Elections usually present an opportunity for the electorates to make their choices amongst alternatives. This is precisely what will confront the people of Anambra State on the 6th of November, 2021. It is a time to examine the governance of the state with the aim of supporting the status quo or voting for a genuine change.
Clearly, Anambra people have realised that another four years of bad governance will bury the state for good. It is unbelievable that not up to 20% of the projects inherited from Mr. Peter Obi were continued or completed, despite over 75 billion Naira Obi left in the treasury. What is most perplexing is that in the midst of these glaring anomalies, Anambra State, from the status of a debt-free State, now owes over 200 billion Naira.
Clearly, what Anambra needs today is not the usual politics of bread and butter but serious soul-searching about her future. We need statesmen to intervene in the affairs of the State and think not just about who wins, but about the person with proven capacity to lead Anambra out from the doldrums.
I have gone through the Curriculum Vitae of all contestants, but that was not enough; as our man at the helm now also paraded a good CV during his own electioneering. Beyond the CVs of the contestants, I have personally done background checks on their records. I can confirm that some of them are very solid and will make good governors if elected. Dr. Godwin Maduka, for example, exemplifies hard work and the indomitable Igbo spirit. What he has done in his home-town and beyond as a private citizen mirrors what he can do if elected into public office. On his part, Mr. Akachukwu Nwakpo, having been bred in the Seminary, is imbued with admirable virtues worthy of being applied to statecraft. One can go on and on.
However, so far Mr. Valentine Ozigbo remains unrivalled. I have gone through his manifesto and one could see that he is coming fully prepared. Shall we see some of the qualities that set him apart from others?
He is the youngest and most vibrant among the contestants. At fifty, his age is ideal for the governance of a State. He would not sleep during meetings nor get lost when knotty matters of State are discussed. He still has the energy to run around and remain totally abreast with events and developments in the state. Added to his natural gift of good health, he has managed all forms of resources not to be overwhelmed by governance.
As the son of a head-master like myself, I know the discipline of bringing up children of teachers. Observing him closely, that discipline has become part of his life such that he was the best graduating student in his set at Nsukka (UNN). Unassuming and always striving to become the best in whatever he does, he emerged the best staff wherever he worked. Not one to rest on his oars, he has continued to develop himself through further trainings and participation in global value-enriching activities such as World Economic Forum, African Development Bank annual meetings, IMF annual meetings, among many others.
To have risen to the post of CEO of Transnational Corporation of Africa in his forties, summaries his credentials. Also worthy of note is that his growth and development have not been those supported by government appointments or largesse. Who says President Buhari may not decide to appoint anybody as the Governor of Central Bank? Such appointments, mostly prompted by political patronage, are hardly the measure of capacity and competence, but the height one is able to attain in a competitive environment through sheer efforts.
From his manifesto, I observed the 10 qualities he has pledged to Ndi Anambra. Initially, I was not impressed and will not be moved by such usual political platitudes; but I took time studying them. Consider what he said he would offer: visionary leadership, demonstrated competence, inclusiveness and accessibility, excellence, philosophy of continuous improvement, experience, giving back to the society, youthful energy, digitalised mind-set and keen understanding of the future. Juxtaposed against his achievements in the corporate world, one would see that those things he talked about were the same things that ensured his rapid and sustained rise. He is, therefore, talking about what he has lived through and not speaking in tongues.
He did not stop at the fore-going: the manifesto indicated that he will approach governance through openness and accountability, partnership and collaboration, building economic competitiveness, social impact investment, respect for rule of law, among others. At the core of his pledge is what he ingeniously called ‘Project Chawapu’, aimed at returning and strengthening Anambra State as the “Light of the Nation,”, which has remained dimmed by bad governance. As a twenty-first century leader that he is, he crafted his vision and mission with hosts of deliverables that are impactful and measurable. If not distracted as surely he will not, Mr. Ozigbo has demonstrated capacity in all the places he worked and will surely not disappoint.
I particularly like the detailed nature of his manifesto, showing evidence of deep and pragmatic leadership. He carefully isolated areas of strength of all the parts of the State for developmental purposes. This is in sync with modern developmental paradigms.
Anambra State cannot develop in isolation. Val is humble that he would not hesitate to stoop among investors as Obi did to attract some of them to the State. If each government ends up attracting two or three quality investors to the State as Obi did, our story would not be the same today. Val has the capacity to do the needful.
A word on his running-mate, Mrs. Azuka Enemo: Widely read and diversely experienced, she is a model of the feminine tenderness Val needs for meaningful governance.
Val sent this piece from Lagos