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Obiano…Matters Arising

The November 18 gubernatorial poll in Anambra State may have been over and done with, but its echo hasn't died down. Now is the time for post mortem, dissection and all manner of analyses. Now is what we call the morning after. As all the afore-stated things keep going on, one remarkable thing happened within the week. It was the statement credited to Gov Willie Obiano in which he warned members of his cabinet to sit up or face the boot. It was a statement that gladdened my heart.
It was captioned, ''A NEW ORDER BEGINS IN ANAMBRA STATE SERVICE - GOV. WILLIE OBIANO''.
The story which was signed by Prince Oliver Okpala, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Strategic Communications, went like this: '' 'Any Commissioner, Special Adviser or civil servant involved in any act of fraud or corruption in Anambra State will automatically  be dismissed from the work force.
'' 'Equally, any government official found to be involved in any shady deal aimed at corrupt enrichment or diversion of public funds will be shown the way out of the Anambra State Government'.
''These stern warnings were handed down to Commissioners and other top government officials by the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, at a meeting in Awka, the state capital.
''The Governor warned that with his re- election for a second term, governance would not be as usual.
''He said that there must be a sense of commitment and seriousness in all public servants in the state who want to be part of the new revolution that will be introduced in the state to serve the people of the state better.
''The Governor disclosed that there will be checks and balances in every aspect of government business now and that all loopholes must be completely plugged to checkmate the activities of those who have in the past been sabotaging the efforts of the government to give qualitative service to the people of Anambra State.   
''He promised that during his second term in office things must change and be done within the ambit of the rules and regulations guiding government business and the civil service.   
''Governor Obiano advised anyone who felt that he or she cannot cope with the new order to be introduced to kindly take a bow or be forced out of service.  
''To demonstrate his determination to instil a new order into the public service the Governor personally scrutinised and vetted every proposal brought forward for approval by the state tenders board.   
''In his words, 'There is no room for any corrupt individual in my government; probity and accountability must be ensured henceforth in every government transaction.'    
''As it stands now that the distraction of elections are over, the Governor is very prepared to give Ndi Anambra the best system of governance and abundant provision of Democratic dividends in all the nooks and crannies of the state during his second term .  
''Governor Obiano gave assurance that he will not let Anambra State the electorate down, having reposed confidence in him by voting massively for him in the just concluded governorship election.  
''He expressed joy and happiness over the unflinching support given to him during his first tenure by members of the state executive council. The Governor however promised that at the end of his second tenure, Anambra State would have become another Dubai in Nigeria and Africa.''
Well, having gone through the write up on Obiano's riot act to his appointees, I won't want to be bothered by his promises of ''Dubainizing'' Anambra, or whatever, I'd rather concern myself with the riot act he has read to his people. As I pointed out earlier, it is something that gladdens my heart and if he eventually fulfils those promises, then I think we will be on to something really good. Why do I say this?
It was well known in some circles last time out that Obiano's cabinet was largely peopled by those who were after their private pockets, rather than the good of their master. As I also wrote much earlier in this column, I have never seen a bunch of uncommitted and self-centred appointees as some of those I have seen in Obiano's cabinet. In fact, some of his commissioners ought to have been given the marching orders a long time ago. There was a particular one I gave a huge hint about at the time and I believe many understood.
So for Obiano to walk the talk, he has to begin to wield the big stick pretty soon and that's gonna come very much from within. All those people in his cabinet who nearly scuttled his second term chances must go and be replaced by those ready to work for the interest of his government and that of the state.
His cabinet should also consist of those who are worth their salt. Such people are not those chosen because of mere loyalty or party affiliation, but those who understand their briefs.
Indeed, at one time, I told anyone who cared to listen that, given the quality of people in Obiano's fold, only God could save him. I said that because I had seen how they operated which, to all intents and purposes, was utterly selfish. Many of them too, had no electoral value in their wards and coupled with their selfish and self-serving tendencies, it became obvious that they would not be adding any value to the electoral fortunes of their boss.
But at the end of the day, it was God, through the masses; and not the appointees, that delivered Obiano in a way even he, Obiano, never thought possible. Now that he has gone through the eye of the needle, so to say, he will do well to ensure that the past experience does not resurrect; final term or not. He has to go for the best any time he decides to either reshuffle his cabinet or overhaul it.
He should not rely on those who cannot look him in the eye and tell him their mind. He should refrain from returning the praise singers, whose only contribution the last time was hurling invective on opponents and sparking endless media wars.
One of the most critical things he should avoid however, is having an over bloated cabinet consisting of those who collect fat cheques and give little or nothing in return. Where many hands handled one thing before now, a few good hands will do it and much more effectively too. Take the media team, for instance. Before now, there were many performers crooning on the stage but the result was often cacophonous, rather than being melodious. A few media experts who know and understand the terrain should be got together and operate under a central command. That will be enough to deliver results, rather than what we just witnessed before the election.
The media is critical for the success of any government and placing round pegs on round holes in this area will make things easier for Obiano.
He should also divest himself of any form of clannishness as witnessed in the first tenure. The entire state should be his constituency and rightly so. A lot of people will be looking up to him to see the direction he will be going. The first steps in his next tenure will be very important. They will determine whether people will buy into his vision and mission or not. If he leads by example, the rest will be easy.
The recent history of this state is replete with how kinsmen ruined the government of Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju. A jolly good fellow, Mbadinuju fell to the monsters he created as he failed to assert his authority on, or control them. The result was that they ran him out of government house, consigning Mbadinuju to the trash can of history, albeit a negative one.
What I'm saying is that Obiano should really be in charge of his government this time out and be seen to be so. Ngige and Obi were well and truly in charge of theirs. Failure by Obiano to be assertive could lead to embarrassing situations. Government, indeed, is serious business.
He should cut down on the size of his government and ultimately the cost of governance. You cannot be warning your charges to steer clear from corruption and be doing things that encourage the same vice. All loopholes through which unscrupulous people siphon our common wealth should be plugged, regardless of what anyone says.
Obiano should prove to you and me that this second tenure will be one of work, work and more work. As I pointed out here last week, his performance now that he doesn't need our votes will make him either a hero or a villain. This is where he should borrow a leaf from Obi whose second tenure was adjudged as far better than his first and it was that perception that made it possible for the masses to give Obi a third term which was Obiano's first.
But above all, Obiano will do well to accept constructive criticisms. Often times, hangers on around the governor will tell him that those who criticise belong to the opposition. If he believes them, then that will be very unfortunate; even tragic.
As he mulls over the issues raised here, we will be eagerly watching and waiting to see if he will walk his talk in the riot act he read to his work force. That, I tell you, will make us to either believe in him, or take whatever he says later with a pinch of salt.
God bless Anambra State, God bless our governor!          

 

 

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