From Chuks Collins, Awka
Still deeply enmeshed in the multifaceted crisis arising from his bitter anger and summary suspension of nearly ten percent of all the traditional rulers in the state for visiting and identifying with Prince Engr Arthur Eze, who publicly swore to pull all tabs at his disposal to get Gov Willie Obiano on a right track and also account for monies embezzled/mismanaged under his administration, particularly Council funds, the governor has apparently added new dimension to the rofo-rofo fight.
Barely 24 hours after some very strategically located billboards which captured the numerous achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in Anambra State was mounted, they were all pulled down. The message on the billboard had thanked the president for all the efforts in carrying the state along in his administration’s scheme of things. Though more were expected.
It was initially thought to be the handwork of some intolerant politically motivated thugs. But on investigation, the sponsors of the billboard -the Anambra G21 Vanguard, a duly registered non-governmental organization (NGO) that stands for good governance, sadly discovered it was the Anambra state government that angrily tore, dismantled and pulled it down in a matter of few hours after they were hoisted at the popular UNIZIK junction of Awka, at the foot of the pedestrian bridge among other locations in parts of the state, including Onitsha, Nnewi, Nkpor, Ekwulobia and Agulu.
Irked by the ugly unexpected development, the promoters and sponsors of the multi-million Naira billboards -the Anambra G21 Vanguard further discovered that the administration of Gov Obiano had expressed bitterness over the message on the billboard. The administration had in a sharp reaction described it as “offensive and political”.
Besides enumerating most of the key achievements of President Buhari in the state, the billboard’s messages also included the pictures of President Buhari on one side, and that of Prince (Engr) Arthur Eze, popularly called Ozoigbo Ndu(the liberator of his people) on the opposite side. This was tagged offensive by the state government hence instantly pulled down all over the state!
But when confronted by stakeholders of Anambra G21 Vanguard, the chief executive of the Anambra State Signage and Advertising Agency(ANSAA), Chief Jude Emecheta confirmed the feelings of the state government over the billboard.
He however threw another dimension into the crisis when he alleged that Esmic Advert agency, the owners of the billboard stand were behind in its statutory operational fees to the state government.
Curiously, other billboards pulled down alongside President Buhari’s achievements billboards owned even by the same advert agency have all been restored except PMB’s billboards.
The ANSAA chief executive was reminded that the Buhari/Arthur Eze “thank you” billboard was sponsored by a duly registered NGO (Cert ref CAC/IT/151206) who has no political bias or inclination other than the promotion of good works and promotion of public good. That the group had put up similar billboards and similar acts of encouraging good governance/works, responsive interventions and projects that promote quality of life of citizens in different parts of Nigeria and beyond, irrespective of whether it was by government or any of its arm, local or international groups, an individual, community or even a corporate institution, etc.
Emecheta was also told that Anambra G21 Vanguard is a dedicated and determined NGO made up of broad spectrum citizens especially professionals drawn from all walks of life from across the nation to promote good governance, public good/welfare/security, etc. That it was in pursuit of those cardinal points that it rose up to the occasion to appreciate President Buhari’s administration for taking up strategic life-enhancing programmes/projects that previous administrations had only played politics with.
G21 Vanguard therefor frowned at the very despicable manner in which highly placed individuals and even states’ officials do downplay the achievements of Buhari, and also mudsling, physically/verbally/emotionally attack anyone who chose to be different. Just like the Anambra G21 Vanguard members who have been verbally and emotionally assaulted and threatened in multiple ways by agents of the Anambra state government for having the temerity to publicize the numerous achievements of President Buhari in the state for the people to appreciate.
For the avoidance of doubt, these life transforming projects being talked about included:
– Onitsha Seaport:
This is a project that has remained very close to the hearts and minds of virtually all South Easterners, South South citizens and indeed all Nigerians for decades. While past Federal and State governments had played rhetorical politics and paid mere lip service to its realization, it’s only the Buhari administration that has actually initiated realistic efforts toward the project. It was such that containers arrived the Onitsha port for the first time in 42 years early this year, after it was commissioned by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Chief George Moghalu.