By Ike Okonkwo (Veteran Journalist)
A maxim propounded by a prolific philosopher and eminent theologian, Thomas acquinas is emphatic that “The Principal act of courage is to endure and withstand dangers doggedly, rather than to attack them”. This postulation which can hardly be found wanting is evident in the courageous acts of His Excellency the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Dr) Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike) so far.
Generally, to qualify as courage, the act must be uncommon and rare. For instance, General Charles De Gaul defended and recovered France from German-Hitler Occupation despite the unconditional surrender by the nation’s president and his war council. Likewise, General Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, a maven Military tactitian and administrator cum historian withstood and weakened an alliance of mighty forces set to swallow his territory which resulted in No Victor No vanquished.
Again, the successful salvation of mankind by Jesus against overwhelming plot to stop him, proved to be the most active and incomparable act of courage in the history of man.
Reputed as courageous, Hercules created a river path to clean mighty stables hitherto thought to be impossible but accomplished in a day.
Coming home to Anambra State, the truth is that Governor Obiano-Akpokuedike, has undertaken acts of uncommon nature and rarity that position him as a courageous Leader. The regime’s ability to eclipse armed robbery, banditry and kidnapping, the mafia groups that aid and abet crime, crisis and confusion all which existed in the past five decades; also, the on-going construction of a cargo airport that had been on the drawing board in the past four decades among others, count for his courage.
Quite recently, his administration performed, yet, another uncommon act of bravery, given the extension of grace of God which abound in his life and governance to the retirees of the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), the publishers of National Light tabloids. Putting this particular stuff into spotlight, in view of its significance in human capacity recovery, stems from the fact that no staff of this corporation has ever accessed any pension and gratuity since they began to retire 27 years ago due to promise and responsibility failure by the past ten governments. As they retire, the pension bill soared, reaching figures above half a billion Naira (N.5billion).
But should Akpokuedike have inherited this sordid and pathetic scenario when the condition of the retirees was more than critical? No, it is unfortunate that his predecessors failed to act even though the corporation is established in accordance with Anambra State Pension Laws. However, it is at such critical period of no hope that a leader of exceptional mould and courage is positioned to sort out injtractable problems that build over time through neglect, ignorance, weakness, fear, deliberate act or by nature.
Therefore, it is certain that God has chosen Obiano (Akpokuedike) to clean the Augean stables that pile up in the state. Hence, the knowledge that ANPC is scheduled by Law for pension purpose, while the retired staff were abandoned inside a cesspool visibly shook and amazed Governor Obiano’s administration. Thus, with the grace of God, miracle began to set-in when the equally good-natured, God-fearing, humble and unassuming Governor Willie, rose to the challenge with a promise to strike out the drab past of empty promises and disappointment.
It is a common knowledge that action speaks louder than word, meaning that any promise and legitimate responsibility not accorded commensurate action, tantamount to emptiness and in some respect become a deceit. Even with the pitiable and palpable situation, the stakeholders never despaired but prayed for action with implicit confidence in the Governor. This is in consequence of existing knowledge in the state that Akpkuedike has gained fame for keeping faith with his promise cum responsibility through exquisite vision and elaborate planning.
True to his Chieftaincy name, Akpokuedike – meaning beckon the strong, bold and courageous, but equally captivated by grace of God, he released all the fund that liquidated the entire retirement benefits spanning across 27 years in a set record of nine months as against 12 months hitherto approved. Once-more, this development brought to the fore, the seriousness His Excellency attaches to despicable problems. In the instant case, the issuesat stake were clinically acted upon in a manner reminiscent of the Augean stables fame previously mentioned. Let it be known straight away that the vision in handling state affairs with finesse by the Obiano’s Administration cannot be detached from yet, Thomas Aquinas School of Philosophy theory which attest that ‘the test of the artist do not lie in the will with which he goes to work but in the excellence of the work he produces”. The deductive logic inherent in this postulation visa vis the ANPC quagmire can be accessed from available fact. For instance, the huge debt involved could easily intimidate a lily- livered administrator to abandon payment in preference to fresh monthly pension bill as initially canvassed by stakeholders but His Excellency was never perturbed so far the objective responsibility of leadership is to solve difficult and despicable problems that have remained unsolved.
In solving this problem, Government Obiano went straight and paid the huge accumulated pension and gratuity of 27 years simultaneously and concurrently to the satisfaction and admiration of all stakeholders. This is variously noted as unprecedented and unheard of in the annals of component state governments, in the federation of Nigeria Equally, it is a clear case of exceptional courage and bravery by a governor that possessed great passion for excellence even in the midst of odds including the down-tum in the nation’s economy that affect every government.
No wonder, Governor Obiano is acknowledged generally by rightists and leftists, pessimists and optimists as a good starter and marvelous finisher of project and policy execution, covering physical procurement of infrastructure, public relations and human capacity development.
Finally, there is need for bishops and clergies, the traditional rulers and Ichies and indeed, the masses of Anambra State to join in appreciating God Almighty and thanking Governor Willie Obiano for at least utilizing God’s abundance of Grace in his Life and government to neutralize ANPC’s retirees’ despicable and unfortunate plight. His action has resurrected the spirit, mind and flesh into active Life once-more after being abandoned as dead woods for 27 years. It’s marvelous.