Obiano is committed to governing Anambra well – Rowland Odegbo
Since the governorship election in Anambra state was won and lost not much in terms of the discussion still dominates public discourse. Everybody appears to have moved on. Both the winner and the losers have since adjusted to the reality of the time. The state has also adjusted to the continuity train and shut its doors firmly against possible abandoned projects.
But for occasional rumour seeping through the mills, that chapter of the state history was closed on the 18th day of November, 2017. The day the people of Anambra decided. Nobody has since contested the election. None protested the dominance of the winner- the plurality of his votes. The victory run of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 21 of 21 Local Government Areas of the State was a major surprise to everybody.
It has since been muted in discussion just as the margin of victory. Neither the spread nor the plurality of votes was bettered in the history of the state. For the first time, the idea of APGA as a collective trust was established. The nkea bu nke anyi mantra became a big pay-off. But more than that, good governance was chosen over and above any manner of gamble with the unknown. The victory was an endorsement of the achievements of the Willie Obiano government hitherto excoriated on the social media by paid agents.
Ndi Anambra remembered how safe they were since the Obiano government. Civil servants among them remembered the relief of prompt payment of salaries, pensions and emoluments amidst whining in most states. Community dwellers remembered how their lives were touched through communities’ choose-your-project initiative of the government. The physically challenged, the poor and others on the wrong side of life remembered how their burden was lightened and the meaning of life redefined by the government.
The man in the street remembers with nostalgia the illumination of his street previously in pitch darkness. Residents of Awka who were witnessing the transformation of the town into a capital city for the first time spurned any idea of change. The petty trader in the market relieved of the burden of taxation vowed to walk his talk. Pupils, students and their teachers decided against partisanship and voted for continued improvement in their academic environment. Beneficiaries of the improved agriculture in the state, those who gained employment in the many integrated farms and others who sourced food items from them worked hard to return the government. All those made Governor Obiano’s victory seem a win in a walk.
However, not everyone appreciated the achievements to the extent of wishing the government reelected. And that is the beauty of democracy. It allows for diverse interest and its lawful protection. Those who saw differently and voted according to their conscience had their say. But in the end the views of greater majority of the people prevailed. The people spoke loud and clear. With greater mandate they asked the governor to continue with his good work.
To his glory, not one of the losers among the sea of contestants (they were indeed legion) had challenged his victory in court. Every one of them, in the spirit of sportsmanship, and for the greater love of the state, has decided against contesting the popular decision. This is perhaps the first of its kind since the governorship elections in the state. Apart from the fact that the governor had extended a hand of fellowship to other contestants, urging them to greater task of developing the state, good reason also prevailed.
The amount of money the state would have saved this time by not contesting the victory at the tribunal can only be imagined. Anambra remains one of the few states with a history of convoluted post election cases. Often the story would not end alone with loss of huge capital from the state it sometimes elicited one type of drama or another.
But for the mischief of the social media all the bad-tempered responses of the past would be forgotten. The internet imps who could not deter the good cause on 18th of November through malicious lies have regrouped to attempt straining the relationship between the governor and the president. Nothing could be more mischievous than ascribing the idea of a presidential ambition to the governor whose passion for Anambra in the next four years is undiluted. Not once since he won the election did he make it clear that his passion for the development of the state is a consuming one.
That he is committed to improving on what his administration achieved in the first four years by expanding deeper the frontiers of development. There is no gainsaying the fact that optimal development of the state can only be achieved through hard work – the type his administration had shown since debouching on the scene. It is difficult, if not impossible, to attempt what the Obiano government achieved in its first term if it is of flippant political disposition. A presidential ambition, the one insinuated by mischief makers in the social media, is not in the cards now. Governor Obiano’s interest is to transform Anambra and make her the Dubai of Nigeria.
The passion is so consuming that any other idea easily pales in insignificance. Governor Obiano is interested in supporting President Buhari’s effort in improving the state of infrastructure development in the state and the entire South east zone. He has not forgotten the dispassionate role the federal government played during the November governorship election in the state and can only support him to improve on the development.
If there is any such thing as presidential ambition it is certainly not now. He has a duty to perform to which he was massively reelected. He cannot afford otherwise. His interest is Anambra, and to urge the federal government to refund the sum of N43.5 billion owed the state on repairs of federal roads in Anambra. There was a promise of such refund and if honoured will help improve the lot of the state. The task of building Anambra and improving on the political leadership of ndi Igbo is already a handful for the hardworking governor. The idea of a presidential ambition in 2019 is the handiwork of mischief makers on the net and the least of the governor’s interest.
Igwe Rowland Odegbo
Aborgu 11 of Nteje
PRESIDENCY 2019- OBIANO HAS NO INTEREST
Contrary to the rumour bruited in some quarters that the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano is nursing an ambition to contest the 2019 presidential election in the country the members of the public have been urged to discountenance such stories as they are handiwork of mischief makers.
It has been confirmed that the governor has no such plans rather he is more interested in improving the welfare of his people and expanding the frontiers of development in the state. What the governor achieved in his first term in office is nowhere close to what he intends to do in his second term and as such does not want to be distracted by idle rumours of the type making the round.
In the same vein the story that the governor is threatening that the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) will take over the remaining four states of the Southeast zone during the next election was unfounded. The word threatening is alien to Governor Obiano who in the face of provocation during the just concluded governorship in the state maintained dignified silence. The governor is urbane and understands politics as a game of negotiation rather than force and or threat.
According to the traditional ruler of Nteje Community in Oyi Local Government Area of the state and Chairman Omambala Union, Igwe Roland Odegbo who spoke to reporters in Awka, Anambra State the idea that governor ha presidential ambition come 2019 is not only mischievous but equally malicious.
“How can anybody imagine that? The man is saddled with the task of transforming Anambra state into the next Dubai. The passion is so consuming that the idea of a presidential ambition easily pales in insignificance. Don’t forget he just got re-elected with a resounding victory that was never bettered in the history of the state and so has a responsibility to discharge to the people.
Continuing Igwe Odegbo noted that the governor is more concerned in supporting the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in improving the state of infrastructural development in the South East Zone.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a democrat and he has demonstrated in the just concluded governorship election in Anambra state by ensuring it was free and fair. It is only fair that the governor reciprocates the kind gesture by ensuring that the president succeeds in office by delivering the gains of good governance Nigerians, especially the people of the South East ”
The monarch however appealed to the Federal Government to facilitate the refund of N43.5 billion being the money owed the state by the federal government for roads reconstructed by the Anambra State government as it had earlier promised.
“Both past and present administrations in the state reconstructed some federal roads in the area and we appeal to the presidency to make good its promise of refunding the sum of N43.5 billion spent by our state in reconstructing those roads”.
Odegbo noted that several basic infrastructure that are under the concern of the federal government are in the state of disrepair, adding that the Buhari administration is favourably disposed to upgrading them to the benefits of Anambra people and the South East in general.
He admonished those he described as fifth columnist to desist from peddling the malicious rumour that Gov. Willie Obiano is set to contest for the presidency of the country in 2019 for such is never in the card.
VICTOR UMEH: A DATE WITH HISTORY
By Ifeanyi Afuba
In the countdown to the January 13, 2018 rerun of the Anambra Central Senatorial zone election, veteran of the APGA struggle, Victor Chukwunonyelu Umeh, stands at the threshold of another page of history.
When Umeh in the aftermath of the April 2015 senatorial contest had promised to use his imminent election petition to deal a mortal blow to the PDP’s electoral impunity in Anambra State, some dismissed him as a joker. A little more sobriety would have cautioned otherwise. The story of reclamation of Peter Obi’s 2003 governorship mandate and the serial battles to protect the APGA brand from political speculators is considerably about Victor Umeh’s exploits. But that is a topic for another day.
Our election rigging politicians and their cheerleaders laughed off Umeh’s statement. In a mock show of concern, a few counseled him to cut his losses; focus attention on the 2019 contest rather than dissipating energy on litigation. Today, with the mismanaged 2015 poll now set to be buried with the January 13, 2018 rerun, Umeh’s gratuitous advisers are coming to terms with the reality of participatory democracy.
Kudos to the Mahmood Yakubu – led INEC for so far, rightfully ignoring the worthless Federal High Court order of December 13, 2017 recognising Mr Obiora Okonkwo as senator – elect. The INEC’s neglect of the said judgment is equitable and salutary. In the face of counter and earlier judgments on the same matter by both a superior and coordinate court and by taking a holistic rather than an isolated view of the subject, the INEC is right to stick to the announced 2018 rerun.
The resort by Obiora Okonkwo, an aspirant for the PDP ticket in the 2015 Anambra Central Senatorial election to the Federal High Court, Abuja for declaration as the rightful PDP candidate and indeed winner of the poll three weeks after the Court of Appeal judgment directing the INEC to conduct rerun of the same election is an exercise in futility.
Mr Okonkwo’s application and the reported granting of his reliefs by the Federal High Court are all in vain. The excursion is no more than the act of a bird that flies from the ground to a termite’s mound. The bird is still on the ground. Court order or not, Okonkwo remains an aspirant for the 2015 PDP ticket. As the cliché goes, you cannot build something on nothing.
The moral and legal truth of the matter is that the result arising from the 2015 senatorial election has been nullified. That process has come to an end by the constitutional authority of the Court of Appeal. A new phase of the electoral process will only come to life through a new poll. Secondly, PDP did not conduct any valid primary for the purpose of selecting its candidate for the Anambra Central Senatorial district election in 2015. No primary was held. Consequently, there cannot be winner[s] of a poll that did not take place. The scenario of a contending winner of a phantom primary is most ridiculous.
In its judgment of December 7, 2015, nullifying Uche Ekwunife’s declaration as winner of Anambra Central Senatorial election of April 2015, the Court of Appeal not only determined that erstwhile Senator Uche Ekwunife was ‘not a product of a valid primary’; it also held that neither Ekwunife nor the PDP at any point in the trial led evidence to show that primary was held by the party in the senatorial zone.
Any further doubt about the porosity of PDP’s senatorial primary is conclusively dispelled by the judgment of Justice Olasunbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory High Court delivered December 6, 2017, at least a week before the controversial order of Justice John Tsoho recognising Obiora Okonkwo as winner of the PDP’s primary. In Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1110/2015 brought by Chike Maduekwe, the Court agreed with the plaintiff that the PDP did not hold any senatorial primary for Anambra Senatorial zone in 2015. The plaintiff, Maduekwe was a contender for the PDP ticket having fulfilled the requirements in the PDP’s electoral guidelines. Consequently, the FCT High Court ordered the PDP to refund Maduekwe the sum of N4.5 million he paid to the party as nomination fee.
‘It is hereby declared that the 1st Defendant [PDP] is not entitled to retain the N4.5million paid by the plaintiff as the PDP Senate Expression of Interest EO1 and nomination form when the 1st Defendant refused, failed and or neglected to conduct the primary election to elect its flagbearer for Anambra Central Senatorial District.’
So which primary did Obiora Okonkwo win? This is stranger than fiction, yet it is happening before our very eyes. And by the way, is the Federal High Court superior to the FCT High Court or the Court of Appeal? Why did the Abuja Federal High Court not take judicial notice of subsisting court judgments on the same matter? You wonder, we wonder.
From the convulsions arising from the PDP’s Anambra Central senatorial ticket, the merits of Victor Umeh’s challenge of the system that has aided this disorder, becomes clearer. The benefits accruable from a corrective review of the political and electoral process such as engendered by Umeh’s activism cannot be over – emphasised. If through his intervention, Victor Umeh has only succeeded in inspiring higher regard for transparency and due process, he would already have achieved a heroic feat. He is also poised to breast the historic tape as the foremost and authentic APGA senator of the fourth republic.