By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Like him or hate him, Governor Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano would be sworn in for a second term in office this Saturday, March 17th, 2018. I congratulate him. I was not part of his fans for re-election. I wanted him out for not performing as I expected and having surrounded himself with people without his interest and that of Anambra state at heart, a case study of his Media and Agriculture team.
The media team could be said to have seen the media practitioners in the state as opposition or outright enemies. And rather than grow friendship, enemies are unnecessarily created despite the pretences when encountered. But for me, I got messed since my boss, Dr Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah intervened on behalf of the Governor in my stance over Anambra 2017, I was clipped that the election passed me by. I could not boast of a bicycle based on the election but I was happy.
My happiness was because nobody in Anambra state would ever blame former Governor Peter Obi, Okwute Ndigbo for bringing Chief Obiano again. Obi was blamed for Obiano’s initial lackluster performance lasting for three years of his administration but suddenly his community-based choose-your-projects of between N20 million and N60 million is now making the difference no matter how the money came by. The projects are in the communities but if the resources were indeed borrowed as being alleged then we are jinxed for real.
Now Obiano has returned and as he is to be sworn in for a second term this Saturday, I should be able to set an agenda for his appointments and choices although the cabal who ensured the Governor was caged in his first term are still very much around to read mischief in every statement including this.
Though the worst they could do is to brand one opposition and deny one some benefits if any, like Christmas package last year meant for correspondents but the Principal Secretary to Governor Willie, SSA James and their co-travelers denied a Sun correspondent and an Authority correspondent the largesse, branding them opposition even when elections have come and gone. I blame the correspondents’ chapel for allowing it slip. They would have insisted as in the past that injury to one is injury to all. But we have agreed that Obiano should serve Ndi Anambra better by being active to our constitutional roles of watchdogs even if all our members are his aides.
After reading Veteran Nollywood filmmaker, Late Mr Chukwuka Emelionwu (Kasvid) tale of woes which eventually led to his death in an auto crash January 2018 and was buried a month after on Thursday, February 22, 2018 as recounted by my big friend TAI Emeka Obasi, I wanted to write, ‘’And the man died’’ recounting one of my unpublished articles entitled ‘’Governor Uzu’’ documenting how Uzu allegedly ran Obiano’s government in his first term with its numerous flops tagged by me as disasters but I held myself because doing so would be eating my vomit having assured my ‘Boss’, Reverend Father Emmanuel Obimma aka Ebubemuonso that I won’t write some of my hard observations on Obiano, though that ends with his first term while my new style of conscientizing on the side of the society begins March 17th, 2018. So, let it be. Let me rather look at his expected cabinet members.
KASVID is lucky to have Tai Emeka Obasi to document his woes and sorrows even though the narration said he was still owed over N40 million before his demise. So many have nobody to write about them and they died in vain. Others lost millions and impoverished since after.
Whatever anyone thought of Obiano in his first term has been buried with his re-election because the people re-elected him in grand style, shaming me and some others who stood against his re-election, though we are the real democrats trying for the society. How would it have been should everyone become a sycophant as we are now doing for his inauguration? That’s OK but the real Obiano would be scrutinized this second term. As usual, I am neither a supporter nor an opposition, but, I am an observer and a gadfly for a better society. That’s all. If anyone sees more than that, then I should be notified to prune the human nature to ensure professionalism thrives.
For those accusing former Governor Peter Obi of plotting against Obiano and failed, they should be happy that Obi did what he did for the interest of the state. Before now, people blame Obi for bringing Obiano but when same people re-elected him against Oseloka Obaze and Tony Nwoye, Obi has been vindicated and moved on with his life. I am still proud of all Mr Peter Obi achieved for Ndi Anambra and worried that Obiano abandoned Awka North. Obiano is now elected by the people of Anambra state as their choice hence he scored 21/21 pass mark unprecedented in any Anambra election. The election that brought in Senator Victor Umeh is an eye opener.
In my last piece, I urged Senator Umeh to forget and forgive his perceived enemies and those who he caught working for his political enemies or those supporting them because he is now a senator and should be magnanimous in victory since those whose benevolent spirit cracked their palm kernel never understood the agonies others pass through. Anybody standing by Mr Peter Obi does so on conviction for his personality and his strides in Anambra not because of pecuniary interests because he ‘choputas not’ (unconcerned most times) but those supporting Umeh daily smile home with largesse in all forms? He understood the system poverty in Nigeria operates.
I said this because someone was afraid Umeh would stop his appointment but I told him Umeh has achieved his target. Umeh is a good man but can suffer his best friend for a little sin like he punished me for differing in political view with him while performing my constitutional responsibilities without looking back despite that we have come a long way. Now that he is my senator, one day I shall present my community’s needs and mine and he should assist not minding his stance. For me needless running another down to shine for same faith awaits all men. For those who thrive in it, I say good luck.
Obiano’s cabinet now constitute of ‘foreign bodies’ so to speak but this time, he should try home grown and swop those who have done well. For instance, the entire media team should be sacked without looking back but one Uche Nworah despite the Cucumber scandal, did well in uplifting the state Broadcasting medium ABS to international level and projected Obiano’s administration like never before. He should be sacked but rewarded with higher post like Commissioner for Information and Communication Strategy?
Ogbuefi Tony Nnacheta is a sad commentary in that office even though wise and intelligent? If you must retain him offer him other positions like Chief of Staff or wherever he can be the boss not Information as he hardly picks phone and probably may not know more than ten correspondents by name unlike his predecessors. Ogbuefi Nnacheta had a clumsy team of busy bodies jostling for attention and leaving the duties. I am not against any of the persons in the media team and had no problems working with them if they change for good but left for me, they should all go. The media team members were at variance on issues and unreachable most times. We don’t want such again. Why should journalists be begging for news reports of the first family activities with all these aides?
We need new entrants. One journalist in the likes of Jude Atupulazi from Nimo could be appointed as a fresher as Chief Press Secretary or one in likes of Victor Agusiobo from Onitsha as SA Media and one in the likes of Tony Nwafor Okafor from Agulu as SSA Media? Then you may retain your team of Executive Assistants media since they are in the box office and unknown to the public or so I think. Other journalists in the likes of Abuchi Onwumelu from Umuoji or Okechukwu Onuegbu from Ebenebe as well as Ostar Eze from Ekwulobia could assume duty as SSA Online media and stuff like that especially now some of the aides are eyeing 2019 contest.
This cuts across all political offices the Governor would like to have and these pressures from Bishops, Market leaders and some traditional rulers across denominations that their political nominations should be retained do not hold water as they could nominate better persons or other people. The cabinet should not be unnecessarily unwieldy this time round. I am not saying those who supported you to win in 2017 should not be compensated but choose the best people with track records in their previous positions. And if any fails your expectation in months, sack him or her and re-jig.
Your Think Tank team led by one Tony did great jobs but so many were sabotaged by the scramble on who gets what like your Agriculture team led by Prof Omaliko or so. They could not establish anything because of the same scrambling for control and positions which led to huge waste of resources and time. They could not achieve much despite the noise. Some were interested in establishing Rice mills and competing with existing millers for franchise and stuff like that while others targeted lands to grab indirectly.
Let me not talk about the underpinnings going on in the Education ministry under Prof Mrs Kate Azuka Omenugha because she won’t see anything I write here in the contest of professionally doing my job. She supposedly would have been my closest friend in this Obiano’s government but alas same forces made sure she sees not my face in the last three years and few months though she knows I am very much around.
If I talk about the ‘runs’ going on in the office of the First Lady without the knowledge of the first lady, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, some would say it was because I didn’t benefit like i did with former First Lady, Mrs Margret Peter Obi, a unique woman in all ramifications. She is loved by Ndi Anambra. Obiano’s wife in the last four years never deemed it fit to encounter the correspondents’ chapel and may not know names of a few members of this all important NUJ arm despite the enormous support they have given her. Mine was shocking that I was the first journalist to give her pages upon pages in The Nation Newspaper having captured her extra ordinarily and my online platform www.odogwublog.com and several others like interviewing wives of all the local government Chairmen and publishing in national dailies through Aisha Edwards, a strong woman among others till date even in The Authority Newspapers where by the grace of God I am a regional Editor but she never said thank you and never asked what happened to the guy as I landed in the trap set before me by my colleagues and friends and got fired mercilessly from The Nation.
Despite my frustrations as a member of Correspondents and without mincing words, the First Lady has added glamour to the achievements of her husband with her CAFÉ which has identified poorest of the poor in some places and raised funds to support them with homes, boreholes etc and rehabilitated mad people after which they were reconnected with families and empowered. We in the media should be witnesses to your activities as they happen, not days after and enforce more checks and balances around CAFE to avoid people taking advantage. Let’s hail the First Lady.
Obiano’s cabinet needs to be readjusted with right pegs in right holes by for instance giving the right responsibilities to truly and obviously qualified and ready individuals in your administration. Some are busy scrambling for Anambra land rather than demonstrating, actualizing and showcasing the Governors mandate?
For me, most persons in your team should go because you have done the political patronage with your first term. This is the period to show you have the interest of the state at heart.
Your team must not be more than 30 Commissioners and Special Advisers, then with a few SSA’s to complement. Other appointments could be on other Boards and Parastatals and committees targeted at bringing best opportunities for Ndi Anambra. No appointment should be on patronage any longer instead, let it be on results delivery because the next four years determine how you would be referred to forever.
Despite all the good policies of former Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, nobody remembers him with that but his inglorious era.
Most of the glory APGA under your watch takes today was mostly from the 8 years under former Governor Peter Obi. I stand to be corrected. Obi did extremely well for Ndi Anambra and all the writers and sing praises have maintained APGA government skillfully not mentioning your era of last four years because if judged on that it would be humiliating. Now you have gotten a chance to do things differently and there is nothing at stake. The question is what would you be remembered for?
In Agriculture, your team was after ephemeral pleasure and shows and things of the world rather than legacies that must outlive you. What are you doing in the area of Fisheries and Aquaculture development in the state? Your Excellency has some history.
Mama Willie, your mother (of blessed memory) was part and parcel of the Dry Fish Market at Onitsha. The money realized from the Fish business largely contributed to the upbringing of yourself and your siblings.
Incidentally and supposedly fortunately, Providence has placed you as the Governor of the state and at the same time God guided you to appoint a very competent, resourceful, experienced, passionate, energetic and God fearing young man Emeka to drive the movement of your Fisheries development dreams.
However, it clearly appears that with his loaded potentials, he seems to have been deliberately caged and limited from exercising what he has in your government though he appears to be a very resilient fellow.
We see him and hear him in the media; he tends to promote your intentions but it is quite obvious that he is largely incapacitated in terms of empowerment and political backing from your Excellency to translate the things to actualities.
In fact we actually knew him and his FISH organization in the media much before you brought him into your government which we all saw as positive and boost to your government and Anambra State, but we don’t know if you even ever had a single time for him in your first tenure?
This young man had recorded great feats in Fisheries and Aquaculture especially at the National and ECOWAS levels before he joined your government which is also his first time in Anambra State government but, it will be a great loss to your Excellency and to Anambra State if he leaves your Excellency’s government as a result of wrong placement or the government frustrate this opportunity of Anambra performing some magic in Fisheries and Aquaculture sector with this young man’s unprecedented Fisheries and Aquaculture Business inventions, innovations and revolutions.
You will be remembered by what you have done. This is another opportunity provided by God in His infinite mercy.
There are appointments that were made which should not have been, like those whose responsibilities are to read the Governor’s mail and correspondences thoroughly, timely and advise him adequately but I wonder if mails are ever read at all or if read and the Governor properly briefed as I can recall international engagements or organizations mails that were not attended to at all and Anambra lost opportunities but needless saying so much for now. People with commitment and dedication to details should be sourced and placed with such responsibilities and they must have access to you for briefing not handing over to some other aides that would just dump the contents of the files.
Nothing stops a civil servant that knows his or her onus from becoming your Protocol officer like one Njelite doing the right things while the politicians could answer other names but allow these core people who know the job to handle the situations with access to you. Four (4) years is far but so short a time that before you know it, the years are over. Please Your Excellency; don’t fail Ndi Anambra as you would be full of regrets if it ever happens.
Let me down my pen for now and await the venom that would flow from unexpected quarters for voicing out my opinion. But I must encourage my Governor to invite his in-law and friend Ogbuefi Harris Chuma, Executive Director , Independent Media Support Organization (IMSO) as I listened to him during a media event tagged Concerned Anambra media practitioners summit and knew he could advise this government on media, government relationship. Congratulations my Governor.
Odogwu Emeka Odogwu is a Journalist, Editor and Blogger, as well as Social Media Entrepreneur. He can be reached via
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org