In recent times, the aides to Governor Willie Obiano have been publishing several articles, most of which always sign off using non-existent names. In summary, the articles allege that Peter Obi is striving desperately to remain in the public eye, to decide who governs Anambra State and is networking to become the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019. They also re-echoed what their master had made his campaign mantra – the comical claim that Obi demanded N7 Billon as campaign expenses – and that the N75 billion Obi left in the State coffers for Obiano was actually N11 billion. For good measure in their warped thinking, they have similarly submitted that Peter Obi is not in good terms with his deputies and Dr. Chris Ngige. As they ramble on, it beats the imagination what their tirades against Peter Obi have to do with the fact that Mr. Oseloka Obaze is contesting against their principal. Indeed, they should be explaining to the electorate what Obiano has done with the mandate he was given to merit his choice over Obaze.
As electioneering goes on, many Anambrarians and Anambra-Watchers have observed the antics of desperadoes all over the place. As their frantic moves collapsed, the APGA people resorted to propaganda, which has continued to offend the sensibilities of the people. What is published in the newspapers is child’s play when compared to what is churned out daily from the Anambra State Broadcasting Service. On radio and television alike, the bogey of Peter Obi forms the subject-matter of their commentaries; at times for days in a week.
But is Obi contesting election? Why are they so afraid of him to the point of paranoia?
With the intensification of electioneering, it is pertinent – for our collective good – to present a short manual for those vying for public office. The Quintus manual constitutes the Introduction.
In one of Cicero’s campaigns, his brother, Quintus, drew up for him a manual of electioneering technique. “Be lavish in your promises”, Quintus advised; “men prefer a false promise to a flat refusal …. Continue to get some new scandal aired against your rivals for crime, corruption, or immorality”. He submitted that “a candidate must be a chameleon, adapting to each person he meets, changing his expression and speech as necessary”.
Obiano has all the advantages of incumbency. As a Governor for over three years, he is in a position to flaunt his achievements to convince the people that he merits another term. This was exactly what Obi did during electioneering for his second term. I was in charge of project tours and access was granted to doubting Thomases to verify our projects, and they did so commendably.
In his inaugural speech, Obiano promised three independent power plants and a refinery within a year. Anambra people would like to see the progress of those projects and if, for any reason, he has not started them, he should tell us why. Anambra people will like to witness the implementation of close to 100 Memoranda of Understanding he has signed as well as the evidence of the US$7.5 billion investments he claimed to have attracted to Anambra State. We want to see how much he has added to the savings his predecessor, Peter Obi left in the State coffers or how some of the assets were disposed of as suggested by some people close to him. What of the Paris Club refund of over N20 billion and what he used it for? He should also clear the air on the allegation that he collects N1.2 billion every month as security votes – the highest among the States in Nigeria relative to income.
Obiano spent a lot of State funds in media hype on his supposed export of N5 million worth of Ugu and Onugbu (bitter leaf) vegetables as well as processing an order for the export of 10 million tubers of yam. Being seasonal crops, is the export of Ugu and Onugbu a regular business or a one-shot, election-year hype? As for yams, we in Anambra know that over 80% of the yams we consume are from Benue and Taraba States. It will be interesting to know by what magic he is generating 10 million tubers of yams.
A careful observation of the electioneering terrain reveals that it is only Oseloka Obaze they attack. What of other candidates like Dr. Tony Nwoye and Mr. Osita Chidoka? Does it mean that it is only Obaze that they consider a real threat to their hope for another predatory term in office? We know they spent hundreds of millions of Naira trying to prevent his emergence as a candidate even as they engage all manner of hatchet writers to vilify him with badly-concocted lies. What they do not realize is that you cannot destroy genuine reputation built over the years by uncouth propaganda as in the Quintus prescription.
What is it you will say to run Obaze down? Unlike them, Obaze is a complete gentleman with poise and dignity. After reading commendations to him by world leaders – like the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon – he had worked with, one is bound to doff off one’s cap for him. I have also read the testaments of his colleagues.
Indeed, the difference between his mind and the way he thinks and acts with those in power today is almost the difference between maturity and adolescence – in that order. He is their opposite in temperament and world-view. Exceedingly temperate in food and drink, he has one of the most perceptive, penetrating and logical minds one has ever interacted with. In his company, one enjoys the sight of him tossing ideas like an acrobat into the air and impaling them in the prongs of the questions he usually throws back at one. He puts on no airs, no elegances and no pretences. There are no stories of unholy liaisons or risqué tales relating to him. Telling lies is neither a hobby nor habit for him. He is skilled in formulating policies and implementing them. Much as he cherishes close collaboration, he cannot depend on others to think for him. He has so trained his mind to contentment that those about him are amazed by his asceticism.
Obaze has not attacked any person beyond raising issues and seeking clarifications. He keeps telling Ndi Anambra what and how he would govern if elected. Take this sampler: “MDG was the (SPV) used effectively by Mr. Peter Obi, which enabled Anambra to deliver to its 177 communities full dividends of democracy with no community left behind. The use of MDG and our home grown ANIDS Scheme has been discarded. We must return to that trajectory with ANIDS-MDGS to SDG programme”.
Obiano’s people should emulate Obaze in facing issues. Obiano himself is not helping matters; in the beginning we forgave his lapses thinking he would overcome them with time as the holders of important offices are moulded by executive responsibility and experience into deeper maturity and judgement. However, whenever he speaks or acts, all one observes is degeneration. All the vices noticed about him have been magnified many times over. He has made Anambra a butt of dinner jollity by some of the things he does. His confidence in luck is more active than his faith in himself.
Have we wondered the time-consuming attention his team deploys in doing the wrong things which, if channelled to governance, will make Anambra a better place? What is this intemperate abuse of everybody for? Their attitudes keep Obaze and his supporters on the match convinced that come March 17th, we shall breathe with relief, because a long and terrible nightmare would have been over.
Obaze is the man Anambra needs because he is impatient with tardiness, incompetence and stupidity.
Obienyem sent this piece from Lagos