The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Southeast Zone has condemned what it described as the profligate style of administration exhibited by Governor Willie Obiano in Anambra State.
In a statement issued in Onitsha, the Group called on the governor to make a drastic change and commence aggressive development of the state instead, even as his second tenure gradually winds up.
The statement signed by the Zonal Chairman, CLO South East, Comrade Aloysius Attah said the group is embarrassed that the governor has taken serial actions of engaging in ostentatious outings at the expense of the state treasury while checks and balances from the appropriate organs of government have been on recess in the state.
“Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano embarked on a vacation to America for at least four times last year, 2019. In all of these travels, the state House of Assembly was not communicated officially while he never handed over to his Deputy to hold forth as Acting Governor while he was away. While he was away, the state-operated like an autopilot while serious matters were handled through a telephone conversation. People of the state were also inundated with pictures of the governor and the family having their nice times either in their living room or beside a swimming pool. While we know the governor has every right to go on vacation, it also behooves on him to the do the right and legal thing while he travels,” the Group regretted.
According to the Rights Group, the governor’s recent travel towards the last yuletide celebration was when tipper drivers in the state embarked on total lockdown of the state in protest two days to Christmas over the issue of extortion, double taxation, and thugs’ brutality.
They regretted that the governor never uttered a word over the issue but stayed abroad all through the Christmas period until the second week of January when he left for Rome on a supposed spiritual journey.
“On January 15, 2020, the media space was awash that the governor has been knighted as a Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Francis in ‘recognition of his enormous contributions to both the church and the society’. Some individuals back home in Anambra were airlifted to Rome on the bills of the state government to join the governor over there in the honour. We wonder what benefits the Governor’s Papal Knighthood investiture would bring or have brought to the Anambra people? We also wonder what difference the Papal Commandership makes with the papal knighthood and why ferrying people to the Vatican in Rome when others who received such honours in the past simply did it at the various catholic Cathedrals through their local Ordinary, the Bishop or the Archbishops who perform such solemn ceremony on behalf of the Pope.
“Before now, Governor Obiano has become legendary in picking titles and hosting parties in grand scale while he superintends affairs of the state as Governor. In May 2019, the entire state literarily relocated to Ado Ekiti when the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe conferred on him the title of Aare Amuogun of Ado-Ekiti while his wife went home with the title, Erelu Amuogun of Ado-Ekiti. The governor also traveled the same road of ostentation and sheer waste of state resources during his daughter’s graduation from the University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston on 18 May 2017. There were reports that 179 people were allegedly flown in a private jet from Nigeria for the ceremony,” they revealed.
The statement said while the CLO is not questioning the governor’s personal life, it is worried over the level in which such events were taken and executed while there is no clear cut distinction between the governor’s personal wealth and public funds.
The Rights group berated the silence of the power brokers, influential people including traditional rulers and religious leaders in the midst of such obscenity and lavish lifestyle, regretting that the State House of Assembly has also not hidden its posture as a complete rubber stamp made up of the governor’s handpicked lackeys.
The statement said, “But like the Emperor that frolicked while Rome burns, Anambra is in serious need of aggressive development. Six years of Obiano’s administration, the neglected communities in Anambra North, the Olumbanasas, Anambra West are still crying for a saviour. There are abandoned road projects littered across the length and breadth of the state. Local government administration and development projects have been crippled. Roads in the Awada area which the governor awarded during his second tenure campaign have been stalled. Residents of Oba Avenue/ Solar Lawrence Road/Rainbownet in Awada/Odume behind Army barracks are on the verge of death over the deplorable condition of their roads. Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish and schools in the area are closing over the same condition. Oduke Layout in Obosi axis is suffering the same fate.”
They called on the governor to reorder his administration’s steps and priorities and make a positive difference in the next 10 months of the year, warning that if that is not done, the twilight of his administration will finally consign him into the ignoble hall of infamy.