Why Anambra politics is fierce, by Obiano
MODERN politics in Anambra is the legacy of growth and development of the state beginning with the advent of Christian missionaries and subsequently the colonial masters, a contact the people have made the most of, Governor Willie Obiano has said.
In a lecture he delivered at the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Obiano averred that the famous rivalry in contemporary democracy in modern Nigerian politics is fiercer in Anambra than in any other South Eastern state.
For a better appreciation of the peculiarities of Anambra’s political theater, it is instructive to note that in colonial times, the Europeans made their entry into Igboland through the estuary of the River Niger in Onitsha,” he explained. “The British colonial government and Christian missionaries penetrated most of Igboland through Onitsha to set up their administration, schools and churches.
Consequently, the earliest beneficiaries of this historic contact with the agents of Western civilisation were Anambra towns surrounding Onitsha. “The result is that Anambra is one of the most literate states in Nigeria today. The result also is that Anambra sons and daughters are some of Africa’s most illustrious children.
The other result, however, is that our people are highly enlightened and not very easy to lead.” On the state’s political challenges, Obiano said: “One of the greatest challenges facing Ndi Anambra is our inability to fully understand that while our culture favours the flourishing of plurality and dissent, our political success as a group depends on how we manage these differences in a manner that would not stand in the way of progress.
In particular, we must realise that once elections are over and a leader sworn in, we must put aside our bitter politics and work together to build our dear state. At the moment, there seems to be no end to rancorous politics among brothers.
And that must change!” On environmental issues, Obiano lamented that though the state is blessed with a vast stretch of arable land and the best flora and fauna, “the much dreaded global warming and climate change have wreaked havoc on our land, leading to massive earth movements that have resulted in some of the most horrendous gullies that erosion had ever caused in this part of the Atlantic.”
The massive devastations in Nanka and Okoh, he said, are reminders to the challenge to repossess the environment, as “they tell us, without words, that we must work together to preserve the earth, our earth – one of the few things we all own together.
We are bound to that piece of earth by nature!” He listed the third and perhaps most crucial challenge as “cultural rebirth,” noting: “Almost all the ills that have plagued our communities since the end of the Biafran War can be blamed on the profound shift in the culture of our people. “Before the war, our people lived a life full of dignity and meaning.
The great scholarships enjoyed by many promising youngsters under the auspices of the Igbo state union, town union associations and age grades were testimonies to the brotherhood and love that we once had.”
However, the war seems to have put a knife on all these things, giving way to “a regime of chaos and disorderly conduct that has left us in perpetual search for values. And this, too, must stop!”