On The Budget Impasse In Anambra

For the umpteenth time, Anambra State is embroiled in a man-made crisis, staged to arrest the peace and progress of the state. Predictably, the provocateurs of the present crisis are the same as the ones that have spent a great chunk of their active time sowing dread, confusion and disorder in Anambra for the greater parts of the present dysfunctional democratic dispensation. This time around, and having been mauled on the crooked and dastardly fronts from which they wanted to access power, the purveyors and midwifers of frictions in Anambra have decided to waylay the state governor and ensure that he does not have a budget to work with. By slashing the proposed budget of Anambra State by close to half, the message from the characters behind the present impasse is that since Anambra people have rejected them, they would ensure they pull the entire house down on all. They are pulling all stops, including blackmail and sabotage to ensure they go home with their sordid victory in tow and they care less what happens to the interest and well being of Anambra people in the process.

It does not take a stargazer to know that after he was disinvested with his phantom gubernatorial mandate after only fourteen days in power, Andy Uba, a ranking member of the desperate political colony hewn out by former president Obasanjo in his desperate effort to destroy and lay waste Anambra State for his pleasure and for the benefit of his minions, would not go home and hug his ill-fated fate. It does not take a clairvoyant to predict that after indulging in several legal pranks and judicial intrigues that came to irreparable grief, a fellow that received the assurance from the devilish order that reigned, 1999 to 2007, and who had been generously mobilized with looted state treasury would go home and warm himself waiting for a clearly unpredictable and uncertain March 2010, when he would not be availed of such sham parody as happened on April 14 2007 to try his hand on lording over Anambra State. With a hand-picked 30-members state assembly, joint colleagates in the bizarre fraud of April 2007, it would be wishful thinking believing that Andy Uba, with so much false under-lays on his private and academic lives and with loads of plundered cash in tow, will let Peter Obi who pierced through his fool’s haven with landmark court judgments, to reign in peace. I don’t know what the impression of the Obi camp was on this but I believe that any regime that does not indulge in vanity would have prepared for this day. Any regime that is worth its name would have factored that Uba would not have been the happiest fellow when the Supreme Court has thrashed thoroughly the fool’s paradise which Obasanjo, Maurice Iwu and the repertoire of thieving do-gooders with whom Obasanjo wrecked and subdued this country constructed for him. So, Obi and his government must have been adequately prepared for this day when the state assembly, under the thumbs of Uba hirelings has decided to crumble Anambra for their principal, without whom and without whose corruptive touch in power they would not have been where they are today.

For those who are unaware of the cause of the present impasse in Anambra State, Governor Peter Obi presented a budget of N84.2 billion to the house for the 2008 fiscal year. Without looking at it twice, the house downed the budget to N57.6 billion and thereafter started tinkering with it in a move that smacks of working to the question from the answer. One of the highlights of the butchering exercise was the downsizing of the budget for Awka Capital Territory from N1 Billion to N200 million and the budget for the development of Onitsha from N1 billion to N300 million. Also the Andy Uba house raised its own from N284 million to N1.3 billion. That amounts to its sense of budgetary discipline and states in unequivocal manner the reason why these vampires are fighting the Peter Obi government. It seems that having more than secured for themselves; the house targeted the social and infrastructural projects being handled by Governor Obi otherwise one would have believed that an altruistic approach would have involved cutting the proposed house expenditure by the commensurate degree of the budget cut. One of the fellows in the present rofo rofo fight is one Ikenna Mbazulike Amechi, son of Chief Mbazulike Amechi, one of the Andy Uba campaigners as his ill-fated gubernatorial campaign lasted. The fellow is alleged to have shamelessly appropriated over ten projects to himself in the present budget proposal. One would have thought that a house that is driven by the love of Ndi Anambra would have given Obi the challenge of meeting his ambitious projection instead of sawing through his proposals in a manner meant to cripple governance and make Obi look ineffectual. In this way, the brain behind this needless crisis hopes to make a case for the governorship in 2010 and possibly achieve his life ambition to govern Anambra State.

Funny enough, one of the hirelings that are fanning the embers of this orchestrated crisis has come out with a specious and tendentious allegation that each of them in the state house of assembly was offered a princely bribe of N50million and choice plots of land by the state government to pass the budget but curiously, they rejected such offer. It must be that they are receiving a heftier inducement from the trillions Uba was alleged to have lifted from licking the arse of Obasanjo. But in their desperate attempt to employ blackmail to stave off the public indictment that trail their selfish action, they forgot that Obi has acquired a political ‘notoriety’ for not spreading state largesse to appease the cash-and-carry whims of the type of fellows that fire the pins of the present impasse on Anambra. Even as the state government has dismissed such bland allegation as frivolous and unfounded, not many people are ready to invest that lie with any modicum of credibility because Obi, through his crusade, has made it easier for Nigerians to know the truth in what is happening in Anambra State, which is no more than the war between a prudent apostle of sane politics and rapacious buccaneers who would not mind if state treasury is thrown open to finance their gluttony. What is happening with the state budget presently is not different from this continuing crusade. It is just that given the desperate nature with which Uba pursues his goal of governing Anambra, it comes in different forms and manners. We have seen the childish manner the election process in Anambra was rubbished to throw up the ill-fated mandate of Uba. We have seen the crash at the Supreme Court where his purported election was ruled as non-existent. We have seen the puerile antics of Ifeanyi Okonkwo that earned him a public internment at the hands of the Supreme Court judges. We have seen the crash of a desperate suit asking the Supreme Court to reverse itself. We have also seen the laughable parody of the court of appeal trying to rule on a matter that has long been settled by the Supreme Court so as to hand Andy Uba a fashionable lollipop to make him happy and now we are seeing the budget drama being enacted by Andy Uba’s fawners that flatter themselves as members of the Anambra State House of Assembly. It is still unfolding and who knows what the next scene looks like.

It is heartening that so many prominent Anambra people, tired and fed up with the turn of the political game Obasanjo and his cronies subjected their state to and buoyed by the fact that the Obasanjo years of infamy are gone for good, are standing up to resist this plot. It is encouraging that some members of the state assembly have risen up to protest being used by the desperate power mongers in Anambra to continue holding the people of the state down and have issued disclaimer to the unseen events in the Anambra State House of Assembly. They are now known as group of eleven and they have vowed they would never allow Uba and his domestic servants masquerading as state assembly members to continue holding the state hostage for their personal ambitions. It is even noteworthy that the PDP has risen in revolt against Uba and his state assembly cronies and a bigger faction of the PDP, peeved at the dangerous use Uba has employed the state assembly, has risen strongly to disavow the eminence of Uba in the PDP and the role he is employing some members of the state assembly for. Among this faction if the most prominent member of the PDP in Anambra and former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, Senator Annie Okonkwor, former godfather of Anambra PDP, Emeka Offor and Tony Nwoye, the Uba-installed PDP chairman of Anambra State. It is much more refreshing that genuine stakeholders like apolitical leaders, religious organization, traders unions, student bodies, professional bodies have risen with one voice to denounce this dirty politics that targets Ndi Anambra and stands to benefit the last vestige of the cabal that Obasanjo left behind to oversee the complete ruination of Anambra.

Anambra has reached a stage where it has to rise with one voice to demand the permanent rustication of the Uba brothers and the severing of the umbilical of crisis with which he had sworn to ensure the state is completely grounded. Now that the man that fangled and sustained him has gone, Ndi Anambra and indeed all Igbo must subject the character, Andy Uba to a public audit involving his person, his finances, education, history and scruples. Again, let Ndi Anambra explore the possibility of mass recall for the impostors who neither represent the face of good governance nor the general good of Ndi Anambra. For as long as they live and draw their lifeline from the vessel of vice, who I armed with limitless stolen funds, Anambra will continue to be in one distractive and needless crisis or the other.

Written by
Peter Claver Oparah
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