Obiano, the Way to Go by Jude Atupulazi

Last week I wrote a piece I entitled, ‘Obiano, Good Man, Not So Good Advisers’. That piece elicited a deluge of responses all expressing appreciation for what I wrote. It really got me thinking along certain lines that actually made me to write this sequel. The responses I got showed me that the people being governed are very discerning. 

The responses told me clearly as nothing else could that the days of taking people for granted by leaders are gone. Indeed, the pattern of recent elections here and elsewhere in the country indicates that people have become wiser, knowing what they want and how to get it through the ballot box. Hence, people can decide to vote for Candidate A in PDP for a certain position and vote for Candidate B of APC for another position. They no longer vote blindly according to party lines. It is a warning signal to political leaders that things are no longer the same; that the talk about voting parties, regardless of who represents them, is hogwash. 

Thus candidates are now considered on their merit; not their platforms. Very soon, another round of elections will come up in Anambra State, precisely two years from now. It is a time our governor, Willie Obiano, will test his popularity and achievements with the masses. It is a time when he will know whether his policies have found favour in the eyes of the electorate. It is a time he will know if his image makers have done a good job. 

His image makers are those people who market their boss and attempt to make him look as though he is the best thing to happen to Anambra. Indeed, a great task awaits Obiano’s image managers in the run up to the gubernatorial election coming up soon. For some reason, the electorate seem to have reservations about supporting candidates for second term, regardless of what those candidates did in their terms. They just feel the desire for change and go for it. Thus if candidates are not packaged well by their packagers, they could be in for some shock. My objective in this piece is make our governor see the need to take a hard look at those packaging his image; for him to see if what they are doing is helping him or killing him. 

Yes, sometimes, a boss sits back and believes that all is well while indeed there is fire on the mountain, just because of what he is told by his foot soldiers. Really the recent happenings in the state have moved me to share my thoughts on this. Certainly the past days have witnessed yet another avoidable round of mudslinging between two of the state’s most important people. I mean the governor, Willie Obiano and his predecessor, Peter Obi. This was triggered by controversies on what and what not was left in the state’s coffers by the outgone regime. 

The controversy threw up a lot of mud which the state could have done without. At the end, it left the two warring camps still baring their fangs instead of sheathing their swords. As I pointed out in my last piece, the entire thing was avoidable. It could have been avoided if the advisers of the governor had handled it well. Remember they were the first to fire the salvo which the receiver was compelled to fire back. That, in itself, opened a can of worms that could have remained unopened. But its opening once more asked questions of the wisdom of the governor’s advisers. Let’s face it: the face-off between the governor and Peter Obi is not doing the governor’s image any good. 

Anyone who tells the governor the contrary is the governor’s enemy Number One. If anything, the governor, for seemingly fighting his godfather less than six months after coming on board, is perceived as ungrateful by a vast majority of the Anambra populace. This perception can be seen inside commercial buses going to Onitsha or Awka; it can be seen when one rides on an okada and brings up the issue; it can be seen in drinking joints, even in government offices where it is discussed in hushed tones. So anyone who pretends that all is good and tells the governor so should be removed from the governor’s payroll. Right now, the governor has made more enemies than friends and anyone in doubt should find out at the sources I just mentioned. The face-off between Obiano and Obi is not the only reason for the governor’s negative perception by the public.

 The high regime of taxation is another one. Whoever advised that it be pursued the way it has been done is dealing a mortal blow to the governor. I recall that in the regime of the previous government, some revenue people chose the election period to impose heavy levies on the public. Some perceptive people in the government raised an alarm and pointed out the negative impact such would have and the idea was quickly shelved. That is the kind of discernment I do not see in the present government. It does indeed seem as if some people care less about what happens to the government as long as their private nests are feathered. These are probably those that will keep telling the governor that all is well and be calling him all manner of praise names.

 If the government fails, they don’t care because they have fed fat on the government and they will simply move on. We had plenty of such people during the Mbadinuju administration. While the state was grounded, they kept singing Mbadinuju’s praise and showing him another picture until the bubble burst. While Mbadinuju has today been made a political leper, those people are still around with loaded pockets looking for who else to devour. They were kept at bay by the Ngige regime and literally banished from the state by the Obi regime. Both men knew how to handle them and handled them well. But somehow they have succeeded in creeping back now. 

Whereas Obi had the ‘’Okwute’’ appellation added to his name in his second tenure, these people have succeeded in giving Obiano his even before his government took shape. That’s why today we hear about ‘’Akpokue Global’’; not even state. The name came even before he had completed any project. I don’t know if I am talking too much but I have been around in this state long enough to read the writing on the wall and what I see is ominous.

 But I am sure the people I complain about will not see it. If they do, they will pretend it is not real and they may even blacklist me as being too troublesome. But then, I am yet to be proved wrong in my calculations. What the governor must therefore do now is to re-evaluate his team of advisers and weed out those whose advice is not germane to his plans and well-being. Again, I have taken a look at some of those working for him today and what I see is a set of people that are not conversant with the politics of the state. I see people who do not even know their wards in the village and who are not known there too. 

Is it therefore with such people that he can go into the next election? In case some people do not know, the next guber poll in the state will be the hottest and only the fittest will triumph. I know the forces building up now and I know they are not something that anyone can sit in the comfort of their office and dismiss with a wave of the hand. Do that and the consequences will be calamitous. What really should the governor do then? 

One, he should talk to his kinsmen. In case nobody has told him, everybody sees his government as peopled by and controlled by his Aguleri kinsmen. The people of the state do not like this. The governor must therefore look into this and take corrective measures as quickly as he can. Two, the high regime of taxation has turned many so-called commoners against him. 

He may not know about this because he doesn’t live with them. But we that mix with them know. He must therefore go easy on taxations. Three, he must either mend fences with Obi or cease openly attacking him. I know the number of phone calls I received from people from across the state expressing bitterness at what they perceive as the governor’s ingratitude. 

He must therefore heed this advice and take steps at genuine reconciliation or at best stop open attacks as the last one we saw. I believe that if the governor does these three major things quickly and fortifies himself with seasoned politicians ahead of the coming poll, and those not afraid to tell him the truth, he will easily retain his seat in two years’ time. I don’t need to say more than I have said already. Good luck my governor.

Obiano, the Way to Go by Jude Atupulazi Obiano, the Way to Go by Jude Atupulazi Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 30, 2015 Rating: 5

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