Is national development not put in perpetual abeyance in national-states with egregious and ineffectual political leadership? There is a connection between growth and political leadership. It is leaders that imagine and envision how their countries would develop. So, no countries can rise above the dreams, visions, and leadership abilities of their leaders. That’s why the masses who possess the ultimate sovereignty in a country should cast their ballots judiciously during elections at both the national and state levels. For to barter our votes for rice and other material things is to be enslaved.
But in the fourth republic, precisely in 1999, when democratic governance berthed again in Nigeria, some states in Nigeria were landed with spineless and visionless political leaders, who led their states into the abyss of backwardness. In Anambra State, the leadership of the state was entrusted in the care of Mr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. He failed to live up to our expectations and billings as he was beholden to Chief Emeka Offor, his political godfather and benefactor.
And the charismatic Dr. Chris Ngige, who succeeded him, evinced tendencies of a great political leader. His laudable leadership template and inimitable praxis in road construction and repair are still benchmarks for assessing governors that came after him. But he was shunted aside via electoral litigation by Mr.Peter Obi, who is known for his political astuteness, financial parsimony, and self-effacement.
During his reign as Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi offered us qualitative political leadership, which made positive and lasting impact in our lives as well as in Anambra State. His administration revamped the health and educational sectors in the state, constructed new roads and repaired dilapidated ones .And he would pay civil servants and pensioners their salaries and dues as and when due.
His successor, Dr. Wilie Obiano, a former banker, hasn’t let us down as to offering Anambra people meaningful, qualitative, and life-changing political leadership. He has upped the ante of political leadership in the state with his commendable deeds. Hasn’t he put kidnappers and armed robbers to flight in the state? Now, the state, which is safe and secure, is the haven and home of industrialists and entrepreneurs, who relocated to it to build their industries and set up their businesses.
And he has boosted the practice of agriculture in Anambra State by offering farmers in the state incentives to enhance their capacities for intensive large scale and mechanized farming. Today, Anambra State has joined the league of rice-producing state in Nigeria. The quality of Anambra rice surpasses that of other varieties of rice produced by other states in the federation. And Anambra state augments the monthly financial handout it receives from the centre by exporting vegetables to other countries.
That’s why the economic recession choking life out of Nigeria hasn’t thrown the state’s finances into the red. More so, he has devised other ways of generating revenue for the state. So, expectedly, he has embarked on rapid industrial and infrastructure development of the state. While industrial clusters and boom towns are springing up in Onitsha and Nnewi axis, he is building roads and bridges in towns across the state to open them up for development. More so, he hasn’t neglected the educational sector, not being unaware that education is the chief cornerstone in any geographical space with political sovereignty and functional political system.
Hasn’t he acquitted himself very well in office? Yes, he has done well so far. But his inveterate traducers and political opponents are trying to besmirch his image with falsehoods about his person and leadership scorecard. Undeterred by their political shenanigans, doings, and distractions, he has continued to steer the state on the path of sustainable economic growth and technological advancement. He is aware that Anambra’s slogan is the Light Of The Nation, which spurs and inspires him to work tirelessly and relentlessly at his optimal capacity.
Anambra State is the home state of trail blazers and icons in such areas as music, literature, academic, football, athletics, and others. Just think about Osita Osadebe, Chimamanda Adiche, Chinua Achebe, Emeka Anyaokwu, Mikel Obi, Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, Nnamdi Azikwe ,Philip Emeagwali, and others. Anambra state, which is the home-state of many global high-fliers, needs a prudent, visionary, astute, humane, able, and sagacious political leader. And the cap fits Chief Wilie Obiano. But, sadly, APGA, the political platform from which Mr. Wilie Obiano ascended into the loft of power is in disarray and crisis, now.
Okoye writes from Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State