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Obiano is still the best Hope for Anambra

By The Citizen
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As Anambrarians prepare to cast their votes this Saturday, it may be important to seek God's guidance on this weighty decision. This is necessary because if there is anything that South Eastern Nigeria needs very urgentlytoday, it is the touch of a true leader who will set the ethical and moral tone for the people.

It is often the case that when Nigerians criticise their leaders, they attack them for virtually every ill in the society, yet when it is time to select our leaders, we use a different set of criteria. Hardly do Nigerians consider their prospective leaders from the point of view of ethics or morality or good social standing. We often talk in terms of structures, the size of war chest and experience which in most cases is usually narrowed to political experience. But Anambra can and should be different for so many reasons.

Anambra State prides herself as the light of the nation and the pride of the entire Igbo race. This is not an empty claim. God has blessed Anambra with some of the most gifted people among the black race. It is quite gratifying to note that under the APGA leadership of Governor Peter Obi, Anambra has crossed the Jordan! She will not return to Egypt! It would be nothing less than tragic if Anambra State is allowed to slide back into the hands of the forces that held her down from 2003 - 2006. Tufiakwa!

Quite frankly, Anambra has come to the crossroads that vividly calls to mind the Biblical change of baton from Moses to Aaron. Anambra needs an Aaron with the oil of the new anointing to lead her to the Promised Land. Chief Willie Obiano's entry into the race for the governorship of Anambra State evokes memories of the Biblical Aaron. In the last six years, Anambra has come within a sighting distance of her destination. What is needed now is a visionary and trust-worthy man that will guide her to her destination.

Since he emerged as APGA's gubernatorial candidate in the coming election, Chief Willie Obiano has carried himself well as the man who can take Ndi Anambra to the land of promise. In his speeches and body language, we have seen a man whom God has prepared to lead his people. We have seen him reach out and forge a remarkable friendship with all the people he contested the party primaries with and win them over to his side. Today, APGA has become one huge happy family where there is no bitterness. We saw this at the recent flag-off of the party's campaign at the All Saints field in Onitsha where all the former gubernatorial aspirants showed up on the stage to declare their support for Obiano and the party.

It is a testament to Obiano's networking and consensus building ability that within a short period of time, he was able to reach out to all his fellow contestants and not only make peace with them but rally them together under one umbrella of brotherhood. Obiano is a firm believer that everyone is a winner in politics and that family wounds must heal fast enough before they become infected by the gangrene of mistrust and hatred. Indeed, Obiano is acting the part of a conscientious leader and earning the trust and confidence of Ndi Anambra just as he did in all the great places he has worked when he was in active service.

This is probably why it is easy to see that Willie Obiano is the most outstanding candidate among all the contestants running for the governorship of Anambra State and the most richly deserving of the confidence of the electorate.

Obiano is also ahead of his rivals in all respects including wealth of experience and philanthropy as well as sense of community. Obiano's career odyssey offers a fascinating overview. From a humble beginning at First Bank, Obiano made a giant leap to Texaco Plc where he had a meteoric rise to the position of the Chief Internal Auditor with supervisory powers stretching beyond Nigeria. He worked for 23 years in Fidelity Bank, nine of which he spent at the very top as the Executive Director in charge of Business Banking and the Deputy Managing Director. Obiano's profile cannot be matched by his rivals, most of who are either illiterate or chronic debtors or people who are quick to rationalize or justify any injustice done against his people. He has extensive contacts and connections across the world including the contacts of the world's leading decision makers and the people who run the global financial system. These contacts will prove invaluable when we vote him in as the next governor of Anambra State.

In fact, unlike some of his rivals whose only claim to fame is that they have ruled Anambra State before through the backdoor, Obiano is a grassroots man; famous in Aguleri and the entire Otuocha area for his philanthropy. He is a man of the people whose profound love for his people has long been rewarded with the chieftaincy title of Akpokuedike Aguleri. He is also a man of God who has been repeatedly honoured as a Pillar of the Church. Obiano runs an open door policy which makes him accessible to virtually anyone that needs his generosity, his personal advice or his professional guidance on issues that make our lives worth the trouble of living.

Evidence of Obiano's popularity and fulsome acceptance by the people was on display at the recent rally in Onitsha where he grew up. It had all the trappings of a carnival as whole neighbourhoods emptied out onto the streets to receive their illustrious son. There were chants of welcome and open demonstrations of ownership that could only have been earned through years of programmed philanthropy and social investing.

What is currently unsettling Obiano's opponents is the spate of endorsements form critical segments of the society that has trailed his candidacy in recent times. Rising from a meeting of all its leaders in the 21 local government areas of the state, the Anambra chapter of Ohaneze, the apex socio-cultural group of Ndigbo handed him their endorsement. Before them, the traditional rulers in Dunukofia kingdom had endorsed him. Last Tuesday, the Anambra Women Organization, a group of 158,000 influential women in the state also endorsed him in a colourful ceremony in Ezinifite. That endorsement was quickly followed by the biggest of all the endorsements, the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers. The royal fathers made up of traditional rulers in the state unanimously adopted Chief Obiano on Tuesday as the candidate for Ndi Anambra to vote for in the Saturday election. Speaking on behalf of the Council the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe declared that after examining all the candidates, they came to the conclusion that Chief Obiano was the most qualified candidate and has the best credentials to succeed Governor Peter Obi.

With all these endorsements pouring in, it is obvious which direction the pendulum is bound to swing on Saturday.

Nweze, a Public Relations consultant writes from Awka