Chief Sylvester Nwobu Alor is a second Republic lawmaker and former Director-General of Peter Obi Campaign Organisation. He is a founding chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APGA) and former Special Assistant (SA) to the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. He spoke on the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra and why he supports the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) even as APGA chieftain, among other issues.
As an Elder statesman and a stakeholder in Anambra State Polity, What is your take on the impending election?
Oh yes! Election is a constitutional and democratic process of changing guards. The integral voting procedure gives the citizenry the supremacy and superiority of electing their chosen representatives and leaders, and on this score I wholly align myself with the process thereof.
Against the backdrop of the election, and the attendant campaign, the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano has been accused of non-performance. Chief, how do you react to this?
Truly, Anambra in the recent time had had it so good in terms of governance. Starting from the regime of Ngige and then to Peter Obi’s administration, Anambra State had posted superlative and sterling results in terms of democratic dividends and performance, and so if the citizenry now complain, that means there is a gap and lull in the expectation.
Truly, given the current outcry and from personal observation, Willie Obiano, though a nice man, his government has not met the yearnings and expectations of Anambrarians.
And that’s why there is the current discontent and dissatisfaction in the land against his style of administration.
But Chief, the government of Obiano has reacted by saying that ‘Willie is working’! The government went further to say it pays salaries and pensions as at and when due. Too, they pointed to the street light projects that dot the nooks and crannies of Anambra, and with all these do you still doubt their performance?
It is preposterous and prevaricating for a properly constituted Government with huge allocations and IGR to point at the payment of salaries and pension as achievement.
By the way, it is legal, moral and natural to pay all workers at the due time. It is unconscionable and despicable really to owe a worker who has completed his task.
Therefore, Obiano’s government should not see the payment thereof, as an achievement. Besides, governments before it (that is, Ngige and Obi’s) paid salaries and pensions and still performed and packaged the infrastructures to the admiration of Ndi Anambra.
Moreso, Obiano’s government has no reason not to pay salaries and improve on the lives of Ndi Anambra because a solid financial foundation was availed by the preceding government of Peter Obi.
The street light project, good as it is, is not enough to showcase given the enormous fund at Obiano’s government disposal.
What of the twenty million Naira (N20,000,000) disbursement to communities in Anambra State by the government of Willie Obiano?
I tell you one thing, Willie is working, but regretfully Willie is indeed working woefully and that’s why his government is illogical, comical and theatrical.
The twenty million development fund or whatever name called comes with too many baggages. Firstly, it is a misdirection and misappropriation.
Nobody knows where he is getting the funds to finance the “Community Projects”, but assuming it is from the joint L. G. account then it is illegal.
The Local Government system as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the third tier of administration with a clearly defined and delineated obligations and mandates and which obviously does not include the wanton disbursement of cash to communities.
Therefore, Governor Obiano’s penchant for appropriating fund meant for the Local Government administration for other uses is unlawful and illegal, ab initio.
Secondly, since such disbursements are not lawfully appropriated and deployed, it gives room to all manners of manipulations.
For instance, it’s been shown that the current disbursement bazaar by the current government only gets to his surrogates and lackeys.
Thirdly, the direct cash disbursement to communities being an illegality itself is also a Greek gift whereby it’s given with the ‘right hand’ and stealthily collected by the ‘left hand’.
The processes involving the hyped twenty million naira (N20,000,000) gift to the communities in Anambra State are scandalous since the disbursement is an illegality enmeshed in misappropriation.
It might interest you to know that up till this moment, none of the “Infrastructure Project” has been completed nor commissioned.
Fourthly, it’s conduit pipe to siphon funds. Assuming the disbursement is done with a good intent (which is disproved here).
What is the percentage of the N20,000,000 to the entire statutory allocation due to a given local government?
And what becomes of the gigantic reminder and where does it go? Illustratively, Awka North Local Government got a total of four billion, two hundred and twenty six million, six hundred and twenty thousand, five hundred and sixty five naira only (N4,226,620,565) as statutory allocation from March 2014 to July 2017.
And out of this total receipts, a paltry two hundred million naira (N200,000,000) was given by the Obiano administration to the entire communities as an ‘Infrastructure Project’ within the same period, leaving a floating balance of N4,026,620,565. Similar balance is replicated in all the 27 Local Governments in Anambra State.
The question therefore is where does this balance go to? And your guess is as good as that of a reasonable person. Chief, with your foregoing comments therefore, can we say you are posting a vote of no-confidence on the government of Obiano.
A little while ago you talked about accusation of non performance on his government and I answered that there is discontent and dissatisfaction as far as his government is concerned and that simply means a vote of no-confidence.
A government that cannot point to a single signature project to its credit has failed the electorates and does not deserve a re-election.
The media is awash of how previous governments’ projects are claimed as Obiano’s achievement.
For instance, just recently a former House of Representatives member from Ihiala reacted to the claim that it was Obiano’s government that attracted the Awada- Ihiala Transmission line, wherein he debunked the claim and gave detailed process of how the feat was achieved under his legislative representation.
And such superious claims are now common place and these points to one fact non-performance.
If the government has performed why claiming other people’s projects, for instance of road networks done by Ngige and Obi’s regime. For example, it’s on record that Peter Obi’s administration did a total of 265 roads during his tenure and one cannot point to a single road done by this Willie administration and that is scandalous and suffocating.
And let me say it at this juncture, the huge resources that have been deployed to this crave for re-election would have been enough to do many roads in the state.
Now cars and tricycles are given out to all manner of people just to project the second term agenda.
My attention has just been drawn to the frenzied media advertisement, where the Obiano’s government has for the past two months utilized pages in a National Newspaper to advertise the “Willie is working” mantra.
Just a few days ago, same Newspaper carried a 20-page full coloured advertorial on Obiano’s government.
The costs of all these are shocking and shattering, and this is Ndi Anambra’s resources that would have put to a better use.
Truly, if Willie has worked like his predecessor, there would have been no need for these desperate expenditures and people like us would not have condemned his government and his re-election would have been a matter of right.
Chief, away from Obiano and his government, your party APGA has been factionalized and fumbling, what is your take on this?
It is painful seeing a project one heavily invested in suddenly sinking and skidding. As one of the founding fathers of APGA, I know the plan was to make APGA a National Party with an Igbo base.
Unfortunately, time came when one person cornered all the offices to himself, he became the National Chairman, Treasurer, financial Secretary etc. some stakeholders like me cried out and I was called names.
I didn’t let go, I insisted the party must be restructured and repositioned to meet up with dynamics of the contemporary times.
I even went to court to challenge the internal autocracy then. I won some cases and lost some too.
I predicated finally that if the path of restructuring was not towed, APGA would one day disappear into the thin air and today that prediction is coming true.
Otherwise, how else can one describe a party of over 16 years existence still managing to grapple with one state in Nigeria?
Too, the giants and legends of APGA are no more in the party, given the internal intrigues and external machinations. And I tell you APGA would continue this descent to extinction and coupled with Willie’s bad government, the road to that infamy becomes wider and certain.
Do you think that as a stakeholder you have done enough to stem this tide in the party.
My brother, if I tell you the steps I have taken even at very personal risks to sustain the APGA brand, but all to no avail.
I have talked about my legal contests, I have also written series of papers and articles on the way forward but like it is said in Igbo “Onwu n’egbu nwa nkita, anaghi ekwe ya nuru isi nsi” (The death that is destined for the dog, would not allow it perceive it’s prized aroma-the faeces.
There have been allegations and counter allegations on the N75 Billion saga and the N7 Billion scandal. Can you give your opinion on these, sir?
There is this latin maxim “Res Ipsa loquitor” which means; the fact speaks for itself.
Therefore, the Ex-governor Peter Obi has extensively and convincingly availed the facts and figures on the “contentions” N75 Billion Naira bequest, and which are already in the public domain and I need not dwell on it.
But suffice it to say that as an insider, N75 Billion was handed over to Willie’s government. Those figures supplied by Obi remain evident and empirical and denial is simply a deception!
Again, as a famed accountant why did it take Governor Obiano so long a time to debunk such a weighty financial declaration that was made public.
Coming barely six weeks to election period to post a denial is cosmetic, petty and prevaricating.
On the N7 billion “scandal”, same opinion above applies. But I see it as a ploy to further fly the N75 Billion naira denial saga.
Otherwise, withholding such a revelation for 3 year plus, only to broadcast at this period is simply a propaganda and politicking.
Again the details supplied by obi to corroborate his fact on the N75 Billion lack on the side of Obiano on the N7 billion pay-back issue. Certain things are done timeously, otherwise they lose their shine and sparks.
You have described Obiano as a nice man running a bad government; as an elder statesman and stakeholder, one expects you have the access to advice the governor on his programmes and policies.
You are 100% right. With all modesty, I have the access to advice the governor, but advice is not forced down.
Agreeably, at Governor Obiano’s inception, I availed my candid advice and he seemed to flow along but along the line, he stopped asking for my opinion on some matters and I knew immediately sycophants and propagandist have displaced.
However, I had the intuition that sooner than no time the state would drift and descend into liquidation and that is exactly what is happening now.
Obiano may have a large heart but he is surrounded by bad advisers who have selfish motives thereby displacing selfless and sincere advisers in the party.
At my station in life, I truly may not need anything from Obiano, my interest is to see a continuously progressive Anambra and nothing more.
Ex-Governor Peter Obi to a large extent, relied on sincere advice availed by people like me and thus, compare Obi’s performance and Obiano’s propaganda. The difference as they say is clear.
But why must it Obaze this time sir? I believe in objectively and not swayed by parochialism and sentiments. Honestly, the government of Obiano has not done anything positive to warrant a second tenure.
I say it again, giving Obiano a second chance means total liquidation of Anambra state. Let me break it down-Governor Willie Obiano’s government has received a total of N63,654,309,711.92 (almost 64 Billion naira) from May 2015 to June 2016 from Federal allocations and this excludes Internally Generated Revenue (IGR); this excludes the squandered N4 Billion naira set aside by Obi’s administration for secondary school education and Health facilities; this excludes the N3.7 billion naira in UBEC Accounts 1 & 2 he inherited and now misappropriated; this excludes the N75 billion naira handed over to him by his predecessor, Peter Obi; this excludes total revenue from dollars investment by Obi’s government; this excludes the 50.4 billion naira already collected by Government Obiano as security vote since 2014; and this excludes a total of N533,179,178,592.00 (over N533 billion naira) of Local Government fund controlled and managed by Governor Willie Obiano since 2014.
Truly, the above quoted figures are gargantuan and gigantic in all ramifications and if what the incumbent government in Anambra state can point at as its achievements with the enumerated enormous sum are the payments of salaries/pensions and street light projects, then Ndi Anambra have really boarded a ‘’one chance” bus.
Even the advertised flyover projects in Awka are Peter Obi’s initiatives and constructed by Obiano’s government at an outrageously inflated cost of N15 billion naira from the budgeted N5 billion naira and even at having banners against heavy trucks.
Any attempt therefore, to enthrone and perpetuate Willie’s woeful works in Anambra would spell doom and push the state into extinction and liquidation.
To this end therefore, I urge Anambrarians to give Oseloka Henry Obaze their mandate come November 18,2017.
He is already tested and trusted having brought his Midas touch to bear on both Obi’s and Obiano’s incipient administration.
The now famous and glorious MDG’s Miracle in Anambra so far is the handwork of Oseloka Obaze.
Truly, as an elder statesman and a stakeholder in Anambra polity Obaze’s international Diplomatic exposure and human management acumen, including the expertise of Chidi Onyemelukwe are sure the right steps to progress and prosperity in Anambra State.
Our woeful Willie’s works are even more insulting as almost 90% of them are still promises as the 20-page all coloured advert he took up recently in one of the National Dailies suggested. We frankly need performances and not promises again.