Obi’s leadership style left a vacuum in Anambra – Ex-Commissioner Edozie Aroh

Dr. Edozie Aroh is a former Commissioner in Anambra State. He speaks about governance in the state and the virtues required of anyone desirous of serving the state.

You served the administrations of Mr. Peter Obi and Governor Willie Obiano respectively. Could you relive some memories of those days?

YES, I served in the government of Mr. Peter Obi and briefly in that of Chief Willie Obiano. He (Obi) came into government fully made and prepared for the job. His successor owes him a verdict of excellence. He wanted the best for Anambra State. He went for the best in his choice of those that would work with him and he pushed everybody so hard that he attained the height no other State Governor has attained in Nigeria. In all honesty, the moment Obi left governance in Anambra, it lost steam, awe and respect. It is not the fault of the man that is there now, but the people of Anambra State appear, rightly or wrongly, to be at home with Obi’s style of leadership.

What would you say about the choice of Peter Obi’s successor?

That question, which was pertinent about three years ago, is no longer relevant today. Interestingly, in a recent Interview on Channels Television, Chief Willie Obiano told the world that it was not Peter Obi that brought him out. Our present concern should be how to move the state forward. As the election draws near, we should be focused on how to elect a governor that understands and appreciates what governance is all about and is ready and committed to the development of Anambra State as Peter Obi was.

Being well-informed on Anambra politics, what is your opinion of the notable candidates contesting the forthcoming election in the state?

All the notable candidates, the incumbent Chief Willie Obiano, Dr. Tony Nwoye, Mr. Oseloka Obaze and Chief Osita Chidoka, are all qualified since all of them met the relevant requirements of the Nigerian constitution.

If you have to choose one of them, whom would you go for?

This is incontestable. Anambra people are all behind Mr. Oseloka Obaze not for what he promises to be, but for what he is.

How do you mean?

Mr. Obaze is a man that justifies the saying that the taste of the pudding is in the eating. Among Anambra people, he is known and seen as a man with finesse; experienced and imbued with integrity and honour to be entrusted with the governance of any realm. Some say it because they hear others say so. But for people like me who have worked with him, I assure you that the best blessing Anambra State will have in over three years is the coming of Mr. Oseloka Obaze as governor. He is well-educated, widely-exposed, contented and hardworking.

He has consistently been an asset to geo-entities, organisations and individuals he has worked or is associated with. He is a man of principle who exhibits the highest sense of duty, professionalism and decorum at all times. This is why many of us insist that for Anambra State to move on and re-discover itself from legion of errors of the last three years, we need Oseloka Obaze to be the governor of the state.

Have you heard any personal contact with Obaze beyond the EXCO environment?

I have served on many committees with him. Let me share one of the experiences I had with him: I was in his office when an aide to Governor Peter Obi came to request that he should do something as directed by His Excellency. Incredibly, he sent the aide back after explaining to him that the thing could not be done the way His Excellency wanted it. With a wonderful gift of putting people at ease, he said to the aide something like “it is not for you to tell him; I am coming right now to explain things to him.” This shows you that he does not compromise principles even in the face of great odds. This is the type of man we want now. Have you asked yourself why Obaze resigned from Obiano’s government? Who else in Nigeria will retire as SSG? I am confident God wants to use him to build on the foundation Obi left.

What foundation?

Examples abound. The Obi Administration worked in all the 177 communities of the state with concrete outcomes. In his tenure, the state was able to save over N100 billion, when you add set-aside funds. Today, nobody seems to know the status of those funds. Some say that they have since been disposed of, which is not edifying.

If Obaze becomes governor, what agenda would you set for him?

I have read his manifesto – which you should also – and can discern that he has already set an agenda for himself. He is aware and abreast of the situation in all sectors of the state and is prepared to tackle the challenges.

Among other assignments, Oseloka Obaze headed a committee to tackle the 2012 flood disaster in parts of the state. The Anglican Bishop of Mbamili, Bishop Henry Okeke, whose diocese was badly hit and who worked with Obaze on the emergency, expressed amazement at his sense of work and duty and had to voice it out. That is one of several testimonials for Oseloka Obaze across the state.

Culled from The Nation

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