Obiano Bashers And The Limit Of Social Media Rascality

By Ejike Anyaduba

For some time now the newly formed government of Chief Willie Obiano has come under heavy attack on the social media. The darts persistently hurled, often ricochet off target. But those who pelt the missiles seem determined however unsteady the target.

The latest allegation of corruption and nepotism is captured in a piece entitled: “The looting of Anambra: Governor Obiano takes nepotism to high heavens”, supposedly written by a blogger with assumed names of Fejiro Oliver. The piece has gone viral on the net in much the same way as the Sawyer-imported Ebola disease. But unlike the EVD - before an Adadevoh (the female doctor) has the good fortune to put a lie to the disease's 100% mortality rate - the allegations against the affable and hard-working governor have failed to turn the people against the new administration.

Oliver must be in some frenzy when he wrote his unsubstantiated report, and must have taken his readers for some dumbos. Probably as dumb as the Roman plebeians whom Mark Antony easily instigated into rash actions against his enemies. But this blogger is pretty wrong. His readers are neither the classical Commoners of the Roman order, nor is Obiano government another Gaius Helvius Cinna (Cinna the Poet), the unfortunate victim of the mob's action. In his hurry to do the government in, Oliver who claimed to have sourced his information from the seat of government, wrote that over 120 aides were appointed by the Governor with over 80% of them coming from his home town of Aguleri. The allegation tells either of two things. One is that the blogger wrote out of ignorance. Two, if he did not write out of ignorant he did so out of mischief. Either way he failed to tell the truth.

Before Governor Obiano, previous governments in the state did not do better in making appointments. None of them was any less guilty of the allegations leveled against the Obiano government. If they did not encourage cronyism they concentrated development in their area. Those who failed in both, gratified in others. It is common knowledge in the state that one of the governors gave out choice lands to his people while another allowed his people the control of sensitive positions in government which eventually became his nemesis. This is without prejudice to others who covertly encouraged cronyism and became more indulgent in developing their areas. Except in the appointment of commissioners - which demands equity sharing - other appointments can be tilted in favour of competence. In appointing his brother Robert as US Attorney General, President J.F Kennedy challenged his critics to impugn his competence. This is not to say that cronyism should define governments.

Oliver also wrote that the appointment of alleged over hundred and twenty aides helps to deplete state treasury. The argument is laughable. Apart from the fact that most of the states of the federation do not appoint any less, appointment of aides does not milk any treasury dry. Siphoning money off contracts does. By the way, how much are political appointees paid annually? President Jonathan said this much to members of Face-the-Press when accused of appointing too many people to office. Besides it helps to reduce unemployment as it has multiplier effect on employment. Determined to perceive trouble where none exists, he attempted unnecessary comparison of Obiano's government with that of Obi. No two governments are essentially the same. The two personalities are dissimilar and so should their governments. Only a purblind will see either as a dead ringer for the other.

He made conscious effort to have his report believed by referring to fictitious sources, sometimes in government. The First Lady, Mrs. Ebele Obiano he claimed has about 100 aides, but the woman has little less above 8. He wrote: “This is unlike the former governor, Peter Obi, who insisted that his wife should not hire aides at the state government expense”. That Obi did not encourage his wife to officially operate the office does not make any who does it any less a good governor. In fact, at no point did ex-Governor Obi condemn others who did. It is yet to be accounted for Anambra that its being a state of many firsts is on account of operating or not operating the office of the First Lady.

Alleging duplication of appointments and the condoning of malfeasance from those so appointed is another barefaced lie. To buttress his point he mentioned that a Special Assistant was appointed in Agriculture and a Special Adviser on fish matters. The Assistant, he claimed, was suspended for some wrong doings, but was immediately recalled when it was established that he hails from Aguleri. This infantile effusion can only come from someone who hacks around the net. It is difficult to believe that Obiano, whom he claimed appointed over 80% of Aguleri indigenes, including the Assistant on Agriculture, did not know where this Assistant comes from until he relieved him of his appointment. The only person removed from office so far is the Assistant on land matters. His being from Aguleri did not even save him. The Special Assistant on fish matters, and not Adviser, is from Adazi-Nnukwu.

A survey of appointment of Advisers and Assistance would show that the three zones in the state are duly represented. If, however, there is a tilt in favour of any zone it has not got to the level where this blogger wants to incite the public. The blogger's mischievous claim that Anambra government has been appropriated by Anambra North and given expression as “government of Aguleri people, by Aguleri people and for Aguleri people” is another lie told with a clenched teeth. Omambala people may be exuberant, but not to the point of appropriating the government in such a brazen manner. His claim that party members who helped to enthrone the new government are leaving the party because technocrats were appointed in their stead is also a lie. Cross-carpeting is endemic among politicians.

The decamping of APGA members in the National Assembly is not peculiar to the party. It is also not as a result of unfair treatment of these members by the government. One of those who decamped is now making frantic effort to return. Every politician goes to where they feel their interest is better secured. It is not about Obiano or his government. It is also not about APGA. It may interest this blogger to know there has been a rash of cross –carping in the run-up to 2015. It behoves him to tell us what informed that also. If, indeed, Governor Obiano bribed state Assembly members with houses in the US and bought one for himself, how come one of the beneficiaries, John Olibie, still decamped to PDP? Was he discriminated against? Alleging that a weekly N100 million security votes was “siphoned to private pockets in the name of fighting insecurity” equally sucks. He probably was privy to the siphoning of this money that he wrote unequivocally that Chief Victor Umeh is paid the sum of N40 million monthly. If his story has any chance of credibility, casting aspersion on the impressive effort of the governor in tackling insecurity has put paid to such chance. This blogger knows as much as everybody that security has returned to every nook and crannies of the state and not just Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi as he alleged. His tissue of lies would collapse further when he wrote: “The contracts awarded by him (Obiano) in his 300 days in office, we gathered, are given to his friends and cronies while abandoning the ones appointed by ex-Governor Obi”. Two lies are evident here. One is that Obiano is yet to last up to 300 days in office. Two is that he has not revoked any contract to the benefit of his friends and cronies. Rather in line with his four Cs - Continue, Complete, Commission, and Commence – he has continued with all the projects awarded by his predecessor. Where new contracts are awarded it is usually through the State Tender's Board.

It will be regrettable if this report bruited on the online media and elsewhere is geared towards tarnishing the image of the government and bringing it to disrepute. That is the wrong way to go. Howbeit, the discerning people of Anambra already know the unvarnished truth and shall be content to believe and tell it.

Ejike Anyaduba

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