When Henry Kissinger was the United States Secretary of state, Germans refer to him as ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means ‘Our own man ‘ because Henry (Heniz) Kissinger to them is not just only a German American but a favorite one. Governor Obi is ‘Unsere eigenen Mann’ which means in Igbo language ‘Onye nke anyi’ because he respects and honors the people of his state. Obi is truly a son of the soil.
Governor Obi is tenacious, decent, respectful and self-made man; a quality that personifies what it really means to be Anambrian and son of a soil. He has made the people of Anambra State proud, for he tendered a leadership that differentiated him from the antecedent governors of the state. For one thing, he is serious with his job and he is determined to leave a legacy of successful governance.
But all things being equal, he will not be absolved from constructive criticism. When and if we do that we are not being fair to him or our self. One thing for sure, Obi is equal to the task and the best thing he expects from us is not to be milling around him, asking and begging for contracts and handouts. Alas, he wants us to help him build Anambra state, which we all can be proud to call our home.
To his credit and his commissioners, they have a comprehensive blue print for Anambra State development. By this his administration does not concentrate on a project but simultaneously undergoing many projects. The downside is that no single project is fully enhanced, nor greatly accomplished. In addition, the blue print lacks creativity with regards to generating local revenues.
For instance the collection and disposal of solid waste/debris in commercial city of Onitsha has not been fully achieved or instituted due to lack of fund and superior management. The environmental deterioration of Onitsha continues to worsen due to unattended littering of trash and rubbish in every nooks and corners of the city. In spite of the effort of Obi’s administration the ditches and gutters are still teaming with debris and pollutants that readily contaminate the ecosystem. And such an environment breeds misquotes and subsequently malarial diseases have never been subsidized.
During the campaign for re-election, Obi promised to transform Onitsha into a modern city. This is a tall order and credit must be given to him for his vision. For a modern city to be realized and becomes functional some basic social amenities must be present .These social amenities and infrastructures must include electricity, tap drinking water and a functional sewage treatment plant.
In case of electricity, we all know quite well it is under federal government jurisdiction but nothing stops the state government from not acquiring solar light panels and safe the streets from total darkness at nights. The government of Delta State was able to light streets of Asaba before Onitsha Head Bridge with solar light panels; therefore it can be done. No more excuses!
Governor Obi has embarked on provision of water boreholes to provide drinking water. But instead of investing limited resources in digging water boreholes, it is better to find ways to resuscitate the abandon Onitsha Water Works and others around the state. Moreover some of these water boreholes are exposed to hazardous metals (Arsenic, lead, Boron etc) together with ecoli bacteria and radioactive elements can be life threatening and carcinogenic.
When children drink untreated water that is exposed to nature occurring pollutants it may result to diarrhea and cholera even death. The boreholes water is not treated nor chlorinated to make it healthy and safe for human consumption.
At the dawn of 21st century there should be a plan to set up waste water treatment plant in Anambra State where sewage and wastes are treated before the release into the ecosystem. The human and animal wastes can be treated properly into manures that will be utilized for farming.
The most important function of a government is to protect life and property. The mal-enterprise of kidnapping threatens the pursuit of life and happiness in Anambra State. The massive unemployment among the youths in the state do contributes to kidnapping and armed robbery. Although that the federal government control security apparatus, the state government cannot totally absolve itself when it comes to the provision of jobs to the youths. It may not be the function of government to provide jobs rather to create a secured environment with less criminal activity for capitalism and free enterprise to thrive and succeed.
Anambra state could be creative with its initiatives and improvise on new ways to lower down joblessness among the youths. The government can create environmental corps whose function would be to patrol the state and pick up trash. These corps will be mandated to issue violation tickets when citizens violate environmental rules and regulations. And the revenues they generated can sustain their salaries and employments.
Although the government of Anambra State will complain that there are no resources and funds to carry out these projects. But the most important thing is the willpower and willingness to initiate a change. Start from somewhere and who knows what will happen next. The Chinese philosopher Lao Zi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org www.afripol.org