There is no denying the fact that political godfatherism in some political set ups was the bane of Anambra politics before now. Hitherto,
Anambra was plunged into shameful crises that damaged her image within and outside Nigeria.
Then, legion of crises were evidenced in the constant face off between the executive and legislative arms of government of the state, regular strikes by workers and pensioners, who were owed several months of arrears of salaries, and other entitlements. The security situation in that shameful era was parlors, and life was indeed solitary, brutish, nasty and short.
That was the period when Bakassi Boys was established by the then state government. The Bakassi Boys allegedly killed people with impunity, especially some perceived political opponents. Among them were a former chairman of the Onitsha branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, late Barrister Barnabas Igwe and his pregnant wife, Blessing, who was also a lawyer.
During that reign of terror, Anambra also experienced what was then referred to as “zero allocation syndrome” because of the foisting of Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO on the state government by overbearing political godfathers. Under this unscrupulous arrangement, the so-called godfathers make direct deductions of billions of naira from Anambra’s share of monthly allocations in the federation accounts at the detriment of the people and socio-economic development of the state.
Attempt by a former governor of the state to resist godfatherism and the ISPO shenanigans led to his abortive abduction and unprecedented political crises, leading to the infamous November 2004 mayhem, during which public property, worth billions of naira, were brazenly destroyed by hoodlums.
Recently, a former commissioner for information in the state disclosed that the main reason why opponents are working against the incumbent governor is because Obiano bluntly refused to illegally and immorally dish out over seven billion naira which they are unjustly demanding. Perhaps, if Governor Obiano was not a strong willed leader who also places high premium on security, he would have been easily intimidated, bullied and overwhelmed by his self acclaimed godfather and his cohorts, as was the case in the past.
That notwithstanding, it is regrettable today that there are strong indications that some governorship candidates in the forthcoming poll in the state are being sponsored by overbearing godfathers, who have allegedly compelled the candidates to sign secret pacts which would re-enact the ISPO phenomena in Anambra state. Ndi Anambra should therefore better watch it because this diabolic arrangement would once again lead to zero allocation syndrome.
Remarkably, unlike most other governors, Obiano is regularly paying workers and retirees their salaries and pensions. For this, he has been nick named the only alert governor in Nigeria. This is because workers and pensioners in Anambra state get the bank alert for their salaries and pensions before the end of every month. Also, the Obiano administration is the first in the country to initiate the Choose-your-project-program.
Before Governor Obiano mounted the saddle of leadership, Awka, the state capital was evidently a glorified village because previous administrations paid little or no attention to aesthetic beauty or general infrastructural development of the city. This is not the case nowadays. Awka has been transformed and truly elevated to its deserved status as the capital of Anambra state.
As a matter of fact, the present state government is religiously keeping faith with its socio-economic blue print known as four pillars of development, anchored on mechanized agriculture, trade and commerce, oil and gas, in addition to industrialization. The state is presently a force to reckon with in massive rice production and export of vegetables, particularly ugu and onugbu. The Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency, ANSIPPA, created by the Obiano administration, is a catalyst for attraction of numerous multi billion dollars investments into the state.
With these unprecedented achievements, Ndi Anambra would not tolerate another attempt by any individual, no matter how highly placed or group of persons to once again impose the menace of godfatherism on them. The Anambra electorate who invariably belong to ASATU, NLC, TUC, NUT etcetera should, apart from trooping out en-mass to vote for Akpokuedike, endeavor to protect their votes from poll riggers on the day of the election proper. Forward ever, backward never.