By Oseloka H. Obaze
EVERY elementary Philosophy student is aware of the thoughts and viewpoints of Parmenides and Heraclitus. While Parmenides believed that nothing changes, Heraclitus contended that change is ubiquitous. In elementary Biology, growth is listed among the qualities of a human being. Growth is, therefore, Heraclitan, because to grow is to undergo changes, mostly positive.
There’s something inherently organic in the lives of geo-political entities such as States. Just as a human being grows and dies, so does a State. Anambra was born the day the State was created; and we need to entrust it into the hands of experienced and committed administrators to nurture it well and guarantee its growth and development, or risk its dying prematurely.
Monday 16th of October, 2017 will remain symbolic in the life of Anambra State. It is the day we set out on the journey towards the re-birth of Anambra State; from what has happened to her in nearly four years, the state requires a re-birth with a view to being set on firm and right paths to growth and development.
Hence this flag off day is one of undeniably nostalgia and hope for our party, the PDP and our people. It is also a day of change. For far too long, we have done things the old ways; we have not always succeeded and we have paid the price for it in different ways. Our party has been out of political power in Anambra State for nearly twelve years. This is, therefore a moment of reckoning. We are at the cusp where we must seize the moment and win our State back and place her on the national grid. Doing so will give us the voice, the reason and the impetus to serve our people well. Today, we seek to return Anambra to the stage of prosperity; and in keeping with our party manifesto, return power to the people.
Anambra State is severely broken and in utter disrepair. We must fix it!
Anambra people are suffering. Despite the grand-standing and propaganda, our people have been denied the true dividends of democracy. The Government of Governor Willie Obiano has failed us in more ways than one; but Anambra and its people deserve better. We must, therefore, change the leadership and political narrative in our collective interest.
Governance is all about the delivery of basic services, but Anambra as it is today, is doing the exact opposite; accentuated by poor leadership, fiscal recklessness and lack of transparency. The focus of all true lovers of the State should be to sweep the present recklessness aside and enthrone leaders and managers who understand the dynamics of leadership and management.
As a state we have not recently done well economically; not because the natural resources do not exist, nor because the talents are not there, but because narrow political considerations have progressively and consistently frustrated rational economic thinking and promulgation of right policies in governance. Such a defeatist mind-set is dangerous and must be changed.
Changing the leadership and governance narrative in Anambra is simple. We must borrow and implement international best practices related to governance. For now the Obiano Government talks-the-talk but does not walk-the-walk. What this translates to is that Ndi Anambra continue to suffer — from poor infrastructure, unsanitary environment, high taxes and levies, youth unemployment, falling educational standards, inadequate housing and other unwholesome outcomes of bad governance.
We are not unmindful of the challenges ahead. Nonetheless, in deference to zoning equity and honour, I have committed myself and my administration to a single four-year term in office – 2018-2022. It will be four years of intensive and productive hard work; and our focus will be primarily on human capital development anchored on education. We will thus commit 26% of our budget to education, with 10% going to parochial and privately-owned schools.
We will in that context offer free education from kindergarten to JS3. We will also tackle youth unemployment through vocational training and certification.
Why do we need change? Our present government has failed in instituting known attributes of good governance which include “macro-economic discipline and balances; providing physical and social infrastructure; raising savings and investment rates; and providing good governance”.
There’s need to categorically state the obvious; the Obiano Government has been financially reckless. In less than four years, it squandered over N455 billion in budgeted and appropriated funds; N75 billion in State savings and investments; and N60 billion in borrowings. Yet, there is nothing on ground that is commensurate with such public expenditure. All Obiano and his team do is engage in diversionary debate typical of a prodigal son who squandered his father’s wealth. In spite of the decay, the refrain among the horde of aides is “Willie is working and the People are Happy.” No! our people are sad, disenfranchised and hungry. Beyond that bluster, Willie Must Go!
We have been called to service; and we stand ready to serve, with humility and diligence. We must remember that: “A leader is not just a person of character; but character, by definition, is leadership”. We have been given a unique opportunity; and we must seize the moment and make good of this chance.
Anambra and its people deserve better than what it is getting in terms of leadership, development, wealth creation and job creation. We deserve better than what we have experienced in the past three years in terms of regenerative investments.
Beyond clichés, if Anambra is an oil producing State but we are not earning revenue, it means the system is broken. Having spent over N455 billion in appropriated funds in four years, frittered away over N75 billion in savings, and borrowed over N60 billion in foreign and domestic loans; and yet do not have commensurate infrastructure for those expenses, then the system is broken; indeed, shattered. Dropping from our Number One ranking in national ‘O’ level examinations to 6th & 7th positions respectively, means the system is in dire need of fixing; lest it disintegrates.
With our social and development infrastructure crumbling due to lack of maintenance, we face a crisis that needs to be fixed. If our established social welfare safety net for the aged has become moribund, then that system is broken and must be fixed.
Those who pretend that the Anambra governance system under Obiano is not broken, are not even clever by half, but are plainly deceptive. In their hearts and in physical evidence, the people of Anambra know the system is broken and needs to be fixed urgently. PDP is best suited to fix it.
The people of Anambra State should give us the mandate to return sanity and accountability to governance, and ensure the socio-economic and political security of our children, communities and posterity. In this quest for the Renaissance of Anambra state, there can be no conscientious or ideological objectors.
Mr. Obaze is the former Secretary to the State Government of Anambra State, Nigeria from 2012 to 2015 - MD & CEO, Oseloka H. Obaze. Mr. Obaze also served as a former United Nations official, from 1991-2012, and as a former member of the Nigerian Diplomatic Service, from 1982-1991.
Selonnes Consult Ltd. is a Strategic Policy, Good Governance and Management Consulting Firm, founded by Mr. Oseloka H. Obaze who served as Secretary to Anambra State Government from 2012-2015; a United Nations official from 1991-2012 and a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer from 1982-1991.