Voting Obiano for second tenure was a mistake – Osemeka

Voting Obiano for second tenure was a mistake was Emeka Osemeka’s categorical statement when asked by Prime Pointers to score the governor’s performance in the state.
He started his analysis of Anambra politics in general by describing it as not more than hero-worshipping. “They love worshiping their heroes without any care about how that hero is qualified. If not, there is no reason any individual should answer Godfather and install another individual.”
He queried that if not for godfatherism, how would a man like Peter Obi, a man that he admired so much for how he emerged into the political scene without a godfather could turn around to take up the mantle of a godfather in Anambra politics.
He described Obi’s emergence as someone that came and told Anambra people his programmes, contested and won his election. Fought for his mandate and became a governor.
According to him, “Obi is so far, the best we have had but he disappointed me when he went ahead to choose Willy Obiano through playing the role of a godfather.”
“Instead of allowing the dynamics of politics to throw up a leader, he decided to choose Obiano to become a governor. You cannot make something out of a man who doesn’t want something. Obiano never planned to be a governor and ironically he has done seven years yet he hasn’t got any plan on how to govern.”
Describing further, “I heard that it wasn’t Peter Obi that chose Obiano but Victor Umeh. The truth is that the bulk stopped on Obi’s table.”
Osemeka pointed that in 2017 for instance, after Obiano had done a disgraceful and shameful tenure, the state had the opportunity to once again choose a candidate to become a governor and the person within PDP that was ready with the requirements and would have given Anambra State the best leadership that would have surpassed Obi and Ngige put together was Dr Alex Obiogbolu.
He explained that despite Obiogbolu working very closely with Obi but why he was never supported by Obi remains unexplainable till date. “These being the petty sentiments that rule some leaders, I do not think that his Excellency, Peter Obi was objective in choosing Dubem Obaze to run on PDP ticket. Mark my words, Obaze was eminently qualified to be a governor too but we had the issue of selling him to party members because he was a new member.” He said.
“The internal party mechanism that threw up Obaze was responsible for our party losing that election to Obiano’s incompetence.”
While reflecting on what transpired, he stated that in all fairness, Dr Alex Obiogbolu would have won that election if he had been given the opportunity.
When he was reminded of the great influence that power of incumbency wields in Nigerian politics, Osemeka queried, “What incumbency?”
Continuing, “There was no body that was not fed up with Obiano. He had more drama coming out of government house and his family than contesting an election in 2017. Is there anything you can point to in Anambra State that Obiano did? Not one. I cannot recognize any. The irony is that the beautiful roads built by Ngige and Obi have all gone bad. When you talk, people ascribe you a politician. Yes I am a politician but I’m also a citizen of the state.
“Take for instance; Obiano has never conducted any election in any of the Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state because he is busy collecting money from all the local government councils. Onitsha-North LGA for instance get a federal allocation of 120-130 million monthly, excluding IGR. When I was a chairman in 2003, the salary budget was between 11 and 12 million. Let’s assume the salary budget has increased by two to three folds to get to between 40-50 million, what does Obiano do with 70 million or more, excluding IGR from Onitsha-North. Does Onitsha look like where 70 million is spent monthly? This why I keep talking about followership because if the citizens do not interrogate the government, it will be business as usual. The person who is appointed as the Onitsha-North LGA chairman is not even interrogated by the civil forces and there is no measurement for merit. Even if the governor decides not to conduct election, is there no other qualified All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) member to be so appointed. Since it is by appointment, six months is enough to know if someone is competent or call for replacement.”
On the recently, measure that the federal government set up in order to ensure that LGA allocations go straight into their accounts.
Osemeka explained that the measure does not work. Even if it is in place, the allocation goes back to Anambra State.
Shedding more light, “It is till when the chairman is covered by the constitution and it is guaranteed. The lacuna in the constitution provides that the state assembly is to make laws guiding the workings of the LGAs and knowing that the state assemblies in most states, Anambra State inclusive are usually a rubber stamp of the executives, they will never make laws against the executives.”
Instead, they will make laws that tell the Onitsha-North chairman to remove salaries and extra 2 – 3 million naira for running cost. The remaining will be spent by the LGA on projects that are directed by the state. So the state government will frivolously write that a drainage will be built at Nkissi for instance to cover any other fund that is left with the LGA in order to take it from them.
“If there is no control that is what happens. But if the existing law is changed by the national assembly to safeguard that portion that says guaranteed. There has to be a law that ensures that the state assemblies make laws for the independence of the LGAs. If that cannot be done then the whole idea is defeated.”
Going further, “If the local government is granted autonomy, INEC will conduct their elections and when there is an elected chairman, the state has no business in the markets because the elected chairman will control the markets under him, then you will discover that the revenue that accrue from the markets is even as much as the federal allocation. The state government will no more decide who will be Onitsha Market Traders Association (OMATA) chairman from Awka, decide tenement rate, shop levies, appoint collecting agents, shop rate etc. It is until the LGAs are fortified by the right laws to operate autonomously, operate independent of states and have the councilors as checks that you will see how vibrant the local government areas can be.”
“I assure you that if such law comes up; the people that run for federal houses of representatives will have no business in Abuja but will rather contest for LG chairmen.”
When asked to give a proof of the accusation that the incumbent government has no visible projects.
Osemeka defended by stating that it is visible all over the place. “Who built Zik’s avenue? Ngige but it is impassable today.”
When reminded not to base his assessment on Onitsha alone but on what happens in other LGAs of the state.
“I do. The roads are what you see every day.” He quipped.
But roads are not the only infrastructure needed for a state’s development he was told.
what other infrastructure? Osemeka asked.
“Peter Obi finished every other thing about schools. You can go and check. I cannot point to anything Obiano did except his wife buying a 2,000 dollar worth of eye glasses. But I know he built roads in Aguleri, his town. If that is the only thing, then it is fine but he did that in his first tenure.
“What does it cost Obiano to construct the Onitsha-Aguleri road and the ‘33’ axis of Onitsha? Can’t he do it as an achievement?
“You know how the Upper Iweka axis used to be but obi constructed it to Umunya. Yes it is a federal road but it is Anambra people that use it and when the repayment was made by the federal government, it was to Obiano. Could he not have used it to continue the reconstruction to Awka? You don’t wait for the federal government to repair roads used by your people.”
Continuing, “the other day I was at Asaba airport when he landed and the next thing was that a chopper lifted him to Awka. If he lands in Owerri, he will be flown to Awka. Let him drive to Awka. Please, electing Obiano for a second tenure was a mistake.”
However, as Anambra gradually etches close to another electioneering period, the course of the chat dovetailed into the formula of zoning governorship candidacy according to senatorial zones that seem to have been working in Anambra State, Osemeka used the opportunity of being part of Anambra politics right from the dawn of democracy in 1999 to give a concise background to the emergence of the formula.
According to Osemeka, prior 2003, zoning was not an issue in Anambra State politics until when Dr Alex Obiogbolu started contesting governorship election. The first sentiment was that an Onitsha man will not be allowed to become a governor. Only God knows their reason. Though, Obiogbolu doesn’t look like that kind of Onitsha man they imagined but later the campaign shifted to say that not just from Onitsha, instead the governor must come from Anambra-South senatorial zone.
“I was part of Obiogbolu’s team that decided to create the turn by turn slogan. Nobody talked about Anambra-North senatorial zone. So turn by turn continued gathering momentum till 2014 when Obi was rounding off his tenure. He bought into the idea wholeheartedly and insisted that he would hand over to somebody from Anambra-North senatorial zone so that the north too can have a go at the governorship. But unfortunately for us, Obiano emerged because that opportunity did not allow the north to bring out their best candidates. Obi did not allow us the politicians from the north to bring our best but gave it to Obiano instead. He brought out his lackey to become a governor that has disgraced all the aspirations of politicians from the north.
“This is why that in spite of liking Obi’s politics, I feel bitter that he brought out his lackey in a place that has better, young aspiring candidates. We had Chuchu Onyema from Ogbaru, Dr Obiogbolu from Onitsha, Tony Nwoye from Anambra-East etc. We had good young men but Obi went to exhume a man already buried in the USA to come and become a governor. I feel the chance given to Anambra-North is already wasted on Obiano and the irony is that he doesn’t even know neither does he care that it is a chance of a lifetime he was given.”
Osemeka regreted that sticking to zoning formula in the state will be unfair to politicians of Anambra- North extraction because it will take another 18 years to get to the turn of Anambra-North to produce a governor in the state again and many of current politicians would have retired not just from politics but social life.
“I believe the north, south and central have got their chances. The north has gone with Obiano’s two tenures, the central with Obi two tenures and Ngige’s three quarter tenure and the south with Mbadinuju’s one tenure and Ezeife’s two and half tenures. So the south has gone too. Oriiginally I would have preferred that since all the zones have had it, the reasoning should be that my party PDP should be allowed to bring out the best candidate irrespective of zone, but as things stands and for political expedience I would prefer to work with other like minds to see if we can bring out a candidate from the south. For me, I would prefer a southern zone candidate to go this time around.” He opined.
“I think it should be changed. It shouldn’t be stuck with because we are running on emergency. We are late in development so we should go for the best candidates.”
He suggested that for zones not to be deprived of governorship opportunities, they should work hard to produce the best candidates because as things stands, it should be better that when two best candidates runs at par, the option of giving a candidate from the south may then be considered, instead of the south producing an unserious candidate just because it is their turn and would allow PDP throw all its egg in one basket and lose the election.
“I will not be a party to that. That is why I keep saying that the best candidate should run but we will prefer a southerner.”
Looking at the next dispensation and what it holds for PDP in Anambra State. Osemeka confidently ascerted that his party will definitely win the next Anambra election because they have learnt their lessons and that PDP is the only hope Anambra has.
Considering the party’s history of splitting whenever there is election in the State.
Osemeka insisted that they have learnt their lessons.will not allow such in the state again. “There was never a problem in Anambra PDP that was not imported. Like the last time, we were on our own they brought Wike and Fayose to rig the primary and the house broke into two,” he added
“we have told the national body that we don’t want anybody interfering with anything that happens in Anambra State.”
He stressed that hopefully they have got things right and not just the party but the entire Anambra State. “You can see what is happening in APGA. That is not a party. You don’t run a party like a mafia organization like APGA is doing. Let’s be realistic, Anambra is a PDP state and has always been. If not how can a party that has not been in power for so long be so relevant in the state? PDP is a very strong party and Anambra is a PDP state.”
Osemeka believes that the future of politics in the state is the youths’ participation. “Anybody that knows my kind of politics knows that I like reawakening the youths and not just the males but females as well. Let them come out and take part because the future that we are talking about is theirs and not ours. They should not be afraid to come and join. There lies the future of the state. If it is this band of my fellow political jobbers that runs around with no address, it won’t work.” He revealed.
Osemeka further stressed how the youths should be interested in politics, “they should leave those android tabs and come out to join. They cannot change Anambra State from facebook, whatssap or social media but through group participation.
“All I’m saying is that this government doesn’t care. But I hope that Anambra State will in the next dispensation produce a governor that will govern them rightly.
“In the forthcoming election, the youths should participate fully by joining political parties especially the major ones. Since the worst primaries that I yet have seen in the southern Sahara is the one conducted by APGA for 2019 elections, they collected people’s money and wrote a different list entirely, the youths should come out and ensure that candidates are properly fielded, election contested, make sure they become voices to reckon with, become delegates, vote a party candidate that will deliver, vote in a governor and a leader that will lead them into the next century.” He ended.

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