On November 6, Anambra people will troop out to elect a new governor. Pursuant to Section 182(1)[b] of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, the incumbent, Willie Obiano is due to transfer the baton. Arguably, Obiano’s administration sustained the movement. Thus, Anambra has the most proficient administrations from the era of Chris Ngige who pigheadedly pulled down ‘godfatherism’ after things fell apart between him and his PDP-powerbrokers branded as ‘OBJ Boys’ including Andy Uba. It was a tough ‘do-or-die’ battle between Ngige and the gladiators for control of state power.
Politics aside, few of the vital questions Ndi-Anambra must ask themselves before stepping out to cast their votes for a new governor is: which of the gladiators namely; APC – Andy Uba; APGA – Prof Chukwuma Soludo; PDP – Valentine Ozoigbo; and YPP – Ifeanyi Ubah can be honestly trusted to teach the children in schools? Again, as a region with entrepreneurial spirit, which of them can be confidently endorsed to chair a board of a business empire with vested interest, hope of growth, proper coordination and management without any fears of bankruptcy, liquidation or distress after a short period of existence? Furthermore, which of the candidates can be trusted with integrity, exposure, skills and capability to attract foreign investments to the state? And finally, which of these candidates can be recommended to represent the state in national and international fora with significant and meaningful impacts?
To answer these vital questions would give clues on the way-forward for Anambra vis-à-vis the forthcoming poll. These questions can guide in making a choice of a proficient state governor. Governance is about economic growth, administrative skills and in particular, giving priority to the future of the children. As expected, money will fly around, but the future of our children must be a focal point. The election is a secret-ballot, hence, voters can still vote to please the conscience irrespective of what was shared if it must be received. The voting pattern remains confidential and nobody knows the candidate or party voted for or not. With the entrepreneurial spirit, accept any goodies shared, but vote wisely. Like Dr. Chris Ngige said, “the election is a battle between the light and darkness”. And I agree with him absolutely.
No doubt, by the 1999 Constitution, all the candidates for the Anambra poll are prima facie qualified having attained the mandatory age of 35years and with O’Level academic qualification pegged as minimum qualification, however, the interest of the state should override every other thing. To sustain the enviable progress recorded over the years should be the utmost priority of the Anambra people. By good leadership, the state now has a commissioned Anambra International Cargo Airport. This great exploit by APGA government deserves encomiums. No amount of politics can conceal this. In fact, every propaganda is a ‘medicine after death’.
The ‘Light-of-the-Nation’ as ‘christened’ with its enviable accomplishments has set a standard that must be sustained and advanced. Most states in the country particularly in the South-East are looking up to Anambra as a pacesetter on account of good leadership it has consecutively maintained. Thus, this is a battle between progress and retrogression; between chains and freedom, and between continuity of good governance witnessed in Anambra from Ngige’s tenure to date and ‘trial-and-error’. Despite the fact that Anambra hasn’t been in a central party, it has recorded significant attainments than states in the ruling party. Thus, this cannot be a factor as far as Anambra is concerned. In other words, Ndi-Anambra must resist egocentrism. Anambrarians should endorse a candidate with proven managerial capability – managed capital and human resources credibly with economic growth and contemporary innovations. Nothing beats administrative experience. Short-and Long-term economic development cannot be gathered by embryonic struggles.
No doubt, all of them have supported the less-privileged communities and churches with funds and social amenities. These good gestures are appreciated irrespective of motives. Recently, during COVID-19 pandemic, they equally donated to support the state government. In private enterprise, they have chains of businesses running to their credits which is commendable. That is to say that the ‘Light of the Nation’ is no doubt endowed with human resources.
But to call a spade a spade, Anambra Government-House is a big shoe yearning for a strong leg in terms of managerial skills, otherwise, it will drop in value and worth. The space cannot be properly occupied with mere private business acumen or philanthropic activities but proficiency in corporate governance and economic spheres. According to an opinion poll, Professor Soludo is the preferred candidate of the majority of the Anambra people.
Prof Soludo, a former Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo and CEO/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission of Nigeria, Chairman of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, Chairman of Board and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Chairman of Committee that designed the Financial System Strategy 2020, Chairman Anambra Vision 2070 Committee, an Economic Adviser to different companies and countries, was awarded best African and global Central Bank governor 2005, 2006 and many more awards to his accolades.
Donald Trump’s tenure at the Whitehouse should be an eye-opener. Nemo dat quod non habet rule states, “no one gives what they do not have”. Trump managed his chains of businesses ‘successfully’ as a magnate who hires and fires at will. But, that’s not the same with the public sector. There’s a great difference between managing private businesses and a state government. Experience cannot be purchased. Administrative knowhow comes by unswerving training garnered over a long period. Today, America is soaring, regaining its rightful position in space, and making progress from all sides through Joe Biden’s administration.
The dangerous blooper and temptation Ndi-Anambra must doggedly resist is to allow a big fish that providentially entered into their net escape carelessly from them. Agreed, constitutionally, the candidates are all qualified, but merit should guide. The level of development in Anambra doesn’t encourage ‘trial-and-errors’ or a novice to wear the shoes. Anambra state must sustain the momentum.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst.