The crowd assembled at the lawn tennis courts of his lodge could not have asked for anything less. Like he was to elucidate, it should not then surprise anybody that the state has been appropriately called 'Light of The Nation' as opposed to the earlier 'Home For All' that had attracted all kind of negative derivatives to the state.
The more so, on the political terrain where the governor himself qualifies for eminent mention in the list he reeled out for cracking the great Anambra conundrum. Denied his mandate at the polls by a combination of ignorance crossed with naivety between godfathers and godchildren, he wrestled it back through the courts. He rode the fury that followed this sound with equitable panache only to be denied his office one more time by a state house impervious to the wind in the air.
To the courts again he raced, and the rest has joined the list of Anambra firsts. He moved on to become the first governor of the state to be re-elected and currently runs the state with all her legislators - save some recent decampments - in a different party. He has continued to wax from strength to strength flagging off project after project in his ingenious integrated development strategy. These to the chagrin of his detractors angry that state funds are no longer deployed in the satisfaction of ghost contractors who target mobilisation fees payable by cohort incumbents with agreed percentages returned to them while the people suffered.
It behoved his listeners that night to wonder like Ghanaian novelist Ayi Kwei Armah as to why 'they were so blest' and yet over time have wallowed in the mire of neglect and incompetence like no other state in the country ever had. Reflecting on the theme it becomes clear that while the state had the entire prerequisite light to light up the entire nation, lurking in its corners are also enemies of vision who would rather the state remained a hideout for all manner of hooliganism. While their hardworking compatriots laboured to let the light shine, they literarily prayed that it be snuffed off for good. While the former remembered the past with hisses, the latter recalled it filled with nostalgia for when among other incongruities they could commit blue murder under the nose of the law and go scot-free.
Using the Obi paradigm one could not wonder why an election will be conducted with an access of state funds and yet rubbished by the selfsame state. Nobody can doubt that given the peculiarities of our non-oil producing status we need all the money possible to break even with the huge salary bill that we have to cope with. The populace is expected to pay its taxes as and when due, yet state funds are lavished at charades. Amenities in the state are barely enough to accommodate our teeming population and there are virtually no funds to make for improvements let alone set up new ones. The list is as endless as there is sand on the seashore.
In those days 'eaten by the locusts', when virtually all the light there was in the state were hidden under bushels, political parties would rather appoint candidates to elective posts than organise primaries. It was well known then that many candidates that sailed through did so on account of their domestic contributions to the godfather's household. A candidate told of how he had ironed his shirt to be announced candidate at a rally only to be substituted at the event with an
There were even the more celebrated cases where otherwise would-be executive office holders are made to swear to strange oaths. Primary in these vows are explicit caveats that automatically amounts to a signing away of our commonwealth to an unemployable tout. Overnight the overgrown paths to their underachieving family compounds turn oft-trodden as their likes unable to compete in a state of firsts see in them a last straw. All day long flowing garment vaudevilles are received in mock obeisance to the false gods who in turn get drunk on their power like those God wants to silence. The burning of state government property by those that hoped to occupy it was the culmination of this comedy of errors.
One could even remind his wondering a little and recollect that there was a time in Anambra when state primary and secondary schools missed an entire academic season because of the 'vibrancy' of the government of the day. Not only were legitimately employed householders denied their means of livelihood but for that long the state stood still. Desperate parents could not but send their children off to half-baked private schools that were not even ready for the ensued influx. One only wonders what their products would be when the time comes when all will have to reap whatever they sowed.
The forgoing is crucial because another electioneering season has dawned and the state is coming back to life with aspirants and godfathers. Mark my words. Those oft-trodden parts that had become overgrown like before are once more seeing footsteps again. Promises are once more being traded on platters. The un-credentialed are dusting their fake certificates once more hoping that the fog had not cleared after all.
Coming on the heels of the February 6 governorship polls that returned the incumbent without rerun, his party the All Progressives Grand Alliance, has become the cock of the pack. Like honey, the party now attracts bed fellows strange and weird all wanting to capitalise on the bandwagon. This in itself is a very welcome development - if there is enough space in the sky for birds, same must be applicable downstairs for men (and women). However, one thing should be uppermost in the mind of all Anambrarians: 'Home For All' is now associated with all the things bad while 'Light of The Nation' is the way forward that we have since opted for. It now remains to be seen which of these countercultures will have the upper hand as we dig into our political trenches where the only legal weapons are word and strategy.
The truth however remains that Mr Obi has proven that the riddle of