By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- THE governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the November 18 election in Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka Obaze yesterday described the state as broken and therefore needed to be fixed urgently.
Speaking during the flag off of his campaign at the All Saints Cathedral field, Onitsha, Obaze observed that Anambra people were suffering despite what he called the hype and propaganda by the state government.
According to him, the people of Anambra State were no longer enjoying the true dividends of democracy, adding that the government of Chief Willie Obiano had failed them in more ways than one and therefore deserved something better.
He said: “We must change the leadership and political narrative. Since governance is all about the delivery of basic services, we are aware that Anambra is not doing very well. Poor leadership, fiscal recklessness and lack of transparency and focus remain key challenges for the incumbent government.
“We know we have not done so well economically, not because the natural resources do not exist, not because the talents are not there, but because narrow political considerations have progressively and consistently trumped rational economic thinking and policy in governance. Such a defeatist mindset must change.
“Changing the leadership and governance narrative in Anambra is simple. We must borrow and implement international best practices related to governance.
“For now the Obiano government talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. What this means is that Ndi Anambra have continued to suffer; we suffer from poor infrastructure, unsanitary environment, high taxes and levies, youth unemployment, falling educational standards, etc. Our housing deficit and challenges are not any lighter.
“I have therefore committed myself and my administration to a single four-year term in office – 2018-2022. It will be four years of intensive and productive hard work.
“Our focus will be primarily on human development capital anchored on education. We will thus commit 26% of our budget to education, with 10% going to parochial and privately- owned schools.
“We will in that context offer free education from kindergarten to JS3. We will also tackle youth unemployment through vocational training and certification.”
“Our present government has failed in instituting known good attributes of governance which include macroeconomic discipline and balances; providing physical and social infrastructure;raising savings and investment rates; andproviding good governance.”
“The government has been financially reckless. It has in less than four years, squandered over N455 billion in budgeted and appropriated funds; N75 billion in state savings and investments and N60 in borrowings.
“Yet there is nothing on ground that is commensurate with such public expenditure. Yet we are told that Willie is working and the People are Happy. No! Our people are sad, disenfranchised and hungry. Willie Must Go!
“We have been called to service. We stand ready to serve, with humility and diligence. We must remember that a leader is not just a person of character; but character, by definition, is leadership. We have been given a unique opportunity. We must make good of this chance. We must seize the moment.
“Simply put, Anambra deserves better than what it is getting in terms of leadership, development, and wealth and job creation. Anambra deserves better than what it has experienced in the past three years in terms of investments that are far from regenerative.
Beyond cliches, if Anambra is an oil producing state, but we are not earning revenue, it means the system is broken.
“If we have spent over N455 billion in appropriated funds, in four years, frittered away over N75 billion in savings, and borrowed over N60 billion in foreign and domestic loans, yet do not have commensurate infrastructure for those expenses, then the system is broken. If we have dropped from number one ranking in national examinations to sixth and seventh positions respectively, then the system needs to be fixed.
“If our social and development infrastructures are crumbling due to lack of maintenance, then we face a crisis that needs to be fixed. If our established social welfare safety net for the aged has become moribund, then that system is broken.
“Those who say the system is not broken are gratuitously clever by half. I say the system is broken, it needs to be fixed urgently. PDP must fix it. Let us get to work.
Let us go out and win the 18 November election for our children and posterity. Let us kick this uncaring government out and bring back sanity and accountability to governance.”
Obaze called for unity among PDP members, reminding them that the party had been out of government in the state for the past 11 years and therefore needed to work together to take back power from the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
“PDP is a big family and the umbrella is huge enough to cover and accommodate us all,” Obaze said.