Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria: Sunday, 23rd June 2019-Gov William M. Obiano of Anambra State of Nigeria has been reminded that over five years out of his constitutionally allowed maximum term of eight years have gone and only two duty-years are left for him to find his name in the State’s Hall of Fame or join the likes of Mbadinuju as failed ex Governor of Anambra State. This was contained in a statement issued today by Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Intersociety, signed by Chinwe Umeche, Esquire, Head of Democracy & Good Governance, Chidinma Evangaline Udegbunam, Esquire, Head of Publicity and Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chair of the Board.
How Obiano Became Anambra Gov: It is reminded that Governor William Obiano was first elected as Anambra Governor in the November 16 and 30, 2013 staggered governorship poll and was sworn-in on 17th March 2014. His second term election was held on 18th November 2017 and he was sworn-in for on 17th March 2018. As it stands today, Governor Obiano is legally expected to vacate his office by 17th March 2022, after a fresh election into his office must have been conducted by INEC in Nov 2021; a period of less than 30 months or two years and a half from today.
Two Duty-Years Left: By remaining two duty-years, it means the Governor’s remaining two years in office during which he can perform the public governance functions with fewer distractions or outside the grip of exit politics or strategies. From the way things stand presently in the State, Governor William Obiano will likely lose brigades of his political loyalists or followers starting from next gubernatorial electioneering commencing around June 2021.
The Gov’s expected loss of political loyalty will hit its peak after declaration by INEC of the new Governor-Elect for the State in Nov 2021. Once the new Governor is declared returned or elected, Governor Obiano legally becomes “the outgoing Governor”, to be followed by a hurricane of political desertion or defection or shift. Technically, Governor Obiano’s “one non duty-year in office” is expected to commence from the State’s election season, lasting from March 2021 to March 2022.
Addendum: Southeast Govs Must Form Their Cabinets Immediately: Intersociety also wishes to use this opportunity to call on the Governors of Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and Abia States to immediately get their governments and governances running by forwarding the names of their commissioners and special advisers designate to their respective State Assemblies and get them immediately sworn-in and assigned duties.
The Governors and other elected or appointed public office holders in the Southeast part of Eastern Nigeria including Gov William Obiano of Anambra State must also stop seeing their public positions or treating same as “a master-servant or slave” position. Gubernatorial positions are strictly not their private enterprises or properties but a hallowed social contract position tenured to be held in trust for their own people with in-office and out-of-office leadership accountabilities.
What Gov Ihedioha Has Not Done & Must Do: Governor Emeka Ihedioha is again reminded that nearly one month has passed, remaining two months within which he is morally expected to put the Imorites and general Nigerians in the know of how “Rochas Okoroacha under-developed Imo State or in the contrary”. Unless this is done publicly and timely, otherwise, the Governor will bear the consequences that will follow such perceived conspiratorial silence. It must be further stated that our call is strictly aimed at getting the new Governor to start and stand on clean slate as new Imo Gov by letting the public know in black and white exactly what he met on the ground after he took over from former Gov Rochas Okorocha on 29th May 2019.
The Imorites and Nigerians are itching to know: the total amount of State’s local and external debts before Okorocha took over and those borrowed by his Government; total sum of unpaid judgment debts and debts owed to the contractors on projects certified completed; the total unpaid remunerations of the State and LGA serving workforce incurred before the coming of Okorocha Administration and those incurred by his Administration.
Others are: the total amount of unpaid pensions and gratuities of the State and LGA retired workforce incurred before the coming of Okorocha Administration and those incurred by his Administration; the state of key infrastructures before the coming on board of the Okorocha Administration and that left by his Administration as well as how much State funds were generated and spent or squandered or otherwise by the immediate past Administration, from 29th May 2011 to 29th May 2019.
Public Governance At Lowest Ebb Under Obiano: The above having been said, our reminding Governor Obiano of time running or shortness followed continuing “kingly governance” style in the State and falling apart or into pieces of articles of public governance. The Obiano Administration also seems to be beating about the bush and focusing on governance irrelevancies in matters of the public governance in the State.
Our Field Trip Statistics: Returning from our recently commissioned field trips across the State, reports obtained concerning the state of governance in the State are nothing to write home about. The field trips cut across core issues of governance including crooked and violent methods of government and non state actor revenue collection; roadside touting, militancy and extortion; police, military (navy and army) and paramilitary (FRSC) roadblock extortions; deplorable state of the State roads, poor waste disposal and management; gutter and drainage blockages, Government’s undue interference into State markets’ leaderships including indiscriminate imposition of caretaker committees in markets and LGAs, etc.. For want of space, few are highlighted below.
Lynda Ikpeazu Asphalted Onitsha City Roads: In Onitsha North and Onitsha South, for instance, most of the State controlled intercity roads are in acute deplorable state; except the following eight street roads: Umuasale Street, Mbonu Ojike Street, Obosi Street, Bishop Shanahan Street, Mbakwu Street, Shebba Street, Palmer Street and Sir Louis Mbanefo Street (Orange Market in Woliwo Layout). The eight streets were recently paved, guttered (with superb drainage connectivity) and asphalted by Hon Lynda Ikpeazu, member representing the Onitsha South/North Federal Constituency in the House of Reps.
Obiano’s Failed City Roads In Onitsha & Environs: Other than the eight streets mentioned above, many others mostly located in Onitsha South and Odoakpu are a no go area or death trap; likewise those in Awada, Owerre-Aja, Nkpor, Obosi, Ogidi, Ugwuagba, Okpoko, Nkutaku, Iyiowa Layout, Odo-Rubber, Oba, Nnewi, Ihiala, Nsugbe, Nkwelle, Ekwulobia, etc. The Obodo-Ukwu and Ede Roads in Okpoko (Ogbaru) and Mgbemene Street and Nwaziki Avenue in Awada are also a death trap; likewise the Ezeiweka Road and Oraifite Street in Awada which are at the point of total collapse. At Onitsha South LGA, the Bida Road, Amobi Street, Ochanja by Zik’s Avenue, Creek Road, Niger Street and Port Harcourt Road are the worst hit, while most of the street roads around Odoakpu and Woliwo Layout as well as their likes in Nnewi have become acutely impassable.
Also many of the State Trunk B or inter LGA roads have failed or become inaccessible. In Mgbakwu, the ongoing work on the Isuanocha-Mgbakwu Road is not only at snail pace, but also its quality is questionable or nothing to write home about. In the same vein, many Communities in Awka North LGA, near the State Capital City are passing through teething hardship owing to inaccessibility of their road network. The affected Communities include Ebenebe, Ukwuru, Urum, Oba-Ofe-Mmili and Amanuke. Roads leading to those communities are a death trap. These are just to mention but a few.
Obiano’s Blocked Drainages & Waterways: Aside the acutely deplorable state of the State Road Network, our field trip fact finders also reported verifiably that 95% of the State waterways, gutters and drainages across the State particularly in Onitsha and environs are totally blocked; forcing floods off the provided flood channels and hindering them from retiring into their main destinations such as River Niger and its tributaries. The five major water or drainage channels in Onitsha, namely: the Onitsha-Owerri Road mega Gutter, the SAKAMORI Gutter, the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway mega Gutter, the Obodo-Ukwu Road/Okpoko mega Gutter and the Nwangene River mega Gutter (stretching to Silas Work Street) are all blocked or filled up by sand and filth.
The named five major water drainages, originally constructed in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, were constructed to courier waste waters and floods from the cities of Onitsha South and Onitsha North including Fegge and its Housing Estate, Odoakpu, Inland Town/GRA, Woliwo; and Okpoko, Iyiowa Layout, Nkutaku, Layout, Harbour Industrial Layout (all in Ogbaru); Awada, Ugwuagba, Owerre-Aja, Nkpor, Odume, Omagba Phase 1 & 11, Oba (all in Idemmili North); and Nsugbe and Nkwelle (in Oyi LGA), etc and have them discharged into the Oba/Ogbaru swamps, the Iyiowa River, the Nwangene River and the River Niger. But their seasonal blockage has now forced their generated floods and waste waters to divert and flow on the surface of the host Roads; flushing off or damaging their asphalts and in some cases cutting the roads into parts.
Anambra May Lose Scores Of Innocent Souls In Okpoko To 2019 Rainy Season Floods: Signs of flood menace particularly in Okpoko and environs in the just entered rainy season are beginning to manifest. Just last Wednesday, 19th June 2019, goods worth tens of millions of naira were damaged by floods at the Onitsha Bridgehead Market following a heavy down pour the following night. It was found that major gutters linking the Market’s gutters into the River Niger were blocked and filled up by sands and filth.
With the blockage of the Obodo-Ukwu Road and the Okpoko/Nkutaku mega Gutters which discharge floods and waste waters into the River Niger through the Iyiowa River, devastating flood menace around Okpoko; a densely populated suburb, is likely a certainty. No fewer than ten to twenty persons are killed each year in the area owing to drainage blockages and poor waste disposal management; no thanks to the Government of Anambra State and its Ogbaru LGA caretaker committee.
Garbage (Filth) Now In-Charge Under Obiano: The State waste management and general environmental protection are nothing to write home about. Many joints and strategic public places across the State have been taken over by filth. A typical eyesore is the dumping site along Onitsha-Owerri Road or Expressway which has virtually blocked and damaged the left side of the Road. Other public spots overtaken by filth include Obodo-Ukwu Road, Creek and Bida Roads. The rate at which refuse is being disposed or dumped into gutters and drainages across the State is shocking and alarming. These are just to highlight but a few.
Crime Rate Rises To An Apogee Under Obiano: The crime rate in the State particularly as it concerns crimes against persons and properties (i.e. house breakers, burglars, armed robbers, larcenists, snatchers, carjackers, etc) has skyrocketed. Government of the day including its criminally minded appointees have also made the State very difficult for those engaged in trade and commerce; with touts and different types of criminal gangs recruited by the State Government, its criminally minded political appointees, the State ruling party produced lawmakers as well as the Government appointed LGA Caretaker Chairmen, running riot on innocent and defenseless traders and other road users. These are done with reckless abandon using roadside, street side and market/motor park touting and violent extortions.
At the major and service lanes of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway at Upper Iweka and Niger Bridgehead axis, those criminal touts are routinely spotted armed with dangerous weapons and operating unchecked. Their criminal methods include the use of “2by2” planks to smash the side mirrors of long Lorries including trailers and 911 Lorries loaded with goods; going out or coming into the State or any part thereof.
Among the group criminal gangs are militant taskforces drawn from the State Government’s “Road Decongestion”, “Trade & Commerce”, ”Transport”, “Environmental Protection Agency” and others collecting sundry criminal tolls. These are in addition to unchecked gross misconducts of the personnel of the Nigerian Navy stationed at Uga Junction who go with reckless abandon engaging in sundry extortions using recruited criminal civilians; likewise the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force stationed at every strategic nook and cranny of the State particularly Onitsha, Nnewi and their environs, robbing road users from left, right and center.