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OPINION: I’ll Run A Single Term Of Four Years- Valentine Ozigbo Is Being Clever By Half

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OPINION: I'll Run A Single Term Of Four Years- Valentine Ozigbo Is Being Clever By Half
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By Emeka Okoli

Recently, the media was awash with what I may call Valentine Ozigbo’s bluff; a case in point being the one published in Vision Newspapers of March 25, 2024.

Searching through the report, one would deduce that in trying to drive his ambition to rule Anambra State, Ozigbo effectively said nothing.

All one could read was his boasting that he is more emotionally intelligent than the incumbent Governor, and that he would, if elected governor, give Anambra everything she needs within a single term of 4 years.

Ozigbo confessed his refusal to be impressed with Soludo’s rich scorecard so far. He was however, unable to give his audience any reason for such blunt refusal!

By his vague reference to emotional intelligence, he may be suggesting that, if ever elected governor, he would lack the liver to enforce basic sanitation laws of the State Assembly, and, or fight criminality the way Soludo is currently doing.

ALSO READ: Soludo Congratulates Christians On Easter, Enjoins All To Embrace New Hope For A Better Nigeria

It’s either Ozigbo didn’t have what to say, couldn’t articulate what he wanted to say, or was being unknowingly dishonest about it all.

Only a greenhorn politician would boast that he would, within 4 years, accomplish all that the state needs.

Deep down however, Valentine’s reason for mouthing a 4-year single term was apparently to court the empathy of other gubernatorial aspirants. Clearly, he appeared to be cajoling them to leave the arena for him at this time, in the false hope that their own turns would not be long in coming: he would not keep them waiting for too long on the queue. But that’s being clever by half. Only the naive would be taken in by that sort of deceit.

For one thing, Ozigbo’s idea of what he could do with a single 4-year term exposes his shallow understanding of what governing a state is all about. He probably thinks it is like managing a hotel.

Even in hotel management, one needs time for planning, staffing and reorientation of company staff for efficacy in plan implementation.

In governance, even as in the hotel and catering business from which Val appears to be drawing experience, it takes months for dividends to come. There is always that period of latency, which imposes a ceiling on what one could accomplish within the first term of four years. Ozigbo would know this, but he prefers to insult the intelligence of Ndi Anambra with fake promises!

Infact, in Val’s best considerations, Anambra State should change government every four or two years simply to provide him the opportunity to be trying his luck, now and again! It does not matter to him the cost, the chaos and instability in policy and governance that comes with such! All that matters is that Val needs to be governor, now!

In fact, anyone not seeing what Soludo has done so far must be a blind and dishonest politician. Ndi Anambra do not need, in leadership, politicians who are blind in the mind, but only good at dishonest assessment of incumbents.

Politics must not be about denying the truth, or painting white, black. There must be some polish, particularly among people who lay claim to corporate experience! We need leaders that will see and acknowledge the positive contributions of their predecessors in office, and build upon such achievements. That’s the only way compound growth and development would be achievable.

Someone who could not recognize a good job could never be relied upon to deliver any, because he doesn’t know what a good job is like. You have first to know the destination before promising to take people there.

But not being unduly severe on Val and his ilk, one must admit that some of Soludo’s most impressive accomplishments are actually subtle, visible only to the very discerning.

Take the 1-youth-2-skills, and the massive palm-planting programmes as examples. And even the enhancement of the quality of instruction in our schools through the massive recruitment of some 5,000 new teachers immediately at inception.

These are the sort of development projects that only begin to yield dividends years after their initiator has left office. The kind of expensive projects that dishonest politicians, intent only on playing to the gallery, would never touch. They’re not projects for unserious incumbents concerned only with creating impressions.

Demonstrably, not everyone is capable of visualizing the future in Anambra, when all the palms would be yielding, giving every household that is caring to participate in the ongoing programme, a base income of at least N500,000 per annum; sufficient to transform a household from “poor” to an “income-secure” status.

Those who can visualise it would see the future when most of Anambra youth with multiple skills, imparted by Soludo’s 1-youth-2-skills programme, would be gainfully employing themselves and others.

As further dividend of the enhanced quality of instructions in our schools, the State would in a couple of years begin to showcase quality, trained Anambra graduates manning industries all over Nigeria, and in the diaspora! It’ll become like magic, and not many would be able to remember that it all began with seeds planted by Soludo, unacknowledged.

By then, crime would reduce to a minimum without necessarily increasing policing costs, and Anambra would rank with parts of the western world in terms of per capita income.

The synergy of the subtle plantation development all over the state, multiple skills impartation to the youths, and quality education for ndị Anambra, would become like an internal dynamo, generating autonomous empowerment and underpinning a buoyant future economy.

Of course, also, there are the more obvious achievements of the Soludo administration which even the blind-in-the-mind cannot miss: the improved security all over the state (many of the local government areas were under siege by non-state actors until Soludo came), the 450 kilometres of roads built and being built, the hospitals, the markets, sanitation and other physical projects too many to enumerate here.

The point is that what we would like to see in Anambra today are constructive, honest criticisms, and contributions, not campaigns of calumny. We have lost so much as a state, and as a region.

Ndị Anambra, therefore, it’s time for us to transcend mere politicking, rally around the good birds we’re fortunate to have at hand in some of the Igbo states, and tap the dividends optimally, before jostling for a replacement just in the name of party politics.

_Emeka Okoli (Oduenyi, Ndiowu) Ex-bankers and Chartered Stockbroker, writes from Lagos_

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