Our beloved State, Anambra is in dire straits; and we had better know and believe it. Coming from a refreshing relief provided by the administration of Mr. Peter Obi, we became complacent. For over three years after that era, we have been steadily sliding into the perfidy of inept management of our affairs. Indeed, it is an unprecedented betrayal of public trust.
As this unfortunate and unhappy term grinds to a halt, we have to look to the future; notably the next term of office in Government House, Awka. However, in so doing, we do not just have to hope for the best; we have to claim and choose the best in our collective interest and to restore Anambra State to meaningful progress, propriety and respectability.
A few weeks ago, the People’s Democratic Party [PDP] conducted its primaries to choose a candidate for the up-coming Governorship Elections in Anambra State. While many party faithful rejoiced at the momentous choice Oseloka Henry Obaze, a few others quietly acknowledged that he was the best man for the race and position of Governor. Expectedly, easily most worried is the incumbent APGA whose candidate has done little to imprint the appellation of the State as “The Light of the Nation”.
Oseloka Obaze brings impeccable credentials to bear on his campaign for the people’s mandate to be elected Governor of Anambra State. He was not only born into a responsible family, but took positive advantage of that background to improve himself and make impact on society. Educated in Nigeria and abroad, he attended such renowned institutions as Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha; Christ the King College, Onitsha; University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA and Nebraska Wesleyan University – obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Political Science & International Relations. Going further, undertook a number of professional courses in some famed institutions in Nigeria and Europe; with specialties in Dialogue, Mediation and Conflict Resolution, among others. These include: Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Lagos; UNITAR/International Peace Academy, Austria; UN System Staff College, Italy (1999); and Folke Bennadotte Academy, Sweden.
Oseloka Obaze’s working experience has taken through some strategic appointments and assignments – in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations System, Anambra State Government and Management, project & Financial Consultancies. In the processes, he has not only acquired wide experience, but added tremendous value to the operations of the organizations he served.
A man of proven integrity, Oseloka has been acknowledged across the world for his professionalism, competence, dedication and leadership. Among others, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was known for his high principles, dedication and commitment to duty such that his relocation to the UN system was a fait accompli. Similarly, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon observed about Oseloka: “In your long distinguished career … you have proven yourself as a most dedicated, dependable and competent staff member .. you have unfailingly upheld the highest standards of efficiency, competence required of an international civil servant”. Back home as Secretary to Anambra State Government, he, among other attainments, transformed the Office in what it is meant to be: the Chief Secretariat and Engine Room of the State Government – with tremendous impact on governance and staff welfare. These are verifiable facts.
As a practical and practised mediator and team player, Oseloka Obaze will be a stabilizing factor in our dear State that has been fractured by predatory managers in the last 3 years. In the same vein, he would be a dependable Chief Negotiator for Anambra State in the national scheme of things like the then Governor Peter Obi did to the immense benefit of the State.
Unassuming and unpretentious, Oseloka Obaze is not a “Man Must Wack” politician. He did not leave his position as an International Civil Servant for ‘Bread and Butter” politics. He is of clear purpose, and his antecedents demonstrate clearly that he would not be swayed by parochial or vindictive considerations and pursuits. Over the years, he has firmly rejected the cult of predatory sycophancy that has been the bane of many people in places of leadership as has been witnessed in our dear Anambra State over the last 3 years or so.
Oseloka’s exposure in Nigeria and internationally has equipped him with an extensive knowledge base and experience to manage Anambra State to sustainable and meaningful development. How many people know he has facilitated financial and equipment support from some international agencies for several development projects in parts of the country? With that kind of goodwill, coupled with a mandate as Governor, we should expect more for Anambra State.
With a working experience firmly rooted in corporate governance and best practices, Oseloka Obaze abhors grand-standing and grandiloquence. Knowing that a leader’s mandate belongs to the people, he is focused on good governance as a means of making positive impact on the socio-economic and political well-being of the people.
Increasingly, the world has become a global village where best practices will make the difference between progress and stagnancy. As an international civil servant of note, Oseloka Obaze has since keyed into the imperatives of managing a modern economy and society; having been widely exposed to the intricacies of modern governance, administration and management – locally and internationally.
In the same vein, he has the integrity to attract much-needed Foreign Direct Investments as well as support from Development Partners and various other donor agencies across the world. Blended with his practical experience at the Federal and Anambra State levels, he has a firm grasp of the developmental needs of the people.
Ndi Anambra, do not be deceived that any political party “is our own”. More than any other factor, the quality of the leader determines the nature of his performance. As is said of the computer, “It’s garbage in; garbage out”. Anybody given a public trust and cannot deliver in 4 years certainly cannot perform creditably in 8 years. Giving him another 4 years will have more disastrous consequences on the people and the State.
As a candidate on ground, Oseloka Obaze has made himself available for service to the people of Anambra State. This is a candidate whose qualities most other States pray for in their leaders.
Ndi Anambra, it is our prerogative to make a choice, but it is in the interest of our sustained welfare that we should not miss the Oseloka Obaze advantage. That way, we would all be spared another 4 years of painful regret.
Okoye writes for UNIZIK Post Graduate School.
This article first appeared on Daily Sun