Between Governor Peter Obi and His CriticsArticles/Opinion, Latest News Saturday, March 15th, 2014
By Chukwudi Nwokoye
‘He made friends and dined with tax collectors, harlots and sinners. John The Baptist’s disciples fasted but His disciples did not observe the sabbath day and did not fast. He said that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days…. He blasphemed God by saying that he was the son of God. He said that he could forgive sins.’ Iyara iyara iyara…….
We have read that script before. You are damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t. Gov. Obi was building roads, bridges, school blocks; refurbishing schools, hospital and dilapidated government structures. Many of his critics could not get themselves to acknowledge it. Some even called him reckless and said that he wanted to empty the treasury before he leaves office. At a time when his mates are buying private jets, flying first class, owning properties in Dubai and all over the world, stashing billions in Swiss banks, building mansions all over Nigeria and buying exotic cars/jeeps for their girlfriends and sycophants; he was investing our money and making returns into our treasury. Do the naysayers applaud his integrity? Of course not.
He was partnering with private bodies and religious organizations to get the hospitals back on their feet. Attracted and invested Anambra’s money in industries and refinery but detractors said that he is using Anambra money for personal business.
When he attracted a brewery that produce one of the best beers in Nigeria, Hero Beer, detractors said that he wanted to turn Anambra people to drunkards. When he completed Orient Refinery and helped make Anambra the 10th oil producing date in Nigeria and creating job for the unempolyed, detractors said that he only wanted to put Anambra in a collision cause with our neighboring Kogi state.
Before, and during his planning stage, ‘ndi ufu obi’ called him ‘aradite hand’ and a miser…and a self-centered man. Later he started donating money to religious bodies as matching grants after handing over their schools to them, detractors said that he was wasting money as a drunken sailor.
Our educational system went through a transformation; missionary schools were returned to them to administer, (schools that were taken over by the government to punish the missionaries for their humanitarian efforts toward Biafra) while the state pays salaries. Detractors said that he planned to massively retrench teachers. Anambra students are taking first positions in NECO, WAEC and JAMB organized examinations, but detractors would be quick to point to boys that have taken to trading instead of education to say that Gov Obi drove Anambra boys to trading due to high cost of education.
He inter-connected all Anambra roads accounting for over 800 kilometers of roads but detractors called the roads inferior and that it was an escape route for kidnappers. The forgotten towns in Anambra state that could only travel home by canoes and boats are praising him for constructing their roads and bridges and giving them the sense of belonging and opening up their areas to ready markets where they could sell their farm produce; but detractors would deny that there was any forgotten towns in Anambra.
If he had emptied the treasury, detractors would cry ‘blue murder’, he left billions for his successor to take off with, detractors say that he shouldn’t have left money but should have invested it.
If he had invested it, detractors would say that he funneled our money to his private business. Talking about investments, how about the investments that the state made in some projects being executed which include: N3.5 billion in INTAFACT, N9 billion in Nigeria Independent Power Project; N4 billion in Orient Petroleum Resources PLC; N1 billion in Onitsha Hotel; N1 billion in Agulu Lake Hotel; N0.9 billion in Awka Shopping Mall, N350 billion in quoted investment portfolio, billions in SABMiller Breweries PLC (makers of the popular Hero Beer), among others. These investments are generation and would generate money for the state and create job opportunities for the state.
He kept working for Anambra even when he knows that he has less than few days to go. His colleagues in other states use their second term to steal money, make friends with criminals that would assist them launder the money and virtually become a lame duck governor, but he refused to toe that path to ignominy. His detractor would rather he finish our treasury so that they would shout ‘crucify him’.
When he asked the rhetorical question: ‘Are we cursed or are we the cause’?, naysayers said that Anambra people are cursed. He answered his own question by proving that we are really the cause!
*Chukwudi Nwokoye writes in from Washington, D.C.
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