Anambra: A State in Search of a Leader with Vision and Direction By Tobe Madekwe.
If a nationwide opinion on what Nigeria’s greatest challenge is sampled, the leadership challenge will most certainly come tops. That there is a dearth in the quality of leadership in Nigeria is no longer news and our challenge over decades has been how to evolve a leadership that truly represents its people. Anambra State is certainly not immune to the lack of quality leadership Nigeria suffers today.
At Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, a certain Dr.Chinwoke Mbadinuju emerged governor of Anambra under the umbrella of the largely destructive Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). To say that Mbadinuju is the least performing governor ever known to Anambra is to state the obvious. In one word, between 1999 and 2003 when Mbadinuju held sway to power, his administration was a disaster! Under Mbadinuju, life in Anambra was hellish! The people of Anambra groaned endlessly. He became a burden to the people. The state was under the siege of bad governance. In the four years Mbadinuju reigned, Anambra was sent into the abyss. He sent pupils and students; the supposed future on strike. He put their future on hold; he took it away from them. He said it was a crime to pay men and women who had given their best years to the service of the state their pension. He even called them dead woods-a statement which shows the callousness of the mind of the man and there are still many of his type scattered around our political space.
Under Mbadinuju the state knew no development. Social amenities were nonexistent. No reasonable infrastructure was built. The people lived in dehumanizing poverty and excruciating squalor. He surrendered the coffers of the state to his godfather Emeka Offor and other political octopuses and they feasted on our common wealth. They grew endlessly obese while the people where left sick, homeless, malnourished, deprived, uneducated, jobless and forlorn. The resultant effect was high voltage crime level, largely created by Mbadinuju’s insensitive government and his response was setting up a Gestapo militia which applied the martial law in its operations. Mbadinuju’s four years was a complete nightmare, one lacking in vision and direction. It was an administration Anambarians will never want to experience again. Mbadinuju, who is a template for failure in governance, went ahead to publish a miserable auto-biography titled ‘How I served Anambra State’. Such drunken men are the type we must stop from getting into positions of power.
In the elections of 2003, Dr.Chris Ngige became governor on the platform of the PDP riding on the back of another god father Chris Uba- an illiterate billionaire who is a product of the corrupt Nigerian state. However, the three years he spent as governor gave Anambarians something to cheer about. It was a huge sigh of relief from the monstrous Mbadinuju years .He immediately got down to business pursuing populist projects, demystifying the shackles of godfatherism, endearing himself to the people. At that time it was difficult not to fall in love with Ngige. He had become the beautiful bride. People cared less of how he got into power and bothered only about what he did with power. However, his administration had its downside. The renegades who had the backing of the Federal Government at the time came fighting. They set Anambra on fire. They attempted to kidnap Ngige, swore in his deputy in Enugu brought brigandage and cataclysm of immense propensity on the state. His security was withdrawn. But in all of this Ngige surged on, effectively managing the affairs of the state even within those circumstances. Perhaps, Ngige remains Anambra’s most popular and loved politician in recent time owing largely to his stellar performance as Governor. Not a few people believe that his time as governor surpasses others who have led the state in its history. After 3 years in power, Ngige’s election was upturned by the law courts.
Then came Peter Obi, a man whose appearance you fall in love with. Soft spoken, brilliant and a successful business man who relied on the courts to redeem his mandate as governor of Anambra. First it will not be fair to say Obi hasn’t done anything for Anambra in his 7 years as governor, but I think his greatest undoing is his Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) policy which has the mantra of developing all sectors simultaneously. Under Peter Obi, growth and development has been at snail speed, for it makes little sense to scatter scarce resources on too many sectors achieving little impact. My secondary school economics teaches me scale of preference and that scarce resources should be channeled towards projects of strategic priorities. Governor Obi’s administration lacks priority. Its activities have been illogical and unanalytical. His administration has been largely directionless. His leadership doesn’t inspire and hasn’t brought about reasonable changes. His government has been less functional, inefficient, lacking in cohesion, drive and will to create drastic changes Anambarian’s yearn for. His performance in the last 7 years has been below average.
Why do I write this piece? I write this piece because the coming governorship election in Anambra is an opportunity to get real serious and elect a leader who can lead Anambra efficiently. In my opinion, Anambra is one state that has been undone to a great extent by her elites and cared less about by her youths. Her Elites seem to have this egocentric ‘I don’t care attitude’- no meeting point and even when there is one little or nothing is achieved. Most of her elites have been busy negotiating personal gains at the expense of the state while the rest have decided to remain in their comfort zone. The coming election provides a unique opportunity for the youths of Anambra to stand up and be counted. We must be ready to ensure that we elect a leader with a clear vision, backed by definite plans and a clear direction. A leader who has got the will, drive and proactiveness to bring about changes desperately needed in Anambra. This is a responsibility we owe our state. An opportunity we can’t afford to let slip through our hands. We must utilize the power of the youth vote.
I am @tobemadekwe
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