Willie Obiano and Peter Obi: Lessons in Abandoned Projects
By Ebuka Onyekwelu
Not minding what supporters and followers of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi might think, the reality, few days to Obiano’s exit from office, very strongly suggests that Obiano has a better approach to continuity, than Obi.
In ten or twenty years, what will Peter Obi as former governor of Anambra State be remembered for? What will a toddler today remember Peter Obi for, as an adult? Not surprising that people trying to answer that question beat about the bush. It’s a fact that mentioning just one project or programme of former Governor Peter Obi, that will stand as an everlasting legacy in a decade or two, proves difficult. Far from it, but this is not suggestive of anything close to saying that Peter Obi did not work hard as governor or that he had no results.
However, by and large, as Governor Obiano today is at the verge of exit, one thing and only one thing matters; what and how will he be remembered? If anything else, it would be; remembered for how long? It may appear, Governor Peter Obi, either did not carefully ask and answer those questions, or he willfully made Governor Obiano his own legacy. This is why.
Peter Obi upon end of his tenure in 2014, alleged he handed over N75 billion in assets and cash to the incoming Government. So at least, based on that, we can agree that Obi had money to fund his projects. Although there have been some peripheral attempts to deny the said money, but not by Governor Obiano himself, who, understandably, appear indifferent in the long standing face-off between him and Obi. I say this because Obiano could have picked up something with which to intensely witch-hunt Obi. But he did not. In other words, Obiano could have hurt Obi badly, but he didn’t. However Obi and supporters sees this, is unclear.
The point I was making before I digressed is that governance is defined by the people in terms of tangible achievements. Even intangible aspects of governance like good policies, are adjudged good on the basis of tangible results. I suppose this was why Obi embarked on massive road constructions most of which failed integrity test. While those constructed by Dr. Ngige are still intact. Perhaps, that’s also why Obi embarked on massive construction of public enterprises such as the Awka Mall, Nnewi Mall and Onitsha Mall. Others include, Agulu Lake Hotel and 5 Star Hotel in Onitsha. But Obi abandoned these landmark projects, believing that Obiano will embrace them totally, even when he did not embrace comprehensively, the projects of his predecessors. I concede that Peter Obi is a leader with foresight as can be seen in the rate shopping malls have become the new market for buying personal and family needs of all sorts, throughout the State.
Governor Obiano completed the Agulu Lake Hotel under arrangement with Golden Tulip. Obiano also completed Onitsha Mall. But left Nnewi and Awka Malls. Is it correct to accuse Obiano of abandoning those projects when the initiator failed to complete them for no clear reasons?
Its Obiano’s turn, what did he do? Obiano has shown to be more practical than Obi. He commenced his Airport project and completed the project in record time. Commissioned same and it is now in use. What is left is for successive governments to expand the airport until it attains the standard of an international cargo airport that is the original vision. So also his International Convention Centre-ICC, which as it is now, is ready for any event. Only minor works are left for the ICC to perfectly reflect its name. Yet, Obiano is handing over to Prof. Soludo of the same APGA, but did not abandoned his projects to his predecessor, like Obi did, 8 years ago.
Every government must run with its own outlined vision. The fact that government is continuous does not imply that an incoming government should swallow the programmes and projects of the previous government. At least, the projects should be brought to life/practical completion; mostly completed and functional. If a government fails to do so, that government must be held responsible for abandoning its projects. Not the government after it.
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