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As Governor Willie Obiano Bows Out

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The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano would be bowing out of office this week. By weekend, Anambra would have a new Governor. Moving on, Ndi Anambra would only remember him for how well or badly he governed the State when he managed her affairs. Every other thing would become history afterwards. The transient nature of power should be a lesson. 

Obiano ascendancy to power could pass off as epic fiction. He was born on the 8th of August 1955 to a catechist father by name Philip Obiano, and a fish-seller mother, Christiana Obiano. He passed through CKC for college honours and took to banking after earning a degree in Accountancy in 1979, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration both from the University of Lagos. His banking career began at First Bank Plc in 1981. He later left the bank to join Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc as an accountant where he rose to become its Chief Internal Auditor. Shortly afterwards, he returned to banking as the Deputy Manager in charge of the Audit Unit of Fidelity Bank in 1991. He later managed to become an Executive Director of the bank before he retired and relocated to Houston, Texas to thoroughly enjoy his retirement.

In 2013, following the disagreements and internal squabbles within the ruling party in Anambra State, fate and luck came together to throw up a name in the mix and before any political analyst could say ‘Jack’ Obiano was on the plane to Nigeria to become Governor of a rich State like Anambra!

Read Also: I’ll Leave Anambra As An Oil Producing State – Obiano

That call that plunged Obiano into the mire of Nigerian politics was unexpected. In fact, it has been echoed time after time that, he didn’t even pay his flight ticket back home to be served the Governorship of Anambra State like his favourite dish. Before 2013, being a Governor never crossed his mind. He picked up the ‘Nke anyi bu Nke anyi’ ticket and rode on the exceptional performance of his predecessor to sweep the polls. Indeed that particular scenario, left the promoters of the ‘Power is not given but taken’ rhetoric speechless like Michael Jackson.

Obiano did not only get power on a platter, he also inherited so many ‘goodies’ which no Nigerian incoming Governor has ever enjoyed. The bank balance was green. The debt figures were zero. The ratings and indexes were wonderful and the relationship with global aid and donor agencies were cordial. What else can an incoming governor pray for? Mr. Peter Obi deserves accolades.

He was sworn into office on March 17, 2014 and as many people would say ‘the rest is history!’

For some people, he would be remembered as the Governor who built three flyovers in Awka, built a number of bridges across the State, delivered a mini Stadium, built an international conference centre and built a cargo airport. While for others, he would be remembered as the Governor who inherited over 75 Billion Naira in savings, debt-free State and manageable infrastructure yet eight years later, left the State in debt of over 200 Billion, owed gratuities and pensions, financial recklessness, long vacations, showy attires and impulsive charades.

This contribution is not to run analysis on how well or how bad he fared in office. That would be left for Ndi Anambra to decide. He has done noble by being decisive enough to ensure that an intellectual like Prof Chukwuma Soludo succeeds him the rest is now on the shoulders of the incoming.

The biggest lesson we should all draw from here is that nothing last forever. If all political office holders – elected and appointed understood that the office will outlive the office holder, maybe they will behave better. Obiano spent the last few months of his tenure taking people from different classes and levels round the State to celebrate his small wins. To cap it all, he named the newly built Cargo airport after himself. The lesson here is that, we would only be remembered for our works while we were on stage.

And to everyone occupying any office in the country today, you need to understand that people are showing you respect because of your office and not because of your person. It is when that office leaves you or you leave that office (whichever comes first) that you will know your true worth and what people think about you. Obiano employed the services of over 2,000 aides and lavished tax payers money on them and tagged it ’empowerment’ just to get their praise and adulation. It would interest you to know that shortly after the 6th of November Guber election in the State, most of the praise singers lost their voices. Most of the sycophants switched sides and virtually all the ‘hype men’ lost their hype microphones.

That is why you should never be carried away by accolades. Be careful when people praise you too much. Be careful of your coterie of aides. When you’re in power, you are their pot of soup and they’ll do anything to keep you there. Don’t confuse their loyalty to their own personal interests with loyalty to you. Most people’s loyalty are to money and not human beings. Genuine loyalty is rare!

For people who have plans of going into office tomorrow, the advice you should take from here is that a man in public office does not make new friends. Power is very alluring. Power attracts. But power is very fluid. The pictures of previous office-holders adorning the walls of your office should tell you a story. Someone was there yesterday. Where is Mbadinuju today? Nobody cares. That’s how transient power is. You’re there today, another person will be there tomorrow. Nothing, really, lasts forever. As we say good bye to Willie Obiano, he should also know that in the final analysis, history’s verdict will come, followed inevitably by posterity, the one that entertains no appeal and that is where it all ends.


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