The use of propaganda appears to be an accepted tool of governance; it however becomes foul when government publishes information riddled with pure lies. Mr Peter Obi, the Governor of Anambra State embraces every opportunity to celebrate his government for amongst other government magic [apologies to Fela], constructing hundreds kilometres of roads and being “the least indebted state”. In this essay, I wish to expose as a cheap falsification, Mr Obi’s claims to being a “performing Governor” and similar self-glorifying hypocrisy.
A document titled “ANAMBRA STATE-OVER 500KMS OF ROADS ASPHALTED”, courtesy of “Federal Government Assessment Team/COREN” contains a list of roads purportedly constructed by the Anambra State Government under Peter Obi. The same document boasts that Anambra State has the best road network in Nigeria; the list will naturally seduce anybody into singing the Governor’s praises because it gives the impression that all the roads in the State will shame the highways of Abuja City. As an Anambra indigene, I was cautiously excited by this document until I saw contained in this spurious list, roads allegedly constructed in my home town, Amawbia [Ugbo Ogiliga]. My excitement would have peaked when I saw in the list of roads constructed by Mr Obi’s government, St. Peters-Ugwu Tank Amawbia, Ugwu Tank-Amawbia-Nise By-Pass- except that I knew for sure that no such project was ever undertaken by the Government of Anambra State.
It is a known fact that we are living in a period in time where very little can come in the way of serious projects, especially when quality individuals are entrusted with such tasks. So, to give the Government of Mr Obi the much needed benefit of the doubt, to ascertain the truthfulness or otherwise of the claims contained in this apparently over-bloated document, I called friends in Amawbia-no such project was ever carried out there! The roads remain in the same state we have known them-not tarred; it might interest those that care to know that the Governor of Anambra State has his official residence in Amawbia.
According to this same official document, the road allegedly “asphalted” in my home town that hosts the Governor of Anambra State was constructed under Lot 9, Awka Township Roads. The contract was supposedly awarded to a charlatan firm, Master Holdings Nig Ltd to the tune of N1,041,352,103.13 [please, I’m really scared to put this figures into words], and to be completed in 24 weeks [from February, 2008]. Still quoting the same document, the roads were designed by Engr. Francis Nnebe and co, and the consultants were Bossman and Bossman Engineers. Having identified the rather too wicked lies contained in this document, one would have stoutly scoffed and walked away, except that the Peter Obi administration prances about with claims of having used our money judiciously in constructing beautiful roads in Anambra State. I am sure that many like me would love to hear more on this from the present government of Anambra State especially on how Mr Obi came about the claimed 500 kilometres of asphalted roads and the contract sums expended.
This brings me to the crux of the matter-the ease with which otherwise decent men and women in government churn out lies and claims known to be false. In an earlier essay, I pointed out with examples the viciousness and outright deceit that is Mr Obi’s claims to improving education in Anambra State. Of course, I used the secondary school I attended, Boys’ High School, Amawbia and Girls’ Secondary School, Amawbia as classic examples-two schools that seems to have been doomed for being in the same town with the Governor’s official residence. Just like so many schools in Anambra State, these schools continue to tell a candid but sad story of all that is wrong with Nigeria; a scenario where government systematically stifles education while insulting us with sickening and obscene amount of our money spent in “improving education”. We wonder why youngsters sneer at education while exploring every evil way to live large while we fail to raise alarm at government ineptitude.
I have used the spurious claims and wicked neglect of my home town to expose the hot air that is Mr Obi’s government and will encourage people from other parts of the state to tell us what the government is doing in their area. I have been targeted by faceless human beings whose major pre-occupation remains the celebration of impunity by government-emails accusing me of being “anti-Igbo” find their way into my inbox. Though I never cease to cash in on the satire of both the emails and the stunted world-view of the senders, I equally get depressed. I get depressed at the dearth of awareness amongst our people, I get depressed when I see the speedy growth of a decline in government commitment to the course of governance, I get depressed when I see a culture of government wickedness and ineptitude being covered by men and women who for some reason have chosen to keep quiet while evil thrives.
This is really ridiculous, it is outrageously unbelievable, and a tragic-comedy that looks more like a car crash in slow motion. While the government of Anambra State under Mr Obi continues to celebrate non-existent “asphalted” roads, being the least indebted State, sinking of boreholes, donating computer sets to schools in the State, etc., the fact remains that Anambra remains one place where life is short and brutish! This may well sound like a hyperbole except that Health workers in Anambra State have been on strike for about eight months now, there is no functional water scheme anywhere in the State, and most importantly, armed robbery and kidnapping has brought the commercial town of Nnewi to its knees. And without any trace of humility, without any modicum of shame and contrition, without any desire to empathize with the traumatised Ndi Anambra, the government of Anambra State rolled out the drums to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the creation of Anambra State.
Of course, the government of Mr Obi continues to regale us with tales of how the Governor went about town selling kerosene to the long-suffering indigenes of the State. I assume that it is only a people already dead to the vicious pangs of hunger and government neglect that would not retch at this apparent insult-Mr Obi and his handlers should really be ashamed. A situation whereby the government fails live up to the expectations of those that voted it into power calls for some serious sober reflection.
Anambra State under the present government is being sustained by spin of a very curious nature; our people appear to have erected a strong pillar of disdain and a nonchalant disposition as a way of tolerating government impunity. What else could make a people to keep quiet when a government supposedly elected by them fail to pay civil servants for up to eight months? What else could make a people to resort to self-help when government hospitals are shut for months because workers are on strike? How could a people of a state gloat about being happy when there is no functional water scheme in any part of that state? Kidnappers and armed robbers having a field day when the Governor who is the Chief Security Officer of the State trousers millions of Naira monthly as “Security Vote”, this is really absurd and a horrifying situation to comprehend.
I am particularly incensed by Mr Obi’s wanton display of a mind frame that fails to contend with the fact that the affairs of government would be superbly savoured when the citizenry feel the good effects of government work. Courting the services of dodgy characters and notorious charlatans to spew forth lies to gloss over government failures would never impress serious folks. Governor Peter Obi remains the Governor of my State and I would always call on him to correct the numerous ills militating against the attainment of a robust Anambra State. it would be evil of me to keep quiet when government lies about constructing roads in my home town and other towns, it would amount to a great disservice to those that look up to people like me to keep quiet when the school I attended and other schools in the state are left to decay.
Talking about schools in Anambra State, it would be nice for Mr Obi to tell us why he failed to enrol his children into public schools in the State as he promised during his campaign. This to me could well be said to be the height of insincerity on the Governor’s part-he raised so much dust about the decay of schools in the state and swore to restore education in Anambra to its past glory, and his children educated in the public school system. Whither those promise? As a proud Anambra citizen, I will continue to commend the Governor when there is need for such. I will also remain steadfast in my calls for a sincere government in my state. It would be nice for the Governor to come out openly and tell us what happened to the roads mentioned in this essay and what happened to our money allegedly spent. For now, I insist that the Peter Obi government did not clear any bush path in Amawbia.