The attention of the Anambra State Government has been called to a hate broadcast on the social media by members of a political party viciously attacking all Presidents General, all Traditional Rulers, all Bishops and other religious leaders in the state for collaborating with the state government to make Anambra a model in rapid development. There is hardly any sacrilege which the broadcast does not accuse these highly respected people of committing. They, therefore, urge Ndi Anambra to rise violently not only against the personages but also against the government.
The broadcast was informed by the impending 2019 general election. The only reason why members of a party could brazenly make a hate speech like this is the certainty of its resounding defeat in the general election which they cannot survive. It is regrettable that some politicians have chosen to become desperados just because of an imminent electoral defeat.
The same party members wrote a fake news report on Saturday, February 7, alleging that Governor Willie Obiano has directed Anambra voters to kill any person who fails to vote for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari next Saturday. When the report was written initially, their bloggers from Anambra State refused to distribute it because, apart from being unconscionable, it falsely paints their state in lurid colours. The writers now approached school dropouts who are not indigenes of the state to distribute it. It is ironic enough that the forged report was published on the social media on the day the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi was honouring Governor Obiano for principle-centred leadership which took into consideration his commitment to peace, order, healthy pluralism, sacredness of life and dignity of the human person.
Anambra State has in its developmental process past the stage of violent politics. We held a gubernatorial election on November 19, 2017, and there was not even a single incident of violence before, during or after the election. We are the only state with this record in Nigeria’s history. We are Nigeria’s safest and most peaceful state. We are also the most socially harmonious, as evidenced by the presence of leading members of all political parties during the second inauguration last March 18 of Governor Obiano who swept the polls in each of the 21 local government areas in the state in the gubernatorial vote.
The people of Anambra State are satisfied that the handful of politicians inciting violence are all members of the very party which brought so much misery to Ndi Anambra not long ago. They were the ones who kidnapped a sitting governor in 2003. They were the ones who engaged in mayhem for a whole three days in 2004 during which the State House of Assembly, Government House, the Judicial Complex, the Governor’s Lodge in Onitsha, and the Anambra State Broadcasting Service were destroyed and in some cases incinerated.
They were the ones who forced the sitting governor to sign so-called Irrevocable Standing Payment Orders (ISPOs) through which payments were made to their companies for all manner of contracts even before the state could obtain its monthly allocations from the federation account. The state lost billions of naira through this fraudulent scheme. Consequently, the state government could not meet its basic obligations to the citizenry like payment of salaries. Schools were closed for almost one academic session because teachers couldn’t be paid.
The people of Anambra State have resolved never to return to this era. Since they voted overwhelmingly for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), they have never had it so good. The state has excelled in many areas like education, agriculture, security, immunization and infrastructural development, winning prestigious national and international laurels more than any other state in the federation. It has emerged the most peaceful state in the whole federation and the level of solidarity which the people have demonstrated with one another in recent years is unrivalled.
Anambra’s economy has in the last four years emerged the fourth largest in Nigeria, after those of Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and Rivers State. Anambra has the lowest poverty index in the country and is the least indebted state in the country. It is reputed to have the most friendly policy towards workers in the federation.
The State Government’s policy of inclusion and solidarity has earned praise from far and near. Last Saturday, December 8, for instance, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican, led a special ceremony to honour Chief Obiano who is easily Nigeria’s most decorated governor. The Bishop on the Niger, The Rt Rev Dr Owen Nwokolo, had earlier on Sunday, November 17, conducted on his own a special service to commemorate Gov Obiano’s remarkable victory on November 17, 2017, and the governor’s rekindled devotion to the public good since his reelection, defined by a superabundance of humanism.
No matter the level of provocative propaganda against them during the 2019 general election by political desperados and all those who want to acquire power by all means possible, both the people and government of Anambra State have resolved that their beloved state will remain the most peaceful in the country and the most socially harmonious. It will never return to the era of politically motivated killings like the assassination of Barrister Barnabas Igwe, Chairman of the Onitsha branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and his pregnant wife, Mrs Abigail Igwe, also a lawyer.
The government will continue with its strategy of constructive engagement with members of different parties at national and local levels which has brought so much peace, stability and tranquility as well as progress to the state. It requires us to treat every person with decorum regardless of political differences. We will continue with our policy of inclusion and solidarity which makes each and every one of us see any other person as his or her brother. May we remain our brother’s and sister’s keeper.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
– C. Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information & Pubic Enlightenment
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