Anambra State Governorship Election: Shenanigans, Ramblings and Pandemonium
The Law of Thermodynamics delineates the principles of entropy which postulates that disorder has substantial affinity for spontaneous nature. By this it means that disorder is always taken the upper hand and this is exactly how to explain the circumstances of the forthcoming February governorship election in Anambra State, Nigeria. Disorder and bedlam are at home in Anambra State because nothing is being organized for February governorship election. The voters are not fully aware of their polling stations and voters are being frightened by the braggadocios hooligans employed by the politicians. Nobody not even the law enforcement officers are equipped and ready to confront lawlessness and intimidation at voting polls on the day of the election. The gubernatorial aspirants are busy with their chaotic campaigns making empty promises they have not fully thought about; they are not even willing to share with the citizens of the state how they can go about accomplishing the targeted goals and promises.
The thoughtful incumbent governor Peter Obi is promising to transform the city of Onitsha to an ultra modern cosmopolitan city. It is something of a joy to hear that the long neglected Onitsha overflowing with potholes teeming with mosquitoes and debris will be made a priority and the historical Onitsha transformed. But how come the governor has been living with the deteriorated Onitsha for the past 4 years of his tenure. Governor Obi just began to discover the significance of restoring Onitsha to its old glory during his campaign for reelection. This is not to cast a doubt on the promise but remind the governor that we the people of Anambra State have been concerned about the quality of life in Onitsha. We are tired of promises and lethargy, we want action not words.
Even the erudite Professor Soludo has promised to fashion out Dubai from Anambra State. We are all glad to hear that our beloved Anambra State will have 24 hours electricity like Dubai. A rich economy with the streets smoothly paved together with first class healthcare and educational facilities. This is not being cynical, but where are the plans and strategies to achieve such a tall order?
Just like the rest of the candidates the charismatic Ngige probably must have made his own promises. The former governor Ngige has a history of credibility just like Governor Obi and Professor Soludo. But we expect these gentlemen to level with us and look into our eyes without blinking and tell us what they can do without mincing words. They must be pragmatic, realistic and most importantly be dedicated with every allegiance to the people of the state. Our brothers and sisters running for governorship should be candid with us because the people of Anambra have suffered enough in the hands of poor leadership.
Professor Chinua Achebe comprehended the issue of poor leadership in Nigeria and indeed Anambra State when he wrote: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership, There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”
One can also argue that the people has a role as a corrective agent therefore the burden of the failure of leadership can be shared (maybe not equally) with the populace whose inaction can be tacit as acquiescence.
Anambra State needs a new leadership that will be in anchor with people and understands the suffering of the masses and willing to change the lives of the people for better. The people can support a leader who is willing to work with them, not a leader that exploits the masses and take them for granted. There is so much work to be done in the state: the government schools and hospitals are ill-equipped, erosion is claiming the remaining land for growing food in the state. The issue of safety is paramount: armed robbery and kidnapping enterprise have deteriorated the quality of life in the state. The government inability to protect life and property is a failure of leadership. A governor who is creative and pragmatic is what the state needs. Anambra people need a productive leader not just another empty mind.
The candidates have to tell us the plans they have to tackle the issue of erosion that is reclaiming a sizeable land space in the state. The erosion gullies have the potential of claiming about two third of Anambra state in the next ten years and this development desperately seeks immediate attention and long term strategy to stop the encroachment. The perennial risk with erosion gully is its irreversible 'personality' and propensity: Once it took hold, it becomes a losing battle to reverse the landslides and the degradation.
There must be short and long term strategies to trounce erosion gullies, a blueprint strategy with comprehensive standard operation procedure. The idea is to put a stop to the progressive ecological disaster at the moment, while laying down the road map to the total arrest of future occurrences of erosion gullies. Nature can be dominated and the forces of nature channel to more affirmative usage and consumption, therefore with a circling strategy we can stop the disaster and fabricate the bulwark to deter the raging force of erosion. Sowing grasses and planting tresses can be beneficial in controlling the damages of erosion.
At the dawn of 21st century Anambra State do not have modern sewage and wastewater treatment plant. The best management practice for solid waste collection and disposal is crude and primitive. The inhabitants relied on dug water wells (boreholes) for daily water consumption. The boreholes are ubiquitous and there are possibilities that these wells are exposed to earth's natural occurring hazardous metals (heavy metals e.g. Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury etc). The digging and tilling of the soil surface for the water wells can enhance the soil porosity, therefore triggering further soil erosion and gullies.
T.S. Eliot's Wasteland captures the ugliness, depravity and the lacking in Anambra state, if not in Nigeria, when he wrote the below verses:
Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water
Anambra State needs and deserves a governor and leadership that will transform the wasteland of poverty, ignorance and corruption into a stable and fulfilling society. The election in next few days will become a barometer to measure the future, vision and well being of Anambra State. Any mistake this time, history will judge us without mercy and compassion.
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.