1. As the campaign for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra State has started in earnest, it is understandable that some candidates and their foot soldiers have engaged in relentless rounds of misinformation and disinformation. There is nothing wrong with political parties, their candidates and supporters criticizing one another. Much as it is desirable for the political gladiators to base their utterances on facts, we know this is hardly likely to be the case.
2. What is clearly unacceptable is when political parties, their candidates and agents in the forthcoming election set out to manufacture facts about their state with a view to denigrating it in the eyes of rational members of the public. This kind of denigration has grave implications for the development of our dear state. For example, one major driver of the huge investment inflow into the last state in the last seven years amounting to between four and five billion dollars ($4-5b) is the impressive reputation which the State has enjoyed throughout the country in recent years. To attempt to destroy this enviable reputation is to attempt to destroy investments in the state. Only enemies of the State can think of such a thing.
3. Therefore, the penchant of some politicians to resort to the social media to make preposterous allegations of humongous financial abuses against the State Government as part of the disinformation strategy designed to win the November 6 governorship election stands condemnable. The amounts they publish, without any form of evidence, as what the State Government has received in recent years as statutory funds are wild figures. They beggar belief.
4. There is compelling evidence that financial resources of the people of Anambra State are are well managed. For example, Anambra State and petroleum-rich Rivers State are the two states in the country with the best fiscal responsibility index, according to BudgIT, a highly respected nongovernment organization (NGO) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The latest unemployment figures by the National Bureau of Statistics show that Anambra State, with 13.1 per cent unemployment rate, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country whereas the average national unemployment rate is 27.1 per cent. To many economists around the world, the employment rate in any economy is the most important indicator of the economic performance of the place. The implication of the NBS publication of the latest unemployment rates is that the bureau has stated in unmistaken terms that the Anambra State economy has been managed better than that of any other state in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.
5. Only an exceptionally prudent state like Anambra can build a world-class international airport in less than two years with no bank loan anywhere in the world and without owing the contactors. Indeed, the people of Anambra State are eminently proud of the fact that the state Government is about to deliver the largest conference and convention centre in Africa—with 13,000 seating capacity—without any loan. Remarkable also is that the State Government has not borrowed a kobo from any bank to finance the modern stadium it is about to complete in Awka.
6. It is quite regrettable that indigenes of our state are carrying out extreme propaganda against the very state that they want to govern by all means. They have even made videos of failed Federal Government roads in Anambra State and blame the very deplorable state of roads like the Amawbia-Ekwulobia-Uga- Road which leads to Akokwa in Imo State on the Anambra State Government. The irony is that the very political party whose candidate and supporters are responsible for the disinformation is the All Progressives Congress (APC). Its candidate hails from Uga in Aguata Local Government Area; he spent eight years in the Senate without addressing the terrible state of the federal road which passes through his hometown.
7. To worsen matters, the same party has been sponsoring news on the social media alleging that the six All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) members of the State House of Assembly who last week succumbed to the asphyxiating Federal Might, against the wishes of the Anambra people who elected them, are in discussion with some other legislators to impeach the State governor.
8. What the party is stating in other words is that it wants to create a deep crisis in Anambra State. It would seem that any time a particular individual wants to contest the governorship of the state it deliberately foments trouble. The situation brings to mind the illegal impeachment of the first APGA governor in the state, Mr Peter Obi, which the same forces masterminded. Good a thing that the Supreme Court was to reverse the perfidious act and return the APGA governor to office without delay.
9. Rather than unveil their development programmes for the Anambra people, some parties and candidates as well as their agents and supporters are determined to de-market their state, and cause tremendous confusion and crisis all over the place. This is not how to achieve gubernatorial ambitions. In any case, Anambra people are too discerning and sophisticated for certain political manipulations and machinations.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.