In less than 70 days, the Anambra electorate shall get the chance to cast the vote which shall provide a new executive leadership for the state for the next four years. After the party primaries, names of candidates for the February 6th gubernatorial contest are now known. What is yet to be declared is which of these candidates symbolize the change which can bring about needed impetus to continued advancement of socioeconomic advancement of the state. From all indications, the platforms of all the political parties in the contest are ideologically the same. The PDP, APGA, AC, APP, PMP, LP etc are just variants of the same political ideological mold. These parties, if one bothers to review their stance on philosophy of governance, for example, are basically indistinguishable from the one another. As we saw during the rather tumultuous primary nomination process, aspirants who lost out in one of these partisan formations simply switched affiliation to any other that would make them their flag bearers. What the Anambra electorate is looking for in the February election, therefore, cannot be the party platform to put at helm of our affairs but instead the candidate who can bring about the needed change in managing affairs of the state.
Many are obviously perturbed by the rising sense of insecurity in Anambra in past several months. Armed robbery and kidnapping have become routine in most parts of former Eastern Nigeria, particularly Anambra state. It would not be surprising that most, if not all, the candidates shall be promising to correct this sorry situation if elected. In like manner, there is no single community in Anambra state that is not being devastated by the negative consequences of uncontrolled storm water and gully erosion. Many of the candidates are also expected to promise to rein in this monstrosity once elected as governor. There are equally confounding problems in construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure, provision of adequate facilities for education and healthcare, reduction of massive unemployment amongst the youths and implementation of imaginative programs for mitigating material poverty and dearth of societal amenities, especially at the grassroots level. Yes, every candidate is expected, sooner or later, to make public promises about their desire to bring El Dorado to Anambra in the next four years if elected to become governor. The average voter is likely to, once more, see the candidates as same because they shall definitely be talking from the same script.
These final two months of the campaign must, therefore, be used to separate apples from oranges so as to enable the electorate to make informed choice at the polls. An uninformed voter is very likely to become swayed by other inducements, such as gifts of cash and rice etc, if he or she cannot see any compelling need for electing any particular candidate as governor. In that case, whoever pays most to the voter upfront gets the vote. To avoid this scenario, the voter must be assisted in sifting through the long list of governorship candidates in order to enable him or her to vote for the one with the best capacity to bring about the required change in the unacceptable status quo. Let’s isolate and review some critical matters which can help to realistically and fairly rate the candidates going forward:
The governor is, first and foremost, the chief executive of the state and therefore, should have the capacity to be a team leader. An effective governor does not only have to possess a vision of what needs to be done but also he or she must have the leadership quality for making all the instruments of government to work seamlessly toward actualization of a determined objective. Based on this premise, an effective governor ought to have the all branches of government namely; the executive, legislative and judiciary arms to work harmoniously toward the accomplishment of goals set for enhancing the wellbeing and welfare of the governed.
An effective governor must be seen to be respectful of the constitutional guidelines that streamline functionality of government. The local government council, which is constitutionally the third tier of governance in Nigeria, must be empowered appropriately to perform its functions without hindrance by the governor or the state bureaucracy. Role of community leadership in delivery of good governance must not be belittled or trivialized since the majority of the citizenry are more in touch with it, on daily basis, than any other level of government.
An effective governor must have a good appreciation of how to mobilize adequate resources to apply toward maintenance of instruments of routine governance, such as civil servants’ salaries etc as well as new capital projects. Unfortunately, most Nigerian states depend almost entirely on the monthly allocations from Abuja for meeting all their needs. Experience has shown that such monthly subventions are hardly adequate for meeting the needs of a state like Anambra. The next governor for the state should, therefore, have credible practical plans for mobilizing additional revenue at the state, local government and community levels which can be applied toward meeting the daily needs of the people.
Transparency in disbursement of public funds is key to retaining confidence of the governed. Arbitrary and spontaneous extra-budgetary spending of public funds in not a prerogative of an effective governor under normal circumstances. This practice is prevalent in Anambra today and change is urgently needed to restore some sanity in how the state’s public funds are deployed.
Beyond just paying monthly salaries for civil service employees, it is the duty of state governor to ensure that any major capital expenditure or undertaking by Anambra government shall result in job creation, especially at grassroots level where unemployment rate is extremely high. Public sector activities are quite substantial in Anambra and the next governor must present a credible plan for harnessing this great potential for job creation.
Environmental degradation and decay exist in all parts of Anambra state. Any expenditure of public funds for environmental remediation projects must, therefore, be accompanied by clear stipulation on how to maximize employment of local labor at all stages of their implementation.
Structural Planning & Development
Anambra state is still very young and therefore, needs to be planned well and carefully. The state now has a structural plan for the main urban centers of Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka. All governorship candidates must present, without waiting to be prompted, their envisaged road maps regarding what they intend to do with the UN HABITAT study report already delivered to Anambra state government. A reasoned meticulous implementation of the available structural plan can result in tens of thousands of new jobs in all echelons of civil society.
Anambra government has documented more than 1000 active gully erosion sites in the state. On the average, this amounts to about five gullies per community. The sad fact is that this number is increasing with each passing rainy season. Our large urban centers of Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka suffer perennial flooding which devastate residential and commercial parts of these cities. City dwellers are still subjected to heavy liquid and solid waste pollution which combine to wreak untold havoc to their health.
The undue emphasis on road construction, without giving required attention to drainage and maintenance regime, is actually complicating the problems facing Anambra today. The change needed, going forward, is not just to continue to deploy the state’s resources on flagging off road projects without first developing guidelines on standards for construction, drainage and maintenance of all land transportation infrastructure, for example.
Anambra state has developed a policy document on flood and erosion control which is currently lying dormant and out of sight. A governor for change must have a clear idea and plan for retrieving and resuscitating this plan for immediate implementation in order to begin to rein in the runaway erosion menace that is terrorizing the entire state. It goes without saying that taking such a bold and overdue step shall generate tens of thousands of jobs in all 177 communities of Anambra state almost immediately.
Anambra is in a very bad shape, as we speak. Some are bothered most by a sense of insecurity while others are irked by the contraction and devastation of our collective living space. What is incontrovertible is that things need to be done differently for these terrifying problems to be brought under control soon. Anambra certainly needs new vision for leadership at the very top.
The February election must, therefore, be all about change for the better. Does the incumbent administration, which is seeking extension of tenure, have any real plans for change? If so, what are they? Do the other candidates see the need for change or have clearly delineated plans for actualizing change in the status quo? If so, let the Anambra electorate be so enlightened now.
It is a great disservice to Ndi Anambra for governorship candidates to unleash their propagandists, whose only limited expertise is obfuscation rather than public enlightenment, on the electorate. There are barely 2 months left before the polls and Ndi Anambra deserve to learn which of the would-be governors actually possesses what it takes to bring about a much needed change for the better after the February 2010 election.
Kano Tribunal Judgment, Slap On Constitutionalism, Rule Of Law -NNPP
The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has described the judgment of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that nullified the election of Governor Abba Kabiru Yusuff as a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law.
In a signed statement made available to newsmen by its acting national chairman, Abba Kawu Ali, the NNPP said its candidate won convincingly in the March 18, 2023, election, which it described as free, credible, and globally acclaimed as a fair election.
He said the pronouncement of the 3-man tribunal is laughable and a pure miscarriage of justice, which is capable of eroding the confidence of the electorate in the judiciary.
He, however, called on the party’s supporters across Nigeria to remain calm as the party will appeal the tribunal’s judgement.
“The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) receives with utter incredulity and disbelief the judgment of the Kano State Election Petition Tribunal on the March 18, 2023, Governorship Election.
“The reported judgement nullified the free, credible, and globally acclaimed fair election of our gubernatorial candidate, Engr. Abba Kabiru Yusuf, and brazenly awarded the election to the APC candidate, Nasiru Gawuna.
“The Tribunal arrived at this unjust judgment by unfairly subtracting 165,663 votes from the governor’s tally to enable it to unfairly award the result to the candidate of the ruling APC.
“In doing so, the tribunal obviously affirms its belief that the vote tally of the APC candidate was sacrosanct.
“The judgment of the 3-man Kano State Governorship Election Petition is laughable and nothing but a pure miscarriage of justice.
“The decision of the Tribunal is a slap in the face of constitutionalism and the rule of law and is capable of further discouraging the electorate from having confidence in the judiciary.
“The NNPP recalls with regret that this Tribunal has simply replayed the unholy script of 2019 by overturning the will of the people and awarding results to those who evidently lost the election.
“The NNPP will appeal this most unfair judgement.
We call on millions of our supporters in Kano and in the rest of the country to remain calm and maintain peace. A lopsided judgment cannot stand on the altar of justice”, he said.
Ondo Assembly Moves To Impeach Dep Gov
Indications emerged on Wednesday, that members of the Ondo State House of Assembly have commenced the process of impeaching the state Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
This is coming following an emergency plenary session summoned by the House of Assembly on Wednesday, with heavy presence of security men at the Assembly gate.
The Tide source gathered that at least 23 lawmakers have already appended their signatures, supporting the impeachment notice against Aiyedatiwa.
A source disclosed that the Deputy Governor is under investigation for alleged gross misuse of office and might be eased out of office through impeachment.
According to the source, trouble started when Aiyedatiwa reportedly approved the sum of N300 million for the purchase of a bulletproof SUV for his personal use.
The source said the approval was allegedly given while the state Governor was recuperating in Germany and it was approved without the knowledge of the governor.
He said the Deputy Governor further complicated matters when he ordered that the N300 million should be sourced from the Palliative fund.
He said “This fund, provided by the Federal government, was intended to support states in addressing the needs of their citizens.”
The source said the impeachment proceedings underscore the Assembly’s commitment to accountability, even at the highest levels of state governance.
Further developments in this case were being awaited as the situation continued to unfold.
Bauchi Tribunal Upholds Gov Mohammed’s Election
The Bauchi State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has upheld the victory of Governor Bala Mohammed in the March 18, 2023 governorship election.
Delivering the judgment on Wednesday, Chairman of the three-man panel of the Tribunal, Justice P.T Kwahar, dismissed the petition of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakr (rtd), who challenged result of the election.
The tribunal held that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of non-compliance with the Electoral Act, electoral irregularities as well as bypass of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (B-VAS) machines in some polling units of Toro, Dass, Zaki, Itas-Gadau, Alkaleri, Bauchi, Tafawa Balewa, Ningi, Dambam and Ganjuwa Local Government Areas.The Tribunal held that there was no tangible evidence to show that the BVAS was truly manipulated.The judge explained that the witnesses brought by the petitioner presented evidence based on hearsay as they were not present at the polling units, “they have failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the APC candidate won the election.”
“This court therefore returns the second respondent as the elected governor of Bauchi state by the first respondent in the conduct of the governorship election of the 18th of March, 2023,” he held.
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