News Update

My Sunday Luncheon with Governor Obiano

By Uche Amunike

I enjoy attending the 5.30 Mass on Sundays in my parish. So, because of that, I have my alarm permanently set to 4.30am for Sundays only. But last week, I missed the 5.30 Mass because I was so exhausted I didn’t even hear my alarm ring. I’ll tell you the reason why.

Last weekend, I attended my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. There was a lot of laughter, booze, food and of course, dancing. I was glad to see lots of my other cousins I hadn’t seen in a while, so we really rocked the wedding, ate our fill, boozed and boogied on the dance floor. I naturally got home really fagged out.

I showered, crawled into bed and slept like I owned the world. Before I slept off, though, I got a text message on that night asking me to be at the Government Lodge on Sunday morning with my Identity card and face mask, for an assignment.

The message didn’t say much, except it was strictly by invitation. I just read the message, tossed my phone on one side of my bed and slept off. I woke up next morning as my phone rang rather loudly. I wondered what time it was. When I saw that it was already about 5.30am, I knew that I had missed Mass.

It was the facilitator of the assignment that called to follow up on the text message. He is the amazing Prince Emeka Kalu, popularly known as ‘Magic Fingers’. I call him ‘My Prince’. He told me he had to call that early so as to ensure I hadn’t left for my morning Mass.

Was wondering what was so important that he had to send a text the night before and call very early the next morning. That was when he told me I was among the few journalists selected to go on the facility tour of Projects in the state that were built by Governor Willie Obiano. I was elated because in this job, it’s not everyday that one gets to be handpicked to do select jobs as that.

So I made a mental note to skip the 7.30 Mass which I would have attended, since I missed the early Mass. I did a few things in the house and headed to the state capital. Then, we took off. Our first port of call was the Umueri Cargo and Passenger Airport.

Now, I am one of those Anambra residents who have heard so much about the airport built by governor Obiano but have never stepped foot there. You can imagine my utmost shock when I got there and saw for myself something that I never expected to see in Anambra state soil.

It was the biggest airport I had ever seen in Nigeria and even in some countries I have been to and believe it when I say I have traveled enough to proudly say that I have seen my share of airports. I never thought I would see that kind of structure I saw in Anambra state.

The Works Commissioner very proudly led the tour of the airport facility and as we walked through the length and breadth of the gargantuan airport facility, all I could see was quality!!! The airport was built in 15 months to the tune of N60bn without Obiano borrowing a dime for the project.

That was really impressive! Apart from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, in Lagos, the second biggest airport in Nigeria is the Anambra Cargo and Passenger Airport built by Obiano in Umueri. This is no propaganda. This is real. I am filled with respect for this gentleman.

From the airport, we were taken to the International conference centre which I will tell you will be the biggest in this country by the time it’s completed. Gladly he confidently said that the hand over ceremony where he will pass the baton of leadership to his successor will be held in the International Conference Centre on March 17.

Nigeria is a country that is blessed with so many resources. All we really need is to put them to good use and make life better for her citizens. I can only pray that his successor will follow suit while carrying out other projects in the state.

He has assured us that the NCAA will come and commission the airport as soon as there is a date and assured us that by March 17, when he will be stepping down, he will be handing over completely completed projects to his successor. I can only say a resounding amen to that! After the tour of the facilities, we were to go back to the government Lodge for an interactive session with the governor and lunch.

He took questions and comments from journalists. It was a good interactive session where he bared his mind about the challenges and triumphs of his government. He expressed his readiness to step down in a few months, knowing he has played his role well as a son of the soul and a caregiver of the people and the state.

He encouraged media practitioners not to allow themselves to be used but to play their roles as watchdogs by reporting the truth always.

I believe it’s important for everybody who steps into the seat of government to leave footprints in the sands of time because governors will come and go and we, the masses will be there to assess and judge them by their works. Today I’m bowled over by the signature projects he put in place and I’m saying kudos to Akpokue for leaving this state with projects that will forever be enjoyed by the indigenes of the state.

It is a lesson to everyone. I don’t know who is going to be the next governor but I’m hoping it is someone that will do even better than him because after eight years, we will still be here to judge the person. I am certainly sure of one thing, though. Obiano will not be booed on March 17! He will be cheered as he bows out!!! God bless my Governor!!!