‘It’s time to do away with godfathers in Anambra State guber politics’
As the governorship election is set to be conducted in Anambra State next Saturday, one of the candidates in the exercise, Osita Chidoka, presents his manifestoes with a warning that the electorate must put a stop to the destructive godfather politics that the state is notorious for.
Since 1999, when the current democratic dispensation commenced in Nigeria, Anambra State has created for itself, an unenviable reputation of a space dominated by political godfathers who are not the least concerned about delivering dividends of democracy to the people, but only about how to reduce the state to their personal estates.
In the course of their selfish take-over of Anambra commonwealth, many blood-cuddling revelations have been made about how nothing is left to chance in their desire to reduce governance to pure merchandise in a state populated by the highest number of statesmen in its part of the country. In one instance that targeted the heart of the country’s democracy, a sitting governor was abducted when his relationship with his godfather turned sour.
While the imprints of the godfathers can be seen in the state’s politics especially in the countdown to next Saturday in estranged relationship with godsons and godfathers bankrolling the campaigns of their anointed, one of the leading candidates, Osita Chidoka, has called on the people to elect a governor who carry no political burden of an overbearing godfather that would, after election, be seeking rent payment.
Chidoka, a former Minister of Aviation and candidate of the United Progressives Party (UPP), while presenting his manifestoes, said it is time that Anambra breaks away from the politics of godfathers “that has persistently kept the state from witnessing expected growth and development,” and tap into the abundant human and material resources of the state to uplift the people.
According to him, “In this election, we have the opportunity to elect a governor who has not been bought by any godfather or interest group, rather a governor who will represent the views of the people, address their fears, and speak to their hopes.”
Speaking about his expectations on Saturday, the UPP candidate said it is important that the electorate choose right stressing, “The election would provide a great opportunity for the citizens to choose the future and what they want for Anambra and Ndi Igbo in general. We must choose if we want an Anambra that will join the modern age and whose people can easily connect to the new global economy through the Internet and whose schools consistently surpass the minimum standards in the West Africa region.”
To him, the state deserves better than what it is currently getting from the present set of leaders, adding, “we must choose if we want an Anambra where the cities are livable places, a state that ensures ‘na onye obuna ritere uru na ihe otinyere na ala’. We must choose if we want an Anambra that has invested in its most valuable resource: its human capital; one that has created an industrial base that makes it possible for its young people to be employed and economically active.”
On how he plans to achieve his aims and objectives, which include robust legal and regulatory framework to strengthen institutions, collection and analyses of Baseline Data Citizen’s Identification Programme, Digitization of Records Resident Identity Card, openness and transparency, performance evaluation and monitoring among others, the UPP candidate said, “In any atmosphere or clime where the larger interest of the people is placed above individual and selfish purpose the society will definitely grow.”
According to him, “Ndi Igbo originated in a region with fragile and generally infertile land, yet today we are the vanguards of education and public service in Nigeria. This uncommon feat was achieved by dint of hard work and the values of intellect, enterprise and values, which our administration hopes and is determined to uphold if elected.”
Chidoka pledged to operate on the principle of equity for all, saying, “We will employ this principle of merit, equity, and fairness in all political appointments and promotions across the state’s civil service, and also in the allocation of resources for development. There shall be no dichotomy against any Igbo, indeed, against any person who chooses to be resident in Anambra.”
He also gave assurance of bringing morality into governance with the aim of grooming a generation of Ndi Anambra who are steeped in the sound morals of diligent honest pursuit, enterprise, and growth with no shortcuts, adding, “we will build a society that upholds social justice, fairness, and equity to guarantee economic opportunities for all and most importantly, there is the need to pay adequate attention to our future, one of the factors that have kept dragging, not only Anambra backwards but the country in general.
“Our claim on the future depends on our ability to make investments that will harness and unlock our ICT potential. Our aspirations should inspire the next generation and provide them with transcend the existential meaning of Nigeria. A meaning that geography, natural resources and ethnicity.”He also expressed worry over persistent drop in the standard of education across the country with a promise that if elected as governor, “Our administration’s covenant is to transform Anambra State into a knowledge hub in the West Africa sub-region and to transform the state into a destination for quality education.
“We will achieve this goal by conducting a baseline study of all public and private schools in the state from kindergarten to tertiary institutions; set up an Education Reform Team (ERT) to source and obtain all necessary information, records, reviews and reports on education in the state and benchmark with global best practices; review and revamp our education curriculum to align with the best international standards; re-certify schools for foundation and A’ Level preparation of students wishing to study abroad in TOEFL, GMAT etc. and prepare Anambra students and graduates for the future.”
He added that the recertification will not lead to over-regulation but “to ensure an across board increase in our education standard; institute an annual school certification programme and introduce compulsory state-wide testing of students and ranking of schools, introduce special schools and sport academy that will train students in sports, technical skills, and entrepreneurship, and most importantly, to review salaries and other benefits accruable to teachers, education administrators, and other workers in the sector.”
His vision does not exclude a comprehensive healthcare package, when he said, “good health, being one of the cardinal necessities for the growth and development of any organised nation or state would be given unwavering attention. Our government covenants to provide quality, safe, accessible and affordable healthcare services and to also make the state a destination for medical tourism.
“This we plan to achieve through the execution of the following key initiatives; conduct a baseline assessment of medical facilities in all the public and private hospitals and healthcare centres; set up a Healthcare Reform Team (HRT) made up of stakeholders to source and obtain all necessary information, records, reviews and reports on healthcare delivery in Anambra State and benchmark with other states within and outside the country.
“We will also conduct a quality audit of the services rendered by medical institutions in the state with the view to standardize and create uniformity in healthcare services, create a state-wide medical patients and diseases database, partner with the World Bank, development partners and the private sector to upgrade healthcare infrastructures with modern facilities and access to NAFDAC-certified medications, certified traditional birth attendees (midwives) to improve their services and create free and compulsory immunization for all children in the state.”
The UPP candidate disclosed other programmes he has in plan for healthcare delivery to include “creating a free healthcare programme for the vulnerable (children 0–7 years and the elderly 75 years and above) to reduce infant and maternal mortality and create an ambulatory/ emergency pick-up systems equipped with First Aid Services and linked to the healthcare centres around the state.”
And to achieve all these, the UPP candidate said his administration would focus on a viable public service and build “a world-class public service that delivers on its mandate and ranked among the top three best performing public services in the country.”He observed that the greatest challenges facing most states in the country currently in terms of economy is the over dependence on the Federal Government’s monthly allocation, an attitude he wishes to change as soon as he becomes governor by making Anambra a self-sufficient territory and to systematically wean it of its dependency on monthly federal allocation by encouraging prompt remittances and self- assessment of taxes by individuals, businesses and organizations.
Other aspects he wishes to tackle and improve on are transportation, trade and commerce to create a logistic hub and improve security of lives and property through a robust security and criminal justice system by ensuring confidence in the system.
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