By Peter Nwasike
In competitive games, example football, people look for talented players, to win the match by scoring- goal. When goals are not scored, the match is not won. That is why team managers go extra mile to bypass the incumbent forwardmen and recruit an expert striker, from other clubs, with sacrifice of money, so as to ensure that goals are scored.
The present political trajectories, which are the incumbent President and vice, of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the persons of Buhari and Osinbajo, are the strikers, but lack steam, and so need replacement. Under their watch, .Nigeria has incurred massive debt from China, a country that was classified as a “Third World Country”, just like Nigeria. Because of good leadership, they have triumphed and joined “Developed Countries,” of America, Britain, Russia, France, Germany, etc.
And so, as Nigeria is preparing for another match, in quest of economic solvency, there is need to look for economic strikers to score economic goals. As a team manager sacrifices money to buy strikers, Nigerians must sacrifice tribal sentiment, nepotism, religious fanaticism, and recruit the economic strikers, from wherever they could be found.
The environment of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as future President and Vice, in the persons of Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar as President and Sir Peter Obi as Vice, present fertile ground for recruitment of the needed strikers, to score the goals.
In his write-up in New Telegraph Newspaper, Monday, October 8, 2018, page 2, Pastor Tunde Bakere, testified on Atiku and said: “He is a Wazobia” man. His first wife is Yoruba. The second wife is Fulani. The third wife is Igbo”. In this perspective, he is a consummate polygamist who organizes diverse segments in his matrimonial home, into a harmonious one, and maintains cordiality. This is unlike serial polygamists, who dispense women as they dispense their caps. Atiku is an astitute businessman, who sits on top of chains of conglomerates, with success. So, as an expert manager of men and materials, from the private sector, he could be trusted to pilot the affairs in the public sector, successfully, and eventually, the economic goals could be scored.
Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, demonstrated the wisdom of recruiting economic goal scorers, devoid of sentiments of trivialities, when he recruited Peter Obi in his Economic Team. It happened that immediately Peter Obi won his re-election in 2010, Jonathan, who was in People’s Democratic Party (PDP) invited Peter Obi, who was in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), to be in part-time service to the Presidency. It was during the period Peter Obi was serving, as Economic Adviser that the “Sovereign National Fund,” was created so that Federal Government could save money for necessary contingents and for the future. As lover of Education, it was during Peter Obi’s services, that the Jonathan Government established the “Alamajiri Schools, with scholarships of free uniform, books, fees, food, for the millions of school age children roaming the streets of Northern Nigeria, begging for food, and constituting recruitment camps for terrorists and wicked herdsmen. Jonathan had enough money to send to farmers in the North, to boost their agricultural produce. When flood ravaged riverine areas in 2012, Jonathan had enough money to help them.
Obi came to power in Anambra State on March 17, 2006, when the political and economic life of Anambra State was bedeviled with crisis. There was no money to pay workers, teachers, pensioners. Thugs occupied Motor parks and markets and confiscated their revenue. Government House, House of Assembly, Judiciary were burnt. The gladiators tried and paid workers so that they could resume work, but ignored the Sixteen Billion Naira owed to Pensioners. Obi’s immediate predecessor paid pensioners for only the current months of his regime, and ignored the N16 billion owed by his predecessor (1999-2003). But 0bi accepted the arrears to Pensioners and paid all. Obi adopted pragmatism and constitutionality and flushed out the thugs from the Parks and recovered the revenue. He then midwifed his blue-print of ” ANAMBRA INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY” which was to develop all sectors simultaneously, in conformity with the mandate of the United Nations Organization (UNO), to build development projects in both rural and urban areas, so that people could live in their hometowns and achieve socio-economic self actualization, and save urban areas from over population.
Within six months in office, he mapped out development projects and invited the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on October 13 – 14, 2006, to flag them off. They included The State Secretariat, Awka, Sports Stadium Onitsha, General Hospital Onitsha, Stock Exchange House, Onitsha, Roads in Rural and Urban Areas, to mention but a few. Unfortunately, when Obassnjo left Anambra State on Saturday, October 14, on Monday, October 16, the House of Assembly dominated by PDP, goaded by their Godfather who was desperate to become Governor at all costs by hook or crook initiated impeachment motion against Obi. They actualized their unconstitutionality on November 2, 2006, and Obi’s Deputy, Mrs. Etiaba, was sworn in, by the then Chief Judge, Justice Chuka Okoli, and Obi vacated office. He went to Court to challenge the impeachment, and won the case at ,High Court, Awka and the impeachers went to Appeal Court, Enugu, and Obi equally finally quashed the illegal impeachment, on February 9, 2007.
Obi returned to office on February 9,2007, and met empty purse. He magnimously let the sleeping dog lie, and went ahead to start afresh to save money for his economic blueprint of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS). Insecurity posed by thugs and hoodlums were a torn in the flesh of Obi’s government. He sent “Executive Bill” to the legislature for law against kidnapping and armed robbery, to have their hideouts demolished, with capital -punishment on culprits. As efficient Security is capital intensive, Obi appealed to his primary constituency, The Banks, to implement their “Social Welfare Responsibility of Business,” by assisting to equip the Police. He himself, from government’s coffers, equipped the Police with many Patrol Vans, Communication Gadgets, Welfare Packages, etc., and invited the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, to take delivery of the Vans. Okiro testified that Obi was the first State Governor to realize that equipping the Police for Security, is not only the responsibility of the Federal Government, but the States and corporate and philanthropist individuals, could also help to equip the Police. The Banks that Obi appealed to, also responded and donated ‘Vans, among them, the Fidelity Bank, Union Bank, First Bank, Diamond Bank, Access Bank, etc. When stubborn kidnappers reared their ugly heads, Obi used the law from the Legislature, and confronted them, and apprehended them, demolished their hideouts at Uli, in Ihiala LGA, at Oraifite, in Ekwusigo LGA, at Awkuzu, in Oyi LGA, at Old Market Road, Onitsha, in Onitsha North LGA, to mention but a few. The solid foundation, with practical examples that Obi laid in Security is what his successor, is building on, to establish water tight security, both in equipping the Police and in apprehending the robbers.
Obi realized the importance of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in providing essential amenities for service to the people, and so courted the partnerships of the Church in Education and Health. He sent an “Executive Bill” to the Legislature, for law to hand over schools to the Church, and implemented the law, by handing over schools to the Church. He retained the financial responsibilities of the schools, while the Church took care of administration. He gave huge sums of money to the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church, and the synergy between the Government and Church produced good result, that the State is emerging first positions in external examinations and national and global competitions. Obi did the same in the Health Sector, and save much money to the Churches, to make them financially buoyant for quality health care delivery* Obi also courted the partnership of International Donor Agencies, by paying “Counterpart Funds,” and they responded in providing necessary amenities, in Basic Education, Water borehole and Sanitation, Erosion Control, Primary Healthcare, etc.
Obi’s system with Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), was efficacious as roads, bridges, rural electrification, permeated into the villages. He also sent “Executive Bill” to the Legislature, for law on “Village Vigilante Group,” who, under the training, discipline, control of the Police, assists in establishing security in the villages. Every Christmas, Obi budgeted for the logistics to keep movement in the villages salubrious and secure, by sending money of One Million Naira for roads maintenance and security needs, each to each town, so that travelers could enjoy their journey in villages, and also protected from the menace of hoodlums.
The comprehensive development projects Obi executed in urban and rural areas “Facility rural areas, in his first term, made him to organize Facility Visits,” by various organizations, to see for themselves, the projects that he executed, that are verifiable. The Organizations were Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Church Organizations of Laity Council of the Catholic and Anglican Churches, Market Women, Traders Associations, Youth Councils, to mention but a few. All of them testified that Obi’s claims of “Scorecard” were “EYE MARKED” and not “ear marked.” These were what convinced people to vote for his second term, to complete the eight years of constitutional stipulation.
So when Obi got his second term, and was re-sworn in on March 17, 2010, by August, 2010, President Jonathan appointed Obi his Economic Special Adviser, so that Obi could introduce expertise in management of funds, for good governance at the Federal level.
It is highly imperative, that Ndigbo in particular, and Nigerians in general, should emulate Jonathan’s wisdom and sagacity, and send Obi to the Centre, to perform his expertise in governance. Obi can introduce his method of flushing out kidnappers from Anambra State and thugs from Motor Parks and Markets, and use the pragmatism and ingenuity, to flush out the Boko Harm from the North East, and the barbaric herdsmen from the farmers’ plantations. Nigeria shall be better for it, if Atiku and Obi are given the mantle of leadership, to score the economic and security goals for Nigeria.