Policy Briefs

Anambra: We must seize the moment



I thank all those gathered here for the flag-off of our 2017 PDP gubernatorial campaign. As family, friends, supporters of our party and our leaders, you have honoured God, country and State in joining us today. In doing so, you have shown your commitment to investing in Anambra’s future and in her posterity. My running mate and partner Lady ChidiOnyemelukwe and I are immensely grateful for this huge show of support. We stand humbled. I salute or political forbears, notably, Ide Dr Alex Ekwueme for his support and for honouring us with his physical presence.

This is a family gathering. PDP is a big family and the umbrella is huge enough to cover and accommodate us all. I salute all those who have shown understanding. I salute all those who have come to give their support despite past differences. I beg those who are still holding out, those who still feel aggrieved and those who left our party to return to our fold. I extend my hands of fellowship and partnership to my fellow aspirants; it is time to rally to our common cause and work as a united family. We encourage those outside, for whom other parties no longer represent their political, philosophical and developmental aspirations, to join us in PDP in rebuilding Anambra and in rebuilding Nigeria.

Today is a day of nostalgia and hope for our great party, PDP. 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 power in Anambra State for over 12 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 thus put her back 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; in keeping with our party manifesto, we must return power to the people.

Anambra State is in utter disrepair. Anambra State is broken. We must fix it. Anambra people are suffering. Despite the hype and propaganda, our people are no longer enjoying the true dividends of democracy. The government of Governor Willie Obiano has failed them in more ways than one. Anambra deserves better. We must, therefore, change the leadership and political narrative in Anambra. That mission starts now.

Since governance is all about the delivery of basic services; Anambra is not doing very well. Poor leadership, fiscal recklessness and lack of transparency and focus remain key challenges for the incumbent government.

However, we know we have not done so well economically, not because the natural resources do not exist, not because the talents are not there, but because narrow political considerations have progressively and consistently trumped rational economic thinking and policy in governance. Such a defeatist mindset must change. 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 means is that Ndi Anambra continue to suffer; we suffer from poor infrastructure, unsanitary environment, high taxes and levies, youth unemployment, falling educational standards, etc. Our housing deficit and challenges are not any lighter.

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. Our focus will be primarily on human development capital anchored on education and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 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. We will resort the social welfare safety net as we focus on industrialization and commerce and anchored on sustainable security architecture.

Why do we need change? Our present government – Obiano’s government –has failed in instituting known attributes of good governance, which include “macroeconomic discipline and balances; providing physical and social infrastructure; raising savings and investment rates and providing good governance.

The government has been financially reckless. It has in less than four years, squandered over N455 billion in budgeted and appropriated funds; N75 billion in state savings and investments and N60b in borrowings. Yet there is nothing on ground that is commensurate with such public expenditure. Yet we are told that Willie is working and the people are happy. No! Our people are sad, disenfranchised and hungry. Willie must go!

We have been called to service. 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, isleadership.” We have been given a unique opportunity. We must make good of this chance. We must seize the moment.

Simply put, Anambra deserves better than it is getting in terms of leadership, development, and wealth and job creation at the moment. Anambra deserves better than it has experienced in the past three years in terms of investments that are far from regenerative. Beyond clichés, if Anambra is an oil-producing state but we are not earning revenue, it means the system is broken.

If we have 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, yet do not have commensurate infrastructure for those expenses, then the system is broken.

If we have dropped from number one ranking in national examinations to sixth and seventh positions respectively, then the system needs to be fixed.

If our social and development infrastructures are crumbling due to lack of maintenance, then we face a crisis that needs to be fixed. If our established social welfare safety net for the aged 75 and above has become moribund, then that system is broken.

Those who say the system is not broken are gratuitously clever by half. They benefit at the expense of the larger community. I say to them the system is broken, it needs to be fixed urgently. PDP must fix it. Let us get to work. Let us go out and win the 18 November election for our children and posterity.

Let us kick this uncaring government out and bring back sanity and accountability to governance. Willie is walking! Willie is going!! Going, Going Going, Willie is gone!!! God bless you. God bless Anambra. God bless Nigeria. 

Oseloka Obaze, MD & CEO

Oseloka Obaze, MD & CEO

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.

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