17th October, 2013
By Joe Igbokwe
As the 16 November Anambra governorship elections draw near, permutations and calculations about who the winner is likely to be are the order of the day. And as candidates jostle to outsmart one another, one thing continues to worry me: what if the worst candidate picks the coveted crown? What if a nitwit, a clown, a nonentity clinches the exalted position? If that happens, Anambrans will waste four years.
Anambra is one of the richest states in Nigeria. Anambra is the richest state in the Southeast. Anambra State parades many of the big time businessmen and women in Nigeria. Anambra parades the highest class of intellectuals in the Southeast and Southsouth. Anambra State is among the few cash-driven states in Nigeria. Anambra per capita income is one of the highest in the country. Most of the celebrated leaders in the East of the Niger come from Anambra State. In Anambra State, wealth is almost distributed house to house. The economy of Onitsha is bigger than that of some states in Nigeria. Nnewi’s economy is bigger than that of some states in Nigeria. The economy of Awka, Igboukwu, Ekwulobia and Awka axis beats the economy of some states in Nigeria. Anambra businessmen and women alone almost own 40% prime properties in Abuja and Lagos on a conservative estimate. A school of thought says that if Anambra is not good Igboland can never be. Anambra is the strong room of Igboland, the intellectual power house of Igboland and the pride of Igbo nation, and even Nigeria.
This is the more reason why every Igbo son and daughter must have interest in what goes on in Anambra State. This is because what goes on in Anambra directly or indirectly affects what happens in Igboland. Anambra State is therefore critical to what happens in Igboland in terms of development, whether political, social or economic.
As the candidates line up for the 16 November Governorship elections in Anambra, I urge the critical mass in Igboland to rally round to give us the best in the age of success. The question of leadership has become a big issue in Africa and Nigeria. The world cannot understand why Africa will not make a meaningful contribution to the world economic growth given the enormous human and materials in the black continent. Experts have tasked their brains and found out years back that leadership is the problem. The same applies to Nigeria because Nigeria is in Africa. The same applies to Igboland because Igboland is in Nigeria. The same applies to Anambra State because Anambra State is in Igboland.
Of all the candidates wishing to govern Anambra State, I can only see four candidates. Others have no parties to stand on. The four are Dr Chris Ngige, Mr Willie Obiano, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah and Senator Nicholas Ukachukwu. I do not know who Mr. Willie Obiano is. I do know Mr Ifeanyi Ubah but his capacity to govern a complicated and complex state like Anambra is my problem. Without sounding immodest, I think Ifeanyi needs at least ten years to still train himself in matters of governance. For Mr. Nicholas Ukachukwu, I do not know his pedigree except that he lives in Abuja, executes government contracts. I think that the time of experiment has gone in Nigerian political leadership. A friend tells me that what a brand new 504 pick-up cannot carry a 30-year old truck picks it comfortably because of capacity. No serious minded person allows a fake pilot to fly him or her anywhere.
Of the four, Senator Chris Ngige stands out. He has been tried, tested and therefore can be trusted. From antecedents, Senator Ngige knows where he is going. He is dependable. He stands for something. He cares. A friend told me that these are reasons why people will follow and accept you as a leader. I have been learning the art of governance in the past eight years in Lagos and I am still learning. I have found out that governance is no tea party. It takes a great leader to achieve a great thing. You cannot give what you do not have. A great state like Anambra needs a great leader to drive the wheel of progress. Anambra cannot afford to choose a blind man as the leader. Anambra cannot present the crippled as the strongest man or the greatest warrior.
Please here are the ten compelling reasons why Senator Ngige should be the next Governor of Anambra:
1 Dr Chris Ngige is a trained Medical Doctor of almost 40 years
2. He was in the Federal Civil Service for 18 years
3. He has served as a Governor for 3 years and made unprecedented impact under very difficult and dangerous circumstances
4. He is serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
5. He is first President General of Aka Ikenga, an organization of Igbo Intellectuals
6. He liberated Anambra State from despicable Moneybags and notorious godfathers
7. Of all the candidates contesting for the Anambra Governorship Senator Ngige is the most experienced both in politics and governance
8. Ngige is the only candidate that opened the eyes of the people of Anambra State that there is money in government contrary to the picture previous governors painted.
9. Ngige initiated and started the extensive road network we have in Anambra today.
10. Ngige is the boldest, the most courageous, capacity-driven, independent minded, most outspoken, fearless, strong-willed, and firm among the lot.
•Igbokwe wrote from Lagos