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11.01.2010 Nigeria

Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira Question for Governor Peter Obi

By Odenigbo Chidi Anyaeche
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A man's word should be his bond. More so when the man is an elected public office holder. In Nigeria and more particularly in the case of Governor Peter Obi, the sitting executive governor of Anambra state, it appears that to men at the helm of affairs of the society, their word is not their bond. Infact talk is cheap, talk is yarn, talk is mere grandstanding. They talk for talk's sake. Governor Peter Obi talks for the sake of talking. He talks because he loves the sound of his testosterone depleted voice. He just talks and within a minute has forgotten what he has said. Other than that, he is just plain economical with the truth just as he has been found wanting in governing the state.

Governor Peter Obi has a two hundred and fifty million naira (or One million pound UK sterling) question that he needs to provide an answer to the good people of Anambra state that he professes to love and serve. This particular question has nothing to do with the sordid May 29, 2009 incident when the Lagos state police command apprehended his aides with the above sum, in cash, in his official car at his private office in Apapa, Lagos. For according to Governor Obi, tribunals here on earth and in heaven have exonerated him on the issue. How he came to the conclusion that celestial tribunals have cleared him, I cannot tell. But that is his defence. Only the dead can be cleared celestially. But then, that is Governor Obi in his usual ranting. He even knows about the after-life.

During Governor Obi's campaign in 2002 and 2003 for the office of the executive governor of Anambra state, he was shouting to high heavens from Ukpor to Agulu, from Yenagoa to Sokoto, from London to New York and from Afghanistan to Yemen that should he be elected and sworn in as governor of Anambra state, he will do such a splendid job in the education sector (amongst other sectors) that his children will come back from UK to school in Anambra state as test of his performance in that field. Governor Obi was in effect telling the whole world and swearing (in-directly) with the fate of his own children that he will make the education sector in Anambra state better or at least comparable with what is obtained in the UK that there will be no need for his children (and our children) to school outside the state let alone in the western world. This was a serious statement, so serious that he brought his own children into the equation. As the saying goes “Vox populi, vox dei” (Voice of man is the voice of God). However, the voice of Governor Obi is not vox dei. It is the voice of a tramp. It is the voice of a man who will say anything to get what he wants: for his children as I write, more than three and half years after he was elected and sworn in as the executive governor of Anambra state are still studying in the UK. That is the two hundred and fifty million naira question that he needs to give an answer to the good people of Anambra state: Governor Obi, why are your children still schooling in the UK despite your avowed campaign promise to bring them back to Anambra state?

Nobody challenged Governor Obi into the issue of relocating his children to Anambra state for their education. It came from him and that is my issue with the man. His failure to adhere to this stand of his, his failure to honour his own words shows that the man has no substance. The man has not even deemed if fit to apologise to the good people of Anambra state that he has failed them in providing a decent educational platform (and other dividends of democracy) for their children and offer explanations. Rather he is seeking a second term in office.

Imagine the fate of such a politician in mature democracies. How can such a man be trusted with anything let alone the exalted office of an executive governor? How can such a man be trusted with public funds? But then that is Nigeria for you, which is why nothing works because of impostors like Governor Obi et al are in office. Irresponsible individuals like President Yar'adua who leaves a whole country rudderless.

I have in several publications posited that rudimentary trading and not sound education is Governor Obi's stock in trade. That is the reason he is at home with ferrying raw cash worth two hundred and fifty million naira in the boot of his official vehicle whilst education system has collapsed in his state. If you doubt me, please visit Nnobi Boy's High School, Nnobi and Community Secondary School, Obosi to name a few. That is why Anambra State University of Technology, Uli and Nwafor Orizu College of Education (a degree awarding college) have no websites in this 21st Century. If you doubt me, please search for the institutions on-line. How can lecturers and students perform and compete in this era without web access? It cost far much less than two hundred and fifty million naira to provide a university with a website.

Come February 2010, Anambra state deserves a decent person, a decent individual, a person whose word is his bond as the next governor of the state. Odenigbo's contribution is to state categorically that a man who can lie (with the fate of his children) like Peter Obi is not worthy to be that person. Dear voters, the balls are in your courts, please use it wisely. Otherwise, posterity will hold you accountable. Odenigbo has done his bit.

Odenigbo Chidi Anyaeche
London
UK
Tel. 07956 367 576

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