FEATURE ARTICLE


Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Okey Obineke  (EMAIL)
Noord Brabant, The Netherlands


Anambra State set to explode:
Another side of the cube


y immediate reaction on reading Mike Ozulumba's "Anambra State set to explode" was to ignore the piece. I decided on this rejoinder however to put the record straight and to redirect his readers who may not be conversant with the issues he raised. I write because I believe we should avoid the temptation of choosing our own particular fiction and using the past to endorse it like Ozulumba did wittingly or not.

Ozulumba was right when he stated that 'there is tension all over the state' and that it has affected the morale of the people. Subsequent paragraphs in his writing and his conclusion fall within the realm of ' wrong diagnosis, right prescription'. One would have expected Mr. Ozulumba to enlighten his readers better on the real reason for the tension he described, as one who has just returned from a trip to Nigeria and Awka.

The tension he refers to is the direct result of Governor Mbadinuju's misrule, tyranny and lack of vision. Ozulumba's piece clearly depicts the use to which Mbadinuju has put the Bakassi Boys- agents of political violence. When Nnewi traders and later OMATA (Onitsha market amalgamated traders association) acting together with the chairman of Onitsha North LGA, Barr. Chuks Anah invited Bakassi into Onitsha; Dr. Mbadinuju waged a formidable opposition to the boys and refused their coming into Onitsha. When he realized it is not a war he will win, he established a counter force ' Anambra state strike force' which still exists till today. Like the man of many ways that he is, Dr. Mbadinuju turned around months later on the pretence of now supporting Bakassi and 'gradually ' like Fela will say he hijacked this credible non-political vigilante group. The result is what we now see, an instrument for intimidating (and even murdering) his political opponent. Anambra people await the return of the original Bakassi Boys.

Here is a governor who revels in crisis. 'If you oppose me, I will remove you' he once told trade union executives in the state. When he is not fighting one association, and imposing his own executives on them, he is busy dismembering the other group. No group has escaped the wrath of Mbadinuju whether it is the State house of assembly (an extension of the state house where articulate members have been repressed and critics opposed to the Governor suspended from deliberations), Local government Authorities (we still remember his failed attempts to sack the chairmen of Onitsha North, Idemili North and Awka North), Town unions (Awkuzu and Abagana are still fresh) Market unions (the removal of Odife as the president of OMATA), Motor park unions (as seen in the struggle for supremacy between NARTO and NURTW ), professional bodies etc the list is endless. The governor is at loggerhead with virtually all sectors of the economy and these are the people you are supposed to be governing. Did I hear you say that the fear of Dr. Mbadinuju is the beginning of wisdom?

After Dr. Mbadinuju succeeded in foisting his own executives on OMATA who helped him take over Bakassi, he moved into the motor parks and encouraged the newly formed NARTO (National Association of Road Transport Owners) to fight it out with the existing NURTW (National Union of Road Transport Workers). By so doing, he ensured that both groups outbid themselves in making weekly "returns" to him to the tune of millions of naira with the hope of securing the Governor's recognition. By so doing, the Governor elevated the status of motor park unions in Anambra state. It is instructive to note that his junior brother James Mbadinuju, a miscreant who was disrobed and disgraced as a pastor with the Grace of God's mission Onitsha for embezzlement, manages this branch of Mbadinuju's govermenent. Does that sound familiar?

The Governor who claims to be a preacher calling God's name in vain has a ritual cum fetish priest Chief Nkwo Nnabuchi as a ranking member of his Cabinet. The high priest is now the chairman of the Governors own Odera organization (which they claim is a faction of PDP in Anambra state). Birds of the same feather flock together. It is at Nkwo Nnabuchi's shrine in Mgbakwu that top functionaries in Mbadinuju's government go for oat of allegiance to the Governor. There is a devil let loose in Anambra state and this is why there is tension.

At the inception of Dr Mbadinuju's administration and for three months thereafter, Anambra state received a little less than 300 million naira monthly from the federation account. Following the dissolution of Gen. Buhari's PTF and subsequent adjustment in the allocation of federal revenue, Anambra state by the sixth month of Dr. Mbadinuju's administration collected over 700 million naira every month and the figure has not declined since then. For the sake of argument, let us assume that the Governor was going through a learning process in the first six month and so cannot really figure out what he did with our money. What can we say for the other 24 months when Anambra state received over 16.8 billion naira from the federation account? IGR (internally generated revenue) and commercial loans that nobody can account for are not included in the calculation.

The important question to ask is what is Governor Mbadinuju doing with our money? Today, civil servants in the state have not been paid their salary arrears, Secondary school teachers are on strike because Governor Mbadinuju has not paid them for the past five months, Pensioners have not been paid for over twelve months, (thanks to Emeka Offor who at Christmas gave away a bag of rice to each pensioner including some money to go with it). Today in Anambra state, new entrants into secondary school are forced to sell 1000 naira worth of lottery for the government with sixty percent of the proceeds going to Mrs. Nnenne Mbadinuju's our daily bread organization. If you cannot sell, your parents must produce the 1000 naira whether they have it or not. Today in Anambra state, there is no good road worthy of mention, no government organized portable water, no rural electrification, no functioning state owned industries etc. Dr. Mbadinuju claims he is constructing the so-called Oba international market, but the record shows that this is a contractor financed and managed venture. The much advertised Sir Odumegwu Ojukwu industrial complex at Nkwelle Ezunaka is a sand dredging terrain. Our Governor has sold off virtually every available land within the state capital territory at Awka. Onitsha where the Governor had his law office for over fifteen years is in a deplorable state, infrastructure and sanitation wise. Are you aware that in Anambra state, the catch phrase is 'government of Uli man by Uli man for Uli man'. Anambra state university located in Uli (Mbadinuju's village), Anambra state polytechnic is in Uli. By the last count, of the thirty-four political appointees in the state government that went to Ihiala LGA, Uli has twenty-six while the rest of LGA shared six appointments between them. Do you know that all the major contractors and suppliers to the state government are from Uli. Today in Anambra state, you cannot get anything done under the state government's watch unless you come from Uli. This is why there is tension in Anambra state and it is a shared tension.

A wise government can minimize these tensions with measures aimed at improving public works, provision of living education, good health care, portable water, and provision of infrastructure. Not Governor Mbadinuju, he will rather spend millions in billboards dotted all over the state advertising his face. Our people now know better. The issue is corruption, non-performance and tyranny. It is about good governance in Anambra state. Governor Mbadinuju is stealing us blind while daring anyone to challenge him. Mr. Ozulumba, maybe you are conversant with issues around contracts and projects in the state that never saw the light of the day yet money was disbursed for them. For more on how Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju may be 'privatizing' the state's finances despite posturing as an anti-crime advocate read the Source magazine cover story vol. 9 No. 21 September 3, 2001 The looting of Anambra: How Gov. Mbadinuju mismanages the state's finances. The adjoining essay in the same magazine " Mbadinuju: Anambra's Clever Rogue" may instruct you better. The present government in Anambra state is beyond redemption. We must therefore deal radically with the radical problem - that is be organized because there is no force however formidable that a determined people cannot overcome.

Resistance to tyranny is a patriotic act. As has happened before in history, the sadism, delusion and tyranny of leaders have sometimes succumbed to the superior moral strength, passion and conscience of those heroes who carried all before them in the advance to higher truth. We must thank God for Sir Emeka Offor - the arrowhead of opposition against Dr Mbadinuju's misrule. This man deserves our support and encouragement not condemnation. We must salute the courage of people like Senator Mike Ajaegbo whose Minaj radio and television have made it possible for the good people of the state to know the truth. Senator Nnamdi Eriobuna whose efforts and sweat brought rural electrification to his constituents, Hon. Minister Dan Chuke, Hon. Minister A.B.C Nwosu,, Representatives F.C Okeke, Jerry Ugokwe, Obiajulu Anosike, Celestine Ughanze, Chudi Offodile, Prince Nick Mbaezue, Group Capt. Nnoruka, Chief Annie Okonkwo, Joy Emodi, Chief Martin Igbokwe, numerous LGA chairmen, members of the state house of Assembly and others too numerous for individual mention. We salute your efforts and courage in organizing against Dr. Mbadinuju's misrule.

The point in making is that this is not an Emeka Offor fight. One may have the best intentions like Emeka Offor yet end up with rocks in his Halloween bag. It is a fight for good governance, a fight for the liberation of the good people of Anambra state from tyranny and sadism that Mbadinuju has unabashedly unleashed on them. I am not a lover of fiction (for that is what Mike Ozulumba's piece is) that not only wastes our emotion but also jaundices our feeling in the sight of real events. The best historians notes Mokwugo Okoye " are not those who have withdrawn to a perch above the heat and passion of life, but those who mixed and mingled in the fray of duty that life entails"

Prof. Wole Soyinka reminded us that the man dies who keeps silent in the face of tyranny. The struggle must go on until the likes of Mbadinuju are banished from government. We must not stop or falter because of an earlier mistake. Dr Mbadinuju was given a second chance to prove himself irrespective of his record in 1979 / 80 when he through embezzlement single handedly liquidated the Daily Star group of papers as the general manager before he was sacked by the then Gov. Jim Nwobodo. If it smells from the beginning, it is probably rotten inside. This is our governor's balance sheet. Dr Mbadinuju came to the people of Anambra state with his bible little did they know that he is actually an incorrigible rogue masquerading as a preacher.

We can no longer sit down and pretend that all is well while thugs are at the helm of affairs in the state.. This is the reason for tension and it will not stop until good men come to power. When we find ourselves in another circle of mistake because we elected bad men to power, the resistance will start all over again al a Philipines. We shall no longer wait for 'one day' because today is one day and charity begins at home. These "Igbo leaders and charlatans of today" must be discarded today not tomorrow. Indeed, where is Ukpabi Asika and his 'nattering nabobs of negativism'. To some generations, much is given, of others much is expected. This generation is wild awake and are willing and able to resist tyranny and sadism exhibited by the likes of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju. This is why there is tension in Anambra state.