, All-inclusive Government, Consensus Oriented and Responsible Government.
Another angle to explain it is his present party candidacy, the Accord Party listed as No.1 on the ballot paper. Accord Party is a progressive party with centrist ideology recently in the news touted as the new Pan-Igbo Party being rebranded for 2023 Presidential election to carry the Igbo Cross so as to give voice back to the Igbo race.
No doubt, the Maduka/Accord Party ticket is a challenge and viable alternative to the stranglehold of the bourgeoisie political parties namely APGA, PDP and APC and their candidates who define their existence by how much they can pilfer from the state’s treasury while pretending to be latter-day saints.
Anambra people should wake up from docility by electing Dr. Maduka as their next Governor who have personal integrity and philanthropic lifestyle to translate to good governance. Dr. Maduka’s sense of philanthropy speaks volumes.
His humility and identification with the less-privileged in our society has fetched him a rare name, ‘ Evidence ‘ by no less the masses of Anambra State, which has become his campaign slogan.
The good people of Anambra State should now heave a sigh of relief for this great rare chance for change in the governance of the state blotted by 22 years of local government dictatorship.
Barr. Dr. Jezie Ekejiuba, an Onitsha-based Human Rights Lawyer and President, Anambra State Association of Registered Voters ( ASARVOTE ); Email: barrister.jezie4peace@yahoo. com; Tel./WhatsApp: 08036095750; Onitsha, Anambra State.