|Obiano(L) and Okorocha|
The present political harlotry, mercantilism and lack of effective leadership in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone have thickened and got to a maddening proportion. Just recently, the Governors of Anambra and Imo States chose to wash their dirty linens in the public, instead of facing mountainous governance challenges in their respective States.
It is recalled that we had on 11th December 2016, during the 68th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), named the trio of Messrs Nnamdi Kanu (POC), Peter Obi and Ike Ekweremadu as the Three Igbo/Southeast Distinguished Personalities for 2016. Their choice arose out of their respective efforts presently and in the past in advancing the collective interest and emancipation of the Igbo Race without recourse to political mercantilism and other primordial interests. It also arose out of urgent need to find replacement for and fill leadership vacuum in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone and ensure that marauding renegades, political harlots and mercantilists running riot in the Zone are never allowed any breathing space. They must be trounced and rejected with their stolen wealth.
While Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC) has effectively used his IPOB and RBL and nonviolence or pacifism to fight against the age-long and systematic physical and structural violence against the Igbo Race and the entire Southern Ethnic Nationalities in the country; Citizen Peter Obi was very outstanding when he held sway as Anambra Governor (2006-2014); particularly in the areas of due process, rule of law and massive infrastructural development and fiscal discipline. It was also under his leadership that the Southeast Governors and other leading politicians and Public Office Holders from the Zone were congregated under the Southeast Governors Forum for effective socio-political representation and development of the Zone.
Citizen Ike Ekweremadu, on his part, has been very dogged and unyielding till date as the Deputy President of the Senate and true son of the Igbo Land. The trio have steadily particularly since 2015 lent their voices against ethnic cleansing policy of the present Federal Government towards the Igbo Race particularly by standing up in condemnation of indiscriminate and mass killing of hundreds of unarmed and nonviolent Pro Biafra Campaigners by the Buhari Administration as well as killing of rural Igbo Christians by the Federal Government backed Nomad Fulani Jihadists.
Prior to the choice of trio of Nnamdi Kanu (POC), Peter Obi and Ike Ekweremadu, the Southeast Geopolitical Zone was not only leaderless, but also politically parasitic. The Zone is presently invaded and taken over by an assemblage of renegades, political harlots and traders; who brought sorrows and miseries to the People of the Zone in their days as Public Office Holders. The leadership vacuum in the Zone has widened and deteriorated till date.
Today, the Southeast Geopolitical Zone can no longer congregate and aggregate their human and material resources for the overall development of the Zone. It is sad that meaningful socio-economic and political development have continued to elude the Zone; thereby given rise to the urgent need for the vacuum so created to be filled by those who never or have not disappointed their People when they held or are still holding sway as Public Office Holders.
In Imo State, for instance, governance has so failed that Owerri is the only accessible city out of the State’s 27 LGAs. This is not to talk of mountains of abandoned key infrastructural projects littered across the State’s 27 LGAs. The Orlu Road dualization project, for instance, started as far back as in 2011 is still not completed. It is an act of impossibility in the State today to access and connect its 27 Local Government Areas by road. The State’s inter LGA/communal road network is a death trap and gets worse during the rainy season. The free education program of the State is also a ruse owing to dearth of teaching staff, their poor and unpaid remunerations and massively dilapidated primary and post primary school classrooms. Mango trees and others have now been converted to classroom blocks.
Imo State is also the most indebted State in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone. One of the easiest ways to ascertain how much the State owes presently locally and internationally is to calculate its budgets from 2011 to 2016 and deduct them from its statutory non loan receipts from the Federation Account and funds received from donor agencies (if any) as well as its meagre internally generated revenues (IGRs). The rest, called “budget deficits”, constitute bulk, if not totality of public debts borrowed locally and internationally by the State in the past five years of Rochas Okoroacha’s governorship. These exclude debts inherited from the previous Governments in the State. Remuneration arrears of serving and retired workers in the State are either halved and paid through bailout borrowings or owed for several months and concealed.
In Anambra State under the present Government of Governor William Obiano, the situation would have been noticeably different, if not for a saving grace enjoyed by the State in the areas of vast amount of massive infrastructural development, healthy civil service management and sound fiscal state bequeathed by the former Peter Obi Government’s Government. Yet in practical reality, the State has slumbered and stunted in its economic growth and development ratio and ratings under the present Government of Governor William Madubuchi Obiano.
Today, vast majority of the said key infrastructures particularly roads, drainages and waterways are begging for maintenance and sustenance. The Anambra State’s debts stock is also on steady increase from its lower level of N11Billion as at March 2014 (see DMO updates). We have also identified political elitism as the main killer force behind the slow pace of governance under Governor William Obiano Administration; likewise the Okorocha Government in Imo State. The two States are also bedevilled by governance by prototype, pretence and falsehood. In electoral democracy, nothing is hidden under the sun. A saying still goes that “a fowl with broken legs is not sold at homestead, but in a distance market or community”.
The totality of the forgoing has deeply saddened us and explained why we singled the two governors for condemnation, for having the effrontery to wash their dirty linens in the public instead of facing the governance responsibilities in their respective States. Democratic government in the world over originally existed and still exists for the purpose of ensuring greater happiness for the greater majority of the people as well as protection and hopes for the rest; meaning that “one day they will be happy like others”.
Governance happiness is not ensured by running an elitist government (i.e. sharing or wasting public funds on extravagant lifestyles and among cronies and political elites), but by aggressively mobilizing State human and material resources for overall development of the State and most importantly, by providing and maintaining tirelessly key infrastructures and social development otherwise called “tangible and intangible democracy dividends”.
Aggregating and congregating development resources packaged in hybrid policy directions; without mortgaging the future of the State in serial debts; is the most effective modern way of resource mobilization for public governance. Government indebtedness or borrowings have been out-fashioned and replaced by government and private sector partnership or PPP. Government also boosts or stimulates private sector growth by way of provision of industrial layouts, good road network, security, electricity and investment friendly policies including tax holidays and effective environmental impact and safety management and standard controls. It is an indisputable fact in the world over that “private sector is the largest employer of labour and bulk of government revenues”.
But in Anambra and Imo States under Nigeria’s present democratic dispensation, the reverse is grossly the case. These explain why we are not surprised as it concerns the ongoing war of words between Governors William Obiano and Rochas Okorocha. The dispute is nothing short of noises from the two locomotive governors of the present time at disastrous expense of public governance and collective citizens’ security in Anambra and Imo States. If the two Governors have really focused on the governance of their States, they would have little or no time engaging in open altercations and washing their dirty linens in the public.
Another annoying aspect is that the two Governors are supposed to be guided by their long age as the chief executive officers of their States in the Southeast Zone as well as their older age brackets than the rest of the Governors in the Zone. That is to say that Governors William Obiano and Rochas Okorocha are the oldest Governors in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone and much older in age than the Governors of Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia States. In other words, they are supposed to be looked upon by others as the gubernatorial fathers of the Southeast Geopolitical Zone. Their un-fatherly and primordial attitudes have largely been responsible for the present state of socio-political confusion and disarray in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone.
Instead of congregating and aggregating other Governors and Public Office Holders in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone for the purpose of forming a common front to protect the Zone and its People from menacing and marauding “enemy citizens” like Nomad Fulani Jihadists and Jihadistically composed security formations in the Zone; the two Governors are busy corroding with them to endanger and undermine the security of the Zone.
About 66 executive powers are given to the Governors by the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution while about 118 are retained by the President, out of 320 Sections of the 1999 Constitution, yet such gubernatorial powers particularly the role of Governors William Obiano and Rochas Okorocha as Chief Security Officers of their States, have largely remained ineffective and less beneficial to the People of the Southeast Zone till date.
Governors William Obiano and Rochas Okorocha, likewise the Governors of Abia and Enugu States had at one time or the other exposed their States to Nomad Fulani Jihadists and jihadistically composed army formations; leading to massacre of over 310 unarmed and defenceless citizens in one year (2015-2016) including mass killing of over 250 Pro Biafra Campaigners in Anambra and Abia States and over 60 rural Christian farmers in Enugu and Imo States.
It is so sad and shocking that the Southeast Geopolitical Zone can no longer be gathered under the auspices of the Southeast Governors Forum, which last existed in 2015 and founded during the leadership of former Governor Peter Obi. Today, the Zone is so disorganize, insecure and leaderless that renegades and political prostitutes and merchants are now in-charge; leading to turning of public governance in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone into private empires of the Public Office Holders, their family members and cronies.
Those who milked their States dry and became illicit billionaires overnight are now running from pillar to pole using “Igbo Emancipation” and “Igbo Presidency” as a cover. They also seek to be shielded from being held to account for their loots while in public office; resulting in them resorting to “politics of any government in power”.
Those who illicitly collected billions and connived with powers that be to scuttle struggles against age long Igbo annihilation policy of the present Federal Government have also become visitors and guests to Kuje Prisons and fake apostles of Igbo self determination. During their time as Public Office Holders, they left their States and offices in tatters after illicitly cornering hundreds of billions of naira worth of public resources statutorily meant for public good and good governance of their States and the Zone. Had they acted like the trio of Nnamdi Kanu, Peter Obi and Ike Ekweremadu when they held sway in their public offices, the ongoing bloodletting, sufferings, sorrows and tears presently afflicting the Igbo Race would not have arisen.
Today, they have plummeted further and become politicians without conscience and ideology, jumping from one party to another; ready to do anything including selling the Igbo Race so as to maintain the status quo and protect their loots. They can never be trusted and allowed to lead the Igbo Race or determine their collective fate again. The People of the Southeast Geopolitical Zone must at all times be wary of these decamped and immoral politicians who heartlessly stole and pocketed hundreds of billions of naira of public funds meant for the development of their Zone and People. They must be made to understand that they are on their own and have been permanently disconnected from the mainstream Igbo Race.
We call on Messrs Peter Obi and Ike Ekweremadu to liaise with the newly elected executives of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for purpose of promptly putting machinery in place for the convocation of the Southeast Leaders/Public Office Holders Forum. The new body under reference shall formally take over from the moribund Southeast Governors Forum in the mean time. Burning issues affecting the Zone including the Igbo annihilation policy of the current Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu BUhari should be articulately outlined as the core aims and objectives of the group and the Zone.
Governors and other public office holders in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone who identify with such core aims and objectives should be co-opted into the Leadership Forum pending when the new and focused Southeast Governors Forum will be properly constituted. This is what is fundamentally expected of the duo of Messrs Peter Obi and Ike Ekweremadu in their new capacities as “the Igbo/Southeast Distinguished Personalities for 2016”; which they shared alongside Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC).
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)
Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone
Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria
Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International
Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum
Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative
Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)
Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branc