By Tochukwu Ezukanma
According to a trite Nigerian parlance, “Politics is a dirty game”. As long, as it is left for dirty men and women, politics will remain a dirty game in Nigeria. The only way to clean up Nigerian politics is by the participation of decent and honorable men and women in politics. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.” In their natural penchant for evil, dirty men must always play dirty, especially in politics. As such, the redemption for Nigerian politics lies in the involvement of credible and principled individuals in politics. So that, as evil men plot, burn and bomb in Nigerian politics, good men in politics will plan, build and bind.
As we go to the polls on November 6th 2001 to elect a new governor, the people of Anambra must reject crooked and dishonorable politicians – certificate forgers, ignoramuses and con artists – posturing as sentinels of the public good, and vote for Chukwuma Soludo. He is the most knowledgeable, experienced and qualified of all the good men in the race. In addition to knowledge, experience and honor, he has other necessary qualities – guts, gumption, powerful ego and vision – to lead Anambra State, the Light of the Nation, to new heights. Thus, he will burnish the radiance of the Light of the Nation.
Despite the preponderant powers reposed in the federal government by the 1999 military-sponsored constitution, state governments still has substantial influence on the lives of Nigerians. So, while we continue to bemoan the failings of the federal government and the dysfunction of its institutions, and demand reformation, we must realize that the reformation of state governments is equally important. Accountability, transparency, and principled distribution and efficient management of resources by state governments will be momentous for Nigerians. After all, education, health, judiciary, housing, etc are all in the concurrent list, and other important areas of governance, like land use, physical planning, and local government and chieftaincy affairs, are solely within the purview of state governments. An improvement in these
areas under state authority will dramatically improve the quality of life in Nigeria.
The people of Anambra State are trailblazers. They have blazed the trail across the entire range of the Nigerian social life. The likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe, Pious Okigbo, and Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu respectively pioneered nationalism and national unity, creative writing and African literature, scholarly and practical economics, business and wealth creation in Nigeria. Presently, the state is spearheading the Nigerian rendition of the industrial revolution. The hub of this marvelous revolution is Nnewi, and its apogee is auto manufacturing.
At a point, the state blazed the trail in bad government. In his buccaneering thievery and murderous political intolerance, Governor Chinweoke Mbadinuju, in concert with his vicious and voracious political godfathers, ran every state institution aground and consigned the state to something of 21st Century Dark Ages. With the saga of Chris Ngige and Chris Uba, the state broke new grounds in the narrative of political protégés breaking loose from the stranglehold of unscrupulous and ungodly political godfathers.
In addition, Anambra State has been on the forefront in the participation of decent and financially honest men, with guts and gumption to battle the ravages of evil men in politics. The political party, All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), has provided the political platform for these courageous and committed public servants that have successfully rolled back the lamentable consequences of the grasping avarice and depredation of dirty men in the politics of the state. As the APGA governor of the state, Peter Obi brought transparency, political tolerance, thrift and incorruptibility to governance. The
subsequent governor, Willie Obiano, elevated, expanded and deepened these splendid qualities in his governance of the state. His distinguished leadership found expression in his administration’s achievements in every aspect of governance, and the people’s continued confidence in his administration.
In his first 100 days in office, Obiano completely dislodged criminal elements from the state, making the state one of the safest in the country. His administration made enormous progress in transportation, security, workers’ welfare, road construction, health, agriculture, education and making the state attractive to foreign investors. As such, the state has one of the highest per capita incomes, one of the most efficient healthcare services, and one of the best results in NECO and WAEC examinations, in Nigeria. In addition, it became the uncontested commercial hub of the Southeast, and premier foreign investment destination in the country.
There is the need for continuity, and consolidation of Obiano’s achievements in office. Therefore, the character and capability of his successor is extremely important. Refreshingly, APGA chose the best and brightest, Chukwuma Soludo, as the eventual successor to Obiano. Soludo is an honorable and respectable man, with a distinguished career in academia and public service. He will be one of the most erudite and versatile to occupy the governor’s mansion in Nigeria. Over the decades, he proved his mettle as a reformer and leader. With his economic reforms, especially, in the banking sector, he has already left an impressive, indelible imprint on the country.
Incontestably, he will take the achievements of the two earlier APGA governors to new heights. And, in its refulgence, Anambra State will continue to shine brighter and brighter, as the Light of the Nation.
Tochukwu Ezukanma writes from Lagos, Nigeria.