May we meet you sir.
OHO: My name is Oseloka Henry Obaze, I am from Ochuche Umuodu in Ogbaru LGA. I’m retired a career diplomat, now a governance and policy consultant and a governorship aspirant in Anambra.
Why do you think you are qualified and best suited to Govern Anambra State?
OHO: By training, by experience and by exposure, and comparatively, I believe am eminently qualified to serve as governor. I’m not looking to be a ruler, but a servant leader, who can add value and bring strategic vision to the governance of our dear State. I’ve been in governance circles at local, state, federal and international levels. If elected governor, I will not be an accidental leader. Moreover, politics is a dynamic process; nothing is static. I’m in politics to add value and deliver good governance at the highest level. More importantly, you cannot ask the society to defer their wishes, rights and entitlements to good governance.
The incumbent administration is taunting security alongside payment of workers salary as one of its major achievements. Do you agree that it has done well in this regard?
OHO: I’m glad the present government has managed to keep security issues on the front burner. The government only built on a well-established security architecture, mosaic and foundation it inherited. Security may indeed, be the only area where the government has shown a modicum of continuity. Payment of salaries or pension is routine. It is also a feat this government has only been able to accomplish because of the enormous savings Peter Obi left in the state coffers. I’m aware they sold off all the medium and long term foreign exchange saving instruments, some at vastly discounted rates and converted it to Naira in order to pay salaries. Spending another person’s savings or wealth is nothing to brag about.
Anambra supposedly is an oil producing state. Till now we are yet to be recognized as an oil producing state by the Fed Govt. What do you think are the problems? What will you do differently if elected the Governor of Anambra State?
OHO: Regrettably, it’s the lack of vision and strategic planning that is our challenge. Anambra Government is just a stakeholder in Orient Petroleum Resources (OPR). What it can bring to the table is to resolve the impasse with Kogi and Enugu States expeditiously, thus allowing the three states to become oil producing states. There’s no loss value in such a collaborative approach. Secondly, OPR is not fully capitalized. If you do an initial public offering (IPO) for OPR and open up ownership at par value to Ndi Anambra, you will overcome the funding challenges that is now the cog. That’s exactly what I will do.
The incumbent administration claims that it has attracted over USD 7bn in DFI within the last three years. What is your take on this claim?
OHO: The figures are spurious and cannot be confirmed. In any case, the total direct foreign investment ( DFI) flow into Nigeria in the past three years, between 2014 and 2016, was under $10 billion; so did all of it come to Anambra? Go figure! There is an element of hype and fuzzy math in the government’s claim.
What will be the fulcrum of your economic agenda for Anambra State?
OHO: Anambra is renowned for trade and commerce. Our people are gregarious. We must create an enabling environment, support heavy haulage infrastructure – rail, waterways and inland port. Above all, partnership with the organized private sector (OPS) will be a priority. The OPS is the real wealth creator not government, so we must support indigenous enterprise fully, while exploiting areas where we have comparative advantages. We must also focus on
In general, how will Oseloka Henry Obaze better the lives of ndi Anambra if elected Governor?
OHO: I’ve been blessed and privileged to travel around the world and thus disposed to appreciating what good governance is all about. Good governance and service delivery is not about grandiose projects; it’s about small things that work seamlessly. The bottom line is efficiency, efficiency efficiency, be it in waste management, education, healthcare delivery or urban planning. We will strive for utmost efficiency in the most cost-effective ways.
How would you describe the administration of the incumbent in terms of delivering the dividends of democracy to Ndi Anambra?
OHO: Simply, if the incumbent administration was doing so well, it won’t be facing the challenges of alternative leadership. Despite the recession and hunger, the people are not happy. Dividends of democracy is myopically marginal and sequestered in a particular environ. That is not purposeful leadership.
What informed your decision to join the race for the Government House in Anambra?
OHO: To serve and to add value. I joined in the fight to bring the governorship to Anambra North with a promise of good leadership. We have not delivered on that promise. We must remediate the situation now. So I’m involved.
What difference will your governorship make?
OHO: Like The Seven Up advert says, ‘the difference will be clear’. To govern well, you have to be a good leader before you get in; not that getting in will make you a good leader. Moreover I’m committed to serving one term. So there won’t be the burden of seeking a second therm. It’s work from start to finish – the entire 48 months, if it so pleases God.
What do you intend to make the cardinal focus of your administration?
OHO: Efficient service delivery. Good governance is about the deliverables, to the people; basic needs and all, and allowing the people to use their God given talent to flourish. Our people should not work for government; government must work for our people. Needless to say, there must be a secure environment and promises made must be redeemed.
Most Governor’s enter the Government House exuberantly and full of ideas. However, the unexpected pressure of governance tends to make them lose focus and they suddenly become in need of a second term to fulfill campaign promises of the first term. How do you intend to avoid the pitfall?
OHO: There’s leadership and there’s leadership. There is something known as adaptive leadership. Every leader brings to public office his vision, style and political and leadership DNA. Purposeful leadership is about management style, focus and a full grasp of the imperatives of good governance. If you know how to make institutions function efficiently, that’s half the battle; if you don’t, then you will have to grapple with a dysfunctional government. So it’s not a matter of correction as it is a stylistic and operational approach and efficient optimization of institutions, extant laws and available resources.
The poor state of the economy has been severally cited as reason for the slow pace of development in most states of the country, how do you intend to cope with the challenge?
OHO: Governance is not about making excuses or hype. You must make do with what you have. Above all, you must be focused, and must appoint honest advisers not sycophants. There will be up turns and economic down turns; the capacity to adapt remains an imperative.
If elected Governor, how would you like your 1st tenure in office to be remembered?
OHO: Obaze came, he served and he truly added value and made government, transparent, inclusive and efficient. That ought to be sufficient for history and as a legacy.