Hon. Arinzechukwu Awogu, a human rights activist is Senior Special Assistant to the Governor Willie Obiano on political matters. In this report, he tells GABRIEL EJIOFOR that his principal, Gov. Obiano’s chances in the November 18 Anambra governorship election are very bright. A native of Atani in Ogboaru Local Government Area, he also denies allegations that the governor abandoned projects in Ogbaru, where the PDP candidate, Mr.Oseloka Obaze comes from.
Do you think Obiano deserves another term?
Yes, because Gov. Willie Obiano has earned our trust and confidence. As incumbent, he has performed exceptionally well in his three and half years in office and has equally fulfilled the primary responsibility of government which is the provision of security and seeing to the welfare of the people of Anambra state.
Section 14 Sub-section 2 (b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and as contained in Chapter Two under fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy says emphatically:”The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government …” That basic requirement remained a puzzle in Anambra State until Gov. Willie Obiano came in and solved it.
He swept all forms of crime and criminality out of Anambra State and made the state conducive for businesses to thrive and for investors both indigenous and foreign to see Anambra as first choice destination in Nigeria, which earned the governor accolades from event watchers and brought the state to the number one position in crime fighting.
And while the recession lasted, Anambra state never felt the bite of the economic meltdown simply because we have a governor that pays salaries promptly. Understandably, government (be it state or federal) is the highest employer of labour and when the worker gets his or her salary he or she heads to the market to buy needs and the payment of salary by Gov. Willie Obiano rubs off positively on the traders and down to the spectrum which was why the recession was not felt in the state coupled with the injection of N40 million directly to each of the 181 communities in the state in the choose-your-project initiative.
These and many more are the reasons we cannot at this point afford to joke with the re-election of Gov. Willie Obiano. Ndi-Anambra understand the need to guard the security and welfare we now enjoy in Anambra State jealously and the only way to do that is by re-electing Gov. Willie Obiano come November 18th.
But critics of your governor say he has not done much.Can you mention some things to prove them wrong?
You see, what we do in our party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is not to fight, abuse or threaten malicious and deliberate lies peddlers, but engageAnambra voters with facts and naked truth of what we have done in three years and seven months with the mandate they gave to us. And daily, we keep winning support and their ranks (negative critics) keep depleting. I think, what we need going forward is to speak more to the people and presenting our scorecard.
Let me refer to the concept of negative profiling and downright misinformation against our party and government by the desperate opposition as political hypothesis of Anambra state political logjam. And I would want to ask, for how long will the opposition in Anambra state relish in lies, whip up all sorts of sentiments, twist the truth all in a desperate bid to deceive and mislead the Anambra voters?
However, we are all witnesses to the litany of Gov. Willie Obiano’s achievements in security, investments in agriculture, education, healthcare, public infrastructure, workers’ welfare, industrialization, public utility and human capacity building among others in Anambra state.
The story of Anambra state has long changed since the inception of Governor Willie Obiano’s administration with the provision of effective security of lives and property to the people of the state, attracting investments worth over 4 billion US dollars, renovation of our schools and improving the standards of education in the state, prompt payment of workers’ salaries and increasing same not minding the economic challenges, infrastructural development, prudent management of resources and achievement of maximum output with minimum input – a product of Gov. Obiano’s doctrine of “doing more with less.”
Road infrastructure and beautification of our cities are visible effects of Gov. Willie Obiano’s sterling achievements. Everywhere in Anambra state is lit up in ecstasy; from Awka to Onitsha to Nnewi and others, the skyline is lit up in rapture. Gov. Willie Obiano is running riot with massive road construction in the hinterlands, there is the provision of N40m to each of the 181 communities to execute whichever project that suits them.
Our markets are wearing new look because of the infrastructures the governor is putting in all the markets in the state, our hospitals are refurbished and made functional. Ambulances and fire trucks are common sights in the state now for rapid response to emergencies. Hospitality industry is booming in Anambra state and people now have longer hours to do their business owing to adequate security and availability of street lighting system. We can only but ask Gov. Willie Obiano to keep doing the good works.
Again, the Anambra South Zone are no fools; they know that Obiano’s victory is the surest way of power remaining in their zone in the next four years.
Your people in Ogbaru complain that Obiano left their roads untouched. What do you tell them?
I don’t think that is correct. Fair enough, when people talk and deliberately spread falsehood, rather than reply them you should sympathize with them for their ignorance. The people of Ogbaru local government area have every cause to stay glued to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) government under the leadership of Gov. Willie Obiano, the party whose government is remembering Ogbaru people in very many positive ways. A number of road projects have been built and commissioned in Ogbaru by Gov. Willie Obiano with many still at various impressive stages.
The Abazuonu Street road and Acha by Madonna Catholic Street road, all in Iyiowa Odekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area, were asphalted and completed by the governor in the spirit of continuity. Ossomala-Umunankwo-Mputu-Ogwuaniocha road has progressed with much speed.
The GMO by Ogbuagwu-Ngbuka-Amazu road is on going, same with Ossomala-Akiliogidi-Obeagwe-Ogwuikpele road. So, it is not correct when people who in the last 24 months have not visited home sit in distant lands and say that the governor abandoned Ogbaru roads. Agreed that there is huge infrastructural deficit in Ogbaru, which is as a result of the neglect of the area by past administrations. So, it is rather preposterous to say that Gov. Obiano is not doing anything for Ogbaru people.
Those who criticise should not stay far away and talk; they should come home and see for themselves. Ogbaru obviously will not be stampeded into voting because someone lives next door. Ogbaru people will vote because there is conviction and part of the conviction is that we can now since after the civil war sleep with our two eyes closed in Anambra State and that Gov. Willie Obiano has been fair to Ogbaru people.
Ogbaru is an agrarian community and most farmers prefer to live in their farms because of distance which are mostly located on the islands and far-away camps and have over time grown to become settlements on their own. When you go to such islands in Ogbaru, we call it Agwe, you will see how education has been taken to the inhabitants by building schools for the children of the farmers and fishermen there and sending teachers to the place to teach them.
So, what the governor did was to craft a policy that takes school infrastructure to the islands and camps instead of the children having to take pains and risk everyday to cross the River Niger to and fro with its consequences.
It is also important that we appreciate the muddy and spongy nature of our terrain.
The amount of resources expended on one road in Ogbarucould do three of the same number of kilometres elsewhere. But, our terrain makes us who we are and it’s no excuse to deny Ogbaru the much-needed development.
While we are hopeful that contractors handling Ossomala-Ogwuikpele, GMO-Ogbuagwu-Ngbuka-Amazu roads and others will speed up work on the roads now that the rains have subsided, we will not fall for those who were in office for eight years but could not do or complete the said roads and now desperately wanting to use the state of those roads to confuse Ogbaru people.
Gov. Willie Obiano is continuing with his sustained approach to opening up Ogbaru hinterland and the next four years will be crucial to his aggressive push on the many needs of Ogbaru people and fulfilling them. It hasn’t been this good for Ndi-Ogbaru and November 18th will see the people of Ogbaru troop out in their numbers to show their support and preference for Gov. Willie Obiano as against other candidates.