Anambra State Governorship Election Debate: A Discussion Forum Without The People’s Agenda

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By Stephen Chidiebere Ikebude

Yesterday 12th November 2017, I watched the live broadcast of the Anambra State Governorship Election Debate organised and televised by Channels television.

The debate was conducted for the five main political parties’ candidates: the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano of APGA, Mr. Osita Chidoka of UPP, Mr. Tony Nwoye of APC, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo of PPA and Mr. Oseloka Obaze of PDP with a surprising exclusion of Yul Edochie of DPC.

I am not concerned with who performed best during the debate. Neither am I perturbed by the ratings and analysis of the different political analysts who have utilised the debate to score cheap political points, publicity and campaigns stunts for their respective candidates.

As a concerned Anambrarian who understands the importance of public and social policy, my fear for development and growth Anambra is higher now than ever before.

The opinions expressed by the debaters didn’t reflect that of any that is willing consider the yearnings and opinionated inputs of the people of Anambra. Many of them spoke on the plans they and their political parties have but none mentioned any need to have a recourse with Anambra people or organise a public forum to dialogue and ask the people what needs they want.

The debate anchored by Seun Okin exposed the unreadiness and an annoying height of unpreparedness by the gubernatorial candidates towards moving the state from its denigrating anti-people policymaking to people-minded policies that will advance and develop the state holistically. I witnessed a repetition of political sloganeering and promissory rhetoric by all the candidates “to do” this or that if elected.

Even Willie Obiano, the seating governor was conspicuously caught in this web of what he plans “to do”. A futuristic statement of good plans and promises coupled with his woeful performance and poor results oriented leadership. The incumbent was busy analysing and reviewing the qualifications and managerial competencies of his competitors without mentioning how grossly ineffectual his reins has been for Anambra.

Governor Willie Obiano forgets he has been at the helm of Anambra state affairs since 2013, he should have prepared better for the debate by producing more evidential, results-based and institutional infrastructures to explain how he expended 600Billion Anambra state funds. Jettison sentiments, the activities of IPOB in Anambra shows how much the people of Anambra desires better governance and functional leadership.

Every one of the debaters agreed that Anambra state is blessed with knowledgeable people, an environment with commercial potentials and a human resource no other state can boast of. But, with all these attributes, why are the people of Anambra still marred by dilapidated infrastructures? Why is the rate of internally generated revenues from Anambra not growing? Why is Anambra negated by erosion, poor intra-city roads and unfriendly to businesses?

Dear Governor Willie Obiano, your plan to build an airport is good if you are building it for your personal use. 90% of Anambra citizens do not need an airport when the roads to their homes, workplaces and activity centres are waterlogged, swampy, unmotorable and eroded. How can anyone prefer an airport over intra-community bridges and tarred pathways that will open the localities to small businesses?

Mr Obiano, you said Anambra state is not paying “ONE KOBO” for the airport construction but you didn’t also say that the present and future generations of the common people of Anambra will indirectly pay for the airport through taxes, levies, dues, tolls and fines just like the ordinary people of Lagos are coerced to pay the “Lekki Tolls” for the construction of the dualized Lekki Road.

The election is around the corner and Anambrarians must decide who they want to entrust their leadership to, such trust requires the sincerity, openness, truth and responsibility from anyone who wants such leadership position.

With utmost sincerity, I advise my fellow Anambrarians to go out, en masse and vote the candidate of their choice. This election is not about political parties or godfathers, neither should it be about the highly politicised “change”. It is a decision that must be premised on the urgent needs to correct and reposition Anambra to its rightful place and direction.

The people of Anambra wants a government that is closer to them, not one that belongs to Abuja. A leadership that enables its people from local to global, empower its followers with people-focused policies and structures. Anambra deserves to be the commercial and industrial hub of Nigeria, for that, the state desires a leadership that can take bold actions and bring to bare the yearnings of the people.

My prayer is, come what may, that this election be peaceful, transparent and violent-free. May the choice of the people be victorious and applauded. Let this election be a source of reunification among all the good people of Anambra.

I wish all the candidates the best of lucks. God bless Anambra, God bless Ndigbo & God bless Nigeria.

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