Though the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is going into the governorship election in Anambra State as a divided house, its flag bearer, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, is optimistic that he will win. MUSA ODOSHIMOKHE looks at the chances of the technocrat-turned politician.
The battle cry of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Oseloka Henry Obaze in the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State is that “Anambra Deserves Better!” As someone who has been close to the corridors of power in the state in the last 10 years, he believes that the state under Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has not fully realized its potentials.
Given his training and experience, Obaze believes he understand the role of leadership and good governance in the delivery of services, unfettered development and managing expectations. He said good governance rests on frugal management of resources, operating within available resources and equitable distribution of such resources via prioritisation.
He added: “Positive growth cannot be sustained without strategic thinking, visionary planning and guided implementation of purposeful policies that serve as the bedrock for effective programmes and projects. Enduring prosperity is infinitely predicated on solid and enduring development frameworks. I have written and spoken about pruning the cost of governance and achieving more through joint interstate ventures, which our leaders seem averse to.”
The former United Nations’ official and ex-Secretary to the Anambra State government under former Governor Peter Obi and incumbent Willie Obiano, respectively, wants to replicate the feat achieved by the state with millennium development goals (MDGs) under the administration of former Governor Peter Obi, which he was a part. He said: “My programme of action is encapsulated within the framework of the sustainable development goals. These basically cover all aspects of human and societal development – at the micro and macro levels — including agriculture, commerce and industry, education, health, security and infrastructure.”
In this regard, Obaze wants to leverage on his good relationship with international development partners to attract support for his government, if he is elected on November 18. His words: “The world is increasingly assuming the character of a global village where best practices determine who makes the most progress and stays ahead of others. If I am elected governor, I will leverage on my international contacts and goodwill to attract varied international support for our programmes and projects.
“You will recall that during the tenure of Mr. Peter Obi, several development partners and donor agencies took active interest in the state’s development model – Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), which ensured simultaneous development in all critical sectors of the economy and society. Beyond the international arena, I will explore and pursue collaborative ventures with the federal and other state governments for the public and private sectors alike. My administration will not be restricted to the public sector, but extend to supporting the private sector to grow and develop. In the final analysis, the public and private sectors involve Anambrarians one way or the other.”
Obaze defeated businessman, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Senator Stella Oduah and Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, to emerge the candidate of the party at the primary that took place in Awka on August 28. He polled 672 votes out of the estimated 950 votes cast by the special delegates that were elected for the primary.
The PDP flag bearer is set to confront Governor Obiano; Dr. Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress (APC); and Chief Osita Chidoka of the United Progressives Party (UPP), among others. Obaze believes that he is eminently qualified “to do better than the sad experience we have had in the last three years or so”. He said: “Aside from my worldview, my service as Secretary to Anambra State Government – particularly in the administration of Mr. Peter Obi — afforded me the opportunity to contribute to the welfare of my people. Outside my work in the office, I was in the field on special assignments that took me through the bush, mud and floods to provide relief and rehabilitation to communities in distress.
“I appreciate that public service should really be directed at people, communities and organisations that need it. It should not be an elite obsession with the flamboyance of undue protocols, sirens, motorcades, wild parties and so on. Having been chosen by our great party, the PDP, I am offering myself for service in the knowledge that I have a programme of action that would elevate the state and our people economically, socially and politically.”
A seasoned international civil servant, diplomat, strategic policy advisor and administrator, Obaze entered the race as the favourite for two main reasons. First, he has the backing of one of the most achieved governor the state has ever produced, Obi, and secondly, his track records speak volumes and go before him. Obaze said he left the Obiano administration when he noticed that things were falling apart and those at the very head of affairs could no longer listen to reason.
Born on April 9, 1955 in Ogidi, he is a native of Ochuche Umuodu, Ogbaru Local Government Area. He is married to Dr. Ofunne Omo Obaze a physician and they are blessed with children.
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.