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Cracking Anambra’s cracky conundrum

The more so, on the political terrain where the governor himself qualifies for eminent mention in the list he reeled out. Denied his mandate at…

The more so, on the political terrain where the governor himself qualifies for eminent mention in the list he reeled out. Denied his mandate at the polls by a combination of ignorance crossed with naivety between godfathers and godchildren, he wrestled it back through the courts. He rode the fury that followed this sound with equitable panache only to be denied his office one more time, this time by a State House impervious to the wind in the air chanting chang

To the courts again he raced, and like other shining lights he has joined the list of Anambra firsts. He moved on to become the first governor of the state to be re-elected and currently runs the state with all her legislators – save some recent decampments – in a different party. He has continued to wax from strength to strength, flagging off project after project in his ingenious integrated development strategy. These have been to the chagrin of his detractors angry that state funds are no longer deployed to the satisfaction of ghost contractors who target mobilisation fees payable by cohort incumbents with agreed percentages returned to them while the people suffered.

It behoved his listeners that night to wonder like Ghanaian novelist Ayi Kwei Armah as to ‘why are we so blest’ and yet over time have wallowed in the mire of neglect and incompetence like no other state in the country ever had. Reflecting on the theme, it becomes clear that while the state had the entire prerequisite lights to light up the entire nation, lurking in its corners are also enemies of vision who would rather the state remained a hideout for all manner of hooliganism. While their hardworking compatriots laboured to let the light shine, they literarily prayed that it be snuffed off for good.

Using the Obi paradigm one could not but wonder why an election will be conducted with an access of state funds and yet rubbished by the selfsame state. Nobody can doubt that given the peculiarities of the state’s non-oil producing status it needs all the money possible to break even with the huge salary bill that it has to cope with. The populace are expected to pay their taxes as and when due, yet state funds are lavished at charades. Amenities in the state are barely enough to accommodate the teeming population and there are virtually no funds to make for improvements let alone set up new ones. The list is as endless as there is sand on the seashore.

In those days ‘eaten by the locusts’, when virtually all the light there was in the state were hidden under bushels, political parties would rather appoint candidates to elective posts than organise primaries. It was well-known then that many candidates sailed through on account of their domestic contributions to the godfather’s household. A candidate told of how he had ironed his shirt to be announced as the candidate at a rally only to be substituted at the event with an Abuja returnee who was recommended overnight by the party chairman’s wife. You can imagine the consternation this could lead to down the party line.

There were even the more celebrated cases where otherwise would-be executive office holders are made to swear to strange oaths. Primary in these vows are explicit caveats that automatically amount to signing away of the commonwealth to an unemployable tout. Overnight the overgrown paths to their underachieving family compounds turn oft-trodden as their likes unable to compete in a state of firsts see in them heroes. All day long, flowing garment vaudevilles are received in mock obeisance to the false gods who in turn get drunk on their power like those God wants to silence. The burning of state government property by those that hoped to occupy it was the culmination of this comedy of errors.  

There was even a time in Anambra when state primary and secondary schools missed an entire academic season because of the ‘vibrancy’ of the government of the day. Not only were legitimately employed householders denied there means of livelihood but for that long the state stood still. Desperate parents could not but send their children off to half-baked private schools that were not even ready for the influx.

The forgoing is crucial because another electioneering season has dawned and the state is coming back to life with aspirants and godfathers. Mark my words. Those oft-trodden parts that had become overgrown like before are once more seeing footsteps again. Promises are once more being traded on platters. The un-credentialed are dusting their fake certificates once more hoping that the fog had not cleared after all.

Coming on the heels of the February 6 governorship polls that returned the incumbent without rerun, his party the All Progressives Grand Alliance has become attractive. Like honey, the party now attracts bedfellows strange and weird, all wanting to capitalise on the bandwagon. This in itself is a very welcome development – if there is enough space in the sky for birds, same must be applicable downstairs for men (and women). However, one thing should be uppermost in the mind of all Anambrarians: ‘Home For All’ is now associated with all the things bad while ‘Light Of The Nation’ is the way forward that we have since opted for. It now remains to be seen which of these countercultures will have the upper hand as we dig into our political trenches where the only legal weapons are word and strategy.

Uzoatu is a poet, novelist and businessman based in Onitsha South LGA, Anambra State

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