Home / News / Local / They write about Valentine Ozigbo By Valentine  Obienyem
Mr. Valentine Ozigbo

They write about Valentine Ozigbo By Valentine  Obienyem

Mr. Valentine Ozigbo

The first time I took notice of Mr. Val Ozigbo was at Owerri Airport.  After our flight landed, he joined other young men and discussed with Mr. Peter Obi for almost an hour. Within that hour, they touched every topical issue that bothered on the progress and development of Nigeria. When others left to their various destinations, he had a further 30 minutes discussion with Mr. Peter Obi.

Now, away from Nigeria and her problems, they discussed Anambra State in the spirit of “Ekechaa n’Obi ekee na Nkpuke.” During that discussion, when the idea about his contesting was still at the embryo, one could see that his consuming passion is good governance. It was particularly painful to him that our state was fast retrogressing to the point that all the gains recorded before Obiano have been completely eroded. What are those gains?

Obi invested so much in education, security, roads and other infrastructure. Besides leaving over N75 billion in the state’s coffers for Obiano, he cleared all arrears of gratuities and did not owe any banks or contractors for any job done. Today, the gains of those epochal years, when Anambra was easily crowned the state with the best network of roads, improved health and educational facilities, have completely been reversed by Obiano’s bad leadership. This is accentuated by a peculiar brand of sycophants that sing his praise. Knowing he drinks his own praises hungrily, they give it to him in full gulp.  It is so irritating that even when he proverbially cuts somebody’s head with his bow, rather than shout murder, they  compliment his expert archery and marksmanship!

Do you know that this brand of sycophants changed the system of calculating liabilities to include work flagged off but yet to be done and work on which no certificate has been generated. I hope now their Caesar is about leaving the stage with over 95% of the projects he flagged off remaining undone, they will count them among his liabilities. When final deductions are made, his liabilities will hit a trillion mark!

Today, gratuities of  over N5 billion are owned retirees since 2017. Today, Anambra State owes banks over N200 billion as well as billions on external debt. Today, Anambra is the worst in terms of security as people of the state have postponed weddings, burials and other events indefinitely. Even  in villages, kinsmen are afraid of holding “Umunna” meetings!  Have you wondered why contractors refused to roll out caterpillars and pretend to be working on roads for the sake of election? Obiano is owing them over N250 billion – all the roads they were persuaded to work on are yet to be paid for.

Obiano is set to end up as the worst Governor of the decade. In 8 years he could not attract a single industry to the state. Even some attracted by Obi and that had actually commenced building of their facilities, such as Distell, had to withdraw because Obiano did not, according to them, “understand the dynamics of industrialisation.” It was the same lack of understanding of so many things that made International Brewery to build their biggest facility in Shagamu, Ogun State,  abandoning the banks on Omamballa River where Obi had already provided for their expansion.

The foregoing and more were among the topics discussed between Obi and Ozigbo. The end of the discussion is how to redeem the state and set her on her feet again. This is what informed the decision of Mr. Val Ozigbo to throw his hat into the ring. He is actually on a rescue mission lest the ship of the state sinks irredeemably.

Among all the Governorship aspirants, he is the most reviewed. Almost all the writers have written about him, drawing inspiration from his pedigree resting on sound corporate and managerial abilities that will surely transform into the needed leadership. They cite his brilliance, malleability, humility and respectful nature as setting him apart from others. They recognise the fact that he rose to the pinnacle of the corporate world by dint of hard work and not through governmental or institutional push.

Few days from now, Anambra State will go to the polls. The questions we should ask ourselves are: Who has the energy to clear the Aegean (“Obianonia”) stable? Who has the competence to restore the glory of the state? Which candidate  has the capacity to address the myriad of problems confronting Anambra State of today that make her appear as the most troubled state in the country?

We spent time on how Obiano governed the state in other to empathise the likelihood that whoever he is supporting  may  be his replica and should not be supported, confirming the timeless saying: “birds of a feather flock together.”  Meanwhile, Prof. Charles Soludo, by identifying with Obiano has shown us that he can do anything to gain power and retain it.  His support for Obiano, rationalising his failure and generally granting imprimatur to some of the bizarre acts of his portrays him as either consumed by search for power or by short-sightedness.   Such a man, I dare say, is a danger to the State. For example, how many ills of Obiano has he identified? None!

Val Ozigbo has been campaigning vigorously and has avoided name-calling by concentrating on developmental gaps in the state he is eager to fill through sound policies. I read his last release which is instructive, where he mentioned the roads abandoned by Obiano, the many projects Obiano abandoned and his proposed solution to the menace of abandonment. I think he is coming fully prepared and not on the strength of any persons.

It is also instructive to note that those who have come in contact with Ozigbo talk abundantly about his goodwill, his nimble intelligence that goes to the root of the matter. He is the right man for the job.

In an age when moral reprobates are all over the place, it is worthy to note that with Val, we have not heard stories of intrigues,  we did not hear of threat to expel him from where he worked for any reason. We have not heard his colleagues impugn on his integrity as Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala once did to Soludo.

All in all, Anambra is in trouble. Our woes are compounded by the recklessness of the man at the helms. We are in the wilderness crying for a good leader that will lead us back to safety. At times like this, the people have the moral responsibility to seek to better their lots by going for good leaders that have the capacity and the energy to do the work of rejuvenation and re-building. Who else do we turn to and what else do we do other than beckoning on all men and women of goodwill to come forward and vote for Mr. Val Ozigbo.

The last debate organised by Arise TV showed him as a man of experience with practical solutions to the problems of the state. The world attests that while Prof. Charles Soludo and Sen. Andy Ubah’s war of words threatened to degenerate into fisticuffs, Ozigbo remained calm and himself. How else do we differentiate a man of integrity and peace from the common run of men?

The son of a teacher, he was brought up in the old and timeless moral tradition of respect for values. We can comfortably  compare him to an eagle whose wings have grown, we cannot keep him in the nest and we cannot hinder his flight.

Obienyem sent this piece from Lagos

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