By Oscar Onwudiwe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“Ndigbo, a people much talked about but hardly understood – not even by themselves” – Rt Hon. (Dr) Nnamdi Azikiwe 1992
The above quotation by the Great Philosopher King (Zik of Africa) remains true of the Igbo race and even more true about the 22 years old GIFT of God called Anambra State……. When Stephen R. Covey said in 1904 that “Success is not what you have BUT what you do with what you have”, he did not know of a country called Nigeria and clearly never met any Igbo man – but we all need that wisdom. I would not go down the now boring sing-song of the wasting endowments God showered on the land of the people of Anambra State. What is most important for today’s discuss is a critical look at the EFFECTS OF CRISIS OF VALUES that has consumed Nigeria and has totally confused Ndigbo. For the Elohim of Ndigbo never meant for them to thrive in unrighteousness. God would not have made them so industrious.
One of the reasons for the absence of progress in Nigeria is because since 1966 till date, a foul atmosphere has been created / sustained which breeds and eulogises mindless hustlers, hypocrites, (big man with large egos and small brains whose lust for power can only be marched by their evil machinations.)
It is easy to identify these classes of people. They hardly discuss issues, they focus on cheap blackmail and they play on base tribal sentiments to deceive and obtain power under false pretences. If Nigeria must continue this way, God would forgive them because a forced marriage is bound to produce a dysfunctional family. So what becomes of Anambra State if they chose to malfunction? A homogenous people, industrious, same culture and language, highest literacy rate in Nigeria, superbly endowed with human, mineral and material resources etc?
Would God forgive them also, if they chose to fail? My heart bleeds as I listen to the campaigns. All I see is a struggle to convince the ignorant masses that the other guy is not a good man or he is not educated or he would sell us to the “enemy”! etc. Gosh!! So we have “Enemies”? A people who have over 70% of their best and brightest living outside their state have enemies? I use to hear “Ojemba enwe ilo” i.e. (The traveler never makes enemies). Has it changed? Let me ask, how educated was M.I. Okpara when he did what nine Governors today cannot do even with less money? How rich was Okpara after he left office?
Our decline as a people started when some of our less knowledgeable brothers planted a warped philosophy that says “ There is something like Talent Transfer” i.e. if you are a good boxer (Mike Tyson) then surely, you can be a good singer (Micheal Jackson) or you can become a good car racer (Micheal Schumaker). This philosophy has taken root – so the stupid thinking now is “If you are a rich businessman, you can be a good Governor”. If you don’t have plenty of money or a godfather with plenty of money, then no matter how public spirited you are, no matter your vision, knowledge and talent to deliver for your people, YOU DO NOT QUALIFY to aspire.
They have now graduated from that self imposed hell and they now want to create more division with Religion and Senatorial Zone. Talk about the politics of men getting in the way of excellence. In all, they ignore the real issues. To help those who are organizing the Debate, the issues are viz. The contestants should answer the following questions while we take notes.
a) Governance Policy:- Should Anambra continue with this holistic policy nick-named ANIDS that tend not to place priority on anything? Or should Government focus on key areas that would release the energies of the people?
b) Available Funds: Anambra “declared” I.G.R. is between N400m to N500m per month while her wage bill is N1.85 billion per month. This means, that without Federal Allocation, Anambra can not pay her employess. What would they do to raise the I.G.R to at least N2 billion (which is easy)?
c) Workers Pay and Welfare:- Anambra is not one of the high paying states in Nigeria. Her Commissioner earn the lowest in Nigeria, 75% of her 38,000 civil servants live outside Anambra and commute to work everyday. How would the Governor to be reverse this trend?
d) Water: A few small water schemes have been commissioned i.e. Udoka, Nibo and part of Nnewi. Agulu, Dunukofia, Awkuzu, Ukpor, Nimo, Arroma, Aguinyi, Obizi and Greater Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi Water Schemes have been on going for 8 years. What would they do to complete it within one year?
e) Land Use Policy: Anambra people have been rushing to Asaba in Delta State to buy land where they get their C of O in about one month. This is not so in Anambra State. What would they do to reverse the trend?
f) Health: Before Governor Obi tenure, Anambra State had 23 General Hospitals, 8 Community Health Centres, 1 Psychiatric Hospital, 1 Dental Clinic, 1 Sports Council Clinic and 1 In-Service training school (Nkpor). All together they have 17,588 beds to service 5 million people. The 21 newly constructed cottage hospitals and the good looking Amaku Teaching hospital are yet to be furnished for use. The little over 100 doctors working for the State Government are not happy for many reasons. There is no modern full proof diagnostic centre, no orthopedic hospital despite the okada menace. What would they do to reverse this? If they agree that Health is Wealth.
g) Education: Would they re-visit the issue of returned schools and the modalities? There is no primary or secondary school in Anambra that any of the children of the rich contestants can attend. What would they do to create standards?
There are 1039 primary schools with enrolment of 1,789,510 pupils. What would they do to make the school environment better for these kids? Where would they get the money?
Despite the large number of pupils in the Primary Schools, Anambra records only 134,000 in her 251 Secondary Schools. What do they think happened to over 1.6 million pupils after they left primary school? How would they reverse this trend? For over six years Anambra has been in deficit and need for over 10,000 teachers. The embargo is usually lifted only during elections. 1000 in 2010 and now 2000 for 2014. Is it the best? Would they continue the trend? Anambra State twice received awards from the U.B.E. in Abuja. For good management because a diligent person was put to work; would they be focused on putting the best hands in offices or play politics for acceptance by their supporters – or village men?
h) Agriculture: Despite having one of the best arable lands in West Africa (World Bank report) Anambra can not feed itself. What would the Governors to be do to reverse this?
i) Environment:- Anambra State is partially mapped, so planning for the environment cannot be comprehensive. What would they do about this? The state capital and the major urban towns can be described with the word “Deplorable” How would they reverse this?
Anambra has about 1,000 erosion sites. Only 17 has been attended to. What would the new Governor do to reduce the number by half?
j) Sports and Entertainment: Experts say talents are wasting due to zero policy of encouragement in sports and entertainment. What would the Governor to be do to change this?
k) Security & Youth Empowerment: Would they fight crime with (non existing) jobs or would they train the youths with skills that would make them create their own jobs?
l) People’s Welfare: Would they continue with Donations which is clearly at the discretion of the Governor or would they make solid plans to cover all, debate it and implement same as appropriated by the legislature?
m) Budget Implementation: Rumour has it that in the past 8 years, Budget implementation has never been over 20%. That the house has been compromised into non-existence, and whereas there is no opposition party, no custodians of the common good to put a check on Government. The temptation to be an Emperor is too great to resist. What would be the incoming Governor’s attitude to the Budget Implementation and how transparent would it be?
n) Governance Style: Participatory Democracy is in resonance with the culture of Ndigbo and more so Ndi-Anambra who many look up to, to show the light as “Light of the Nation”. But some would swear that Anambra has imported a feudal culture of personification of office. No consultations, and the mindset of us and them is flagrantly promoted by the know all and knows best attitude of government. How would this be changed to include everyone in governance and boost the Anambra patriotic spirit for collective development?
o) Commerce and Industry: Anambra has three approved Chambers of Commerce. It is moribund. How do we revive this? Anambra has eight mineral resources in large commercial quantity and completely untapped. Do they know? If yes, they should name them and say what they would do if they become Governor to use what God gave to the state to prosper the people.
What would the Governor do to attract investments of Anambra people to Anambra?
p) Governor’s Personal Style: Governor Peter Obi non flamboyant demeanor and carriage is greatly admired all over the country particularly by non Ndi-Anambra. It has been interpreted by many as “Humility” and psychologically, it has contributed to the political stability enjoyed in Anambra within the period. How would an incoming Governor (rich) who is used to flamboyant announcement of his presence everywhere he goes change to copy this commendable style?
The above and more are the issues and we need answers. This current campaign of mud slinging is an ill wind and only shows emptiness and insincerity. The Great Ikemba once said in 2008 “You can disagree as much as you want and even fight, but never make reconciliation difficult”. Anambra needs all hands on deck. All good ideas and good deeds.
We should all take notes during the debates if the organizers know what questions to ask and be prepared to confront whosoever wins when he derails.
Docility is alien to Igbo land. We have always known that “it is the fear of the consequences of failure that spurs good governance and not the benevolence of the leaders”.
It is our land and we must take it back. The South East is looking up to Anambra to wake up and show the light or be jeered at and disrespected. Nigeria is waiting for Igbos to show them the beauty of democracy. It starts with the people – not the elected representatives. I am passionate about my love for my state. I did not chose it, God made that choice and he knows best. So when I see Onye Anambra whose dream is to milk the state, I feel sorry for him for he knows not what the spirit of ERI would do to him.
Than self restraint, there is nothing better. For the mud slingers, take this home. The entire South East has over 46 years of infrastructural deficit. We can not play catch up with “IKE-OTUNONYE” when what is needed is “IGWEBUIKE”.
Anambra is much talked about, misunderstood and at times disrespected – because we have not bothered to develop our land. It is wisdom to know others, it is enlightenment to know oneself.
Oscar Onwudiwe (email@example.com)
Vice President – Aka Ikenga
Writes from Lagos.