Valentine Ozigbo: As Anambra People Coalesce Around A Leader

By Tochukwu Ezukanma

On a bus ride from Enugu to Awka, I sat next to a lady, a high ranking civil servant in the Anambra State government. She was on her way to work at Awka. She is one of the many civil servants that did not relocate from Enugu to Awka at the creation of Anambra State. So, she travels to work from Enugu to Awka every work day. It was about 11am, and she was still on her way to work. I asked her why she was going to work so late, and seemed so unperturbed about it.

She said that her enthusiasm for her job has been dampened by the avarice and corruption that pervade the Anambra State government. The politician class in state are just stealing money to an extent that will flabbergast any sane mind. She works at the Ministry of Finance, and is therefore aware of how the commissioners appropriate public funds without accountability and any recourse to official procedures. I asked her if the governor is privy of these misappropriations of public funds by his political appointees. Of course, she replied.

I asked her if this is a novelty with the Soludo administration, or a trend with earlier administrations. Was it happening under the Obiano administration? Yes, she replied. What of during the Peter Obi administration? She answered no. She was lyrical, as she talked about Peter Obi: he is a very decent man and his government was totally different. He did not allow for such acts of corruption and abuse of power. There was accountability under his watch. She was nostalgic for the Obi administration. She was wistful, as she talked about how bad things have gone with governance in the state, since the end of Obi’s administration.

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Undoubtedly, the probity and prudence Peter Obi entrenched in governance in the state have long been fenestrated by subsequent administrations; and the high moral and ethical standards he established in the affairs of the state have eroded over the years. The erosion took a perilous twist under Governor Soludo. Not surprisingly, he has failed to make good on any of his electoral promises. He promised to curb official corruption; eliminate waste, and ensure accountability in government; hold local government elections; end the menace of touts and thugs; clean up the environment; embark on massive urban renewal, and make the state functional and liveable; and essentially, recast Anambra in the mould of Dubai.

Instead of the liveability and orderliness of Dubai that he promised us, we have squalor and anarchy. For his promised accountability and elimination of waste in government, we have fiscal irresponsibility and official extravagance. In place of a curb on corruption, we have avarice, corruption and thievery. The people are totally disappointed and disenchanted with Governor Soludo. Conscious of these facts, but still desperately scheming for a second term, he has refused to hold local government elections as he promised. He appoints his political allies and goons to administer the local government areas. This enables him to sequestrate local government funds; and use it to reinforce and oil his political structure in preparation for the next year gubernatorial election.

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Instead of ridding the state of thugs, Soludo, under different guises, recruited, outfitted and empowered his own band of more vicious, ruthless and blustering ruffians that have demonstrated alarming contempt for human lives. These “official touts” are something of a private army. They will be very handy for Soludo in the upcoming gubernatorial election. They will be veritable tools in his bid to impose himself on the people of the state, irrespective of their electoral choice.

The people of Anambra are dissatisfied with the Soludo administration. They need a change. They need a leader that will turn things around for the better in the state. A leader that will re-set the moral tone, bring back decency and financial honesty in government, and be responsive to the legitimate aspirations of the people, their need for social justice and longing for a good life. Already, they are coalescing around a leader, Valentine Ozigbo. He is youthful, highly educated and with an impressive curriculum vitae. He is a man of remarkable abilities and strength of character. The people are proud of him. They want to enlist him into the gubernatorial race of November 2025. Ozigbo is heeding the call of the people of Anambra; and, as he said in a recent interview, “not for myself, but for Anambra, Ndigbo and Nigeria.”

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Tochukwu Ezukanma, a native of Ikenga Ogidi, writes from Lagos, Nigeria.

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