The power of My State by Rev. Fr. Gerald Nwafor

Our adage states: From the bringing out of the cocoyam you can as well guess how the planting will be (Ana esi na-nchiputa ede ama okuko ya). I reviewed the list of persons making up the transition team of the new and incoming governor-elect. I will not dwell on my emotional attachments, of being happy or sad for whatever reasons. The person who brought me list had a lot of legitimate questions and some that were very trivial.

One of his concerns was the amount of money required to pay these high-profile and highly-skilled persons, as he knew very well the cost to employ their services. Secondly, he was worried about the number of people on the team, eighty, to be precise.

He asked if we needed that number of people for a transition period? I did address some of his concerns, but I am not sure I convinced him that much, because the state and the country, in general, have since deviated from the original and traditional norms of making public their transition team, and similarly, by employing only their family members in the team.

Therefore, it is strange to him to see a transition team filled with capable hands from across the country in a state in which they are not bona fide residents.

Does it matter his state of origin if the contractor of your home is the perfect man for the job? You do not want your house to collapse in the middle of the construction, or worse, at the end of the construction. Our state has suffered so much at the hands of bad contractors, be they political contractors or social contractors.

Even the contractor whom we contract to build our roads has shown that they are fake and mediocre. I cannot remember any person in the transition teams of our government as far back as 1999, when this new democratic dispensation started. No name rings a bell on their list and some of the governors never had a transition team to start with.

They were so anxious to jump into power that they forgot the apparatus and structure of good government.  What the professor did is the gold standard. Appointing a transition team of repute shows what is to come, and making it open to the public shows that it is a government that will deal with competence, not family business and nepotism.

The first step to any event matters a lot, it sets the tone for what is to come. If there is a problem with the bringing out of the cocoyam you can as well guess the kind of problem awaiting the planting properly.

Let me mention one or two people in the team whom I think will not short-change or lower the standard: Professor Pat Utomi and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN). I have known Pat Utomi for over 30 years from his time in Volkswagen Nigeria to his business school. He has not reduced his high standard for money transactions or relationships. The principle of trust and good governance should be maintained at all levels.

From the time of MKO and June 12, I have followed Olisa Agbakoba, a human rights activist, speaking truth to power, ready to put his life on the line for the common man. Agbakoba always champions the cause of good governance and expresses and exposes the evils of any bad government, not minding whose horse is gored.

I picked these two not because the likes of Oby Ezekwesili, the chairperson of the commission, is not worthy of mention, but because all of the 80 persons are persons of high integrity and class. Mentioning all of them will sound repetitious; therefore, you can predicate on the remaining 78 persons those qualities mentioned on Pat, Olisa, and Oby.

Any person mentioned by the incoming governor in that transition team has worked with the governor-elect closely in one capacity or another and can be relied on for wisdom and knowledge.

Finally, as we await to capitalize on the full potential of our beloved state, we should not concern ourselves with the micro and myopic view of tribalism and nepotism that has rocked our state and country far too long and depleted its power.

The federal government has used their kith and kin in administrative positions for reasons best known to them. Today I will not be the judge for you because my eyes and ears are not larger than yours. When you appoint your incompetent brother or sister into an office the he or she knows nothing about, the failure of iberiberism will inevitably occur and it will be a disaster for the state and the people.

The power of our state has been underused since the time of Ukpabi Asika. During the civil war, our sons and daughters showed that we can change and transform Nigeria into a great nation if we are given the space. Maybe this is a space in disguise to set a standard for other states in Nigeria to copy.

If Anambra state can transform itself into Japan or Dubai or one of the Asian tigers, I believe the transformation will be infectious to the neighboring states. As the commoners in the streets always ask, “Who no like better thing?” I believe so much in this transition team assembled by Professor Soludo, and this team will bring out the power of the Anambra state and all the hidden potentials thereof. Now the cocoyam is out, the next stage is the planting and harvesting.

Fr. Gerald Nwafor writes from Santa Clara, California, USA